Just a Tart Making Tarts on Tuesday

Just a making tarts over here this past Tuesday.  I stepped out of the pie comfort zone to make 96 mini butter tarts for “Faces of Evanston” gallery opening at the Noyes Cultural Center.

http://www.facesofevanston.com/node/199

NINETY-SIX.  That’s more than what’s in my current checking account.  Seriously, the number to Bank of America (BOA) is on the website, they’ll verify.  I have nothing to hide.  Tell them I sent you, they’ll love it. We’re thick as thieves.  Get calls from them like 6 or 7 times a day.  They looooooove me.

Right.

I changed up the crust recipe a bit per The Joy of Cooking recipe which called for a table spoon of sugar.  (The verdict is still out on the added sweetness.)

Stir is all together with a wooden spoon...

Then you take 1/2 cup of butter, or  a whole stick for those unenthused by specific measurements, and slice it into 1 inch pats.

Show no mercy, this butter will clog your arteries when you're not looking.

Throw that butter into the dry mix and use a pastry blender to schmoosh that butter.

I like to kick it old school with a hand blender. Like olden times meets arm workout.

http://www.pastrychef.com/PASTRY-BLENDER_p_1157.html

When you’re done cutting up the butter you should have a cornmeal consistency.  A little gritty but not as fine at the sifted flour/salt/sugar combo.

Makes me parched just looking at it.

If you’ve read my past pie-ventures then you know what’s coming next.  Iced. Cold. WATER. 1/8 of a cup to start and then add sprinkles here and there as needed.

The dough should be pinchable but not sticky. I could go in SO many directions with that line, but for the sake of time I'll move it along.

Kneed the dough until all the water is absorbed and you have yourself a cute little ball.

Ready for 1 hour of refrigeration in the culinary sensory deprivation tank.

PART TWO: The Filling.  Who here likes sugar and massive amounts of it?  Good. You’ve come to the right place.

The "Part 2" culprits.

In a large mixing bowl, toss in 1 cup of light brown sugar.

I can hear my unborn cavities by just looking at this photo.

Then mix in 1/3 cup of SOFTENED butter.  I know this is contradictory to the ICE COLD butter needed for the crust.  But it’s makes your next task much much easier.

Especially when you're using an electric hand mixer that's older than the sands of time. Like I say, we kick old school in this kitchen.

Once that’s all blended together it’s time to add the eggs.

1 at a time please. No need to rush... unless you have a home inspection with clients in 20 minutes in which case, you can just blend faster.

Finally add 1/4 cup of half and half.  Mix again.

When the filling is finished, stick in the fridge while you move onto making the tart crusts. You will need a mini cupcake tin and one of these guys:

It's pretty much my favorite baking tool du jour.

Make the dough balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.  Then push down on it with the pastry/tart/dough/no clue of the proper name stick.

It pushes the dough up the edges of the tin and spares you from looking like a clueless monkey, scratching your head about how to make the perfect tart.

Once all 24 are sculpted, it’s time to fill the tray.

Fill each tart with around a tablespoon of filling aka heavenly butter and sugar.

You know what’s coming next.

It's time to bake these suckers for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Half time refreshments:

A little liquid love while I wait.

Check to make sure they are golden brown before you take them out.

We don't judge baked goods over here because regardless of how they look, the butter and sugar will bring you to your knees.

Look at that adorable, mouthwatering, little bugger!

Wait for the tarts to cool, then repeat four more times.   FOUR.  Another number that is not in my bank account.  But at least I have my hobbies!

Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letters B, O, and A and the music of Steve Earle, Otis Redding, and Taj Mahal.

Until next weeks pie-venture!

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