Finally, cranberries are back in the markets. So, I made cranberry curd, and thinking that it could be used like lemon curd in a tart, I took this opportunity to experiment more with my idea of transforming cookie dough into tart dough. I worked with the Molasses Cookies from the Lucques cookbook that are made into a plum sorbet sandwich… and these tartlets happen to share similar magenta and brown colors.
I made regular tart dough, too, to get a more balanced idea of the possible flavors and textures.
I also decided to use some of the mini-tart tins that I bought in NYC because these tartlets would be packed full of flavor and one pungent bite seemed like a more realistic eating plan than many pungent bites. The tart tins were easier to work with than I’d thought. I did unmold the shells while warm, though, so that I wouldn’t have to pinch/rip them out more; and I didn’t want to have to spray the tins themselves to make ejection easier.
Overall, just about all the flavors worked very nicely together. The curd was a bit sweeter than I wanted, but the orange slices perked it up well, the pecans brought it down to earth, the apples lent a tart crunch, and baby kiwis lent an exotic tartness.
And okay, they’re a bit gaudy, hm? But at least they’re naturally gaudy, and not gaudy like food coloring-modified desserts.
Cranberry Curd: Ah, Nigella Lawson again. It only had a moderate tartness and a kick of cranberry flavor at the end. It was too sweet and not firm enough for my liking even though it tasted of butter and a little of yolks… and I swear I cooked it long enough. Next time, I’d decrease the sugar and the water.
And it was important to pick through the cranberries; there were quite a few damaged ones.
And I got to use my mini-food mill that I got at Zabar’s for the first time. It worked like a charm. The cranberry skins got stuck in the little holes… which was good b/c the tough skins would have ruined the consistency — though they probably would have added more flavor.
Molasses Tart Dough: Lucques cookie recipe adjusted with clarified butter instead of melted shortening; normally for plum sorbet sandwiches. Since this is the first time I’m adjusting a cookie recipe to a tart dough recipe, I wanted to see what would happen if I just omitted the baking soda. Although the flavor was good and it held it’s shape better than short dough, it was predictably a bit tough/chewy. As I compare it to short dough recipes, next time I’ll try halving the sugar and doubling the butter as well as omitting the baking soda. I’ll also try mixing it like tart dough, rather than like a cookie; that is, dry ingredients first, rather than last, and butter cubed, not melted or creamed.
Classic Sweet Pastry: Flo Braker’s recipe. My favorite short dough recipe, and held up the tarts well.
Pecans, chopped. Tasted very good, and looks good, too; a bit more understated.
Pecans Halves, halved.
Valencia Oranges. I segmented the fruit, and chopped the segments into triangles.
Baby Kiwis. These have been at Trader Joe’s lately. They’re juicy and a little sweeter than normal kiwis. You can eat them whole.
Apple, thinly sliced. This actually worked really well. The ratio of apple to cranberry to crust seemed even.
To deal with the oxidation issue this time, I tossed them with the apple syrup leftover from the caramelized apple skins in the Fresh Apple Pavlova. It was a very temporary solution, though — they turned a bit translucent after a while.
Apple, cut with a small biscuit cutter.
Apple, shredded with a wavy peeler. Weird.