Friday, December 10, 2010

Most Important Question of All

I've never been a pie girl, mainly for two reasons: How many pies contain chocolate? Also the ratio of maximum dessert satisfaction does not come in the form of a sliver. You know it's true and after you eat that sliver you always go back for more! My friends all put up with my never ending food questions the most important one being: Do you like desserts!? (If they say no for a tiny second I have to re-think our friendship but conclude we can still be friends, as long as they like some sort of food and then I'm determined to change their mind that they WILL like desserts after I'm done with them). Other's include, what's your favorite sandwich?! What's your most favorite thing your mom made for you growing up?! Fruit desserts or chocolate desserts!? Oh and of course the second most important question of them all, are you a pie, cake or cookie person?

Have to say majority of the answer I get on this one is PIE. WHAT! I knoww..where's the crispy chewy dense rich gooey fudgy cookie cake lovers? BUT I have to say, after hanging around so many pie people I find myself liking pies, tarts and pastry more and more. A friend of mine held a dinner party and I was in a baking mood (okay more than usual), so after making pie pastry for a lemon meringue pie I decided to make a different type of dough called pate sucree for an apricot custard tart. Typical pie dough being tender and flaky, pate sucree is more of a flaky but sturdy dough (a cross between pie pastry and a sugar cookie). For good measure (and for the non pie lovers) I threw together a batch of my toffee pretzel chocolate chip cookies. Of course for quality control purposes I had a "sliver" of pie annd tart annd a cookie (or 2). Don't judge, I didn't pick that blog name for nothin.

Apricot Custard Tart
Makes one 8" tart
Pate Sucree Dough
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or 3/4 white flour, 1/2 w.w pastry flour)
3 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (cold, cut into chunks)
2-3 tbsp water (approx)
1 egg yolk

1.In a bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and using a pastry cutter or fingers cut butter into pea size pieces.
2.Add egg yolk and 2 tbsp of water, mix just until dough starts to come together, add extra tbsp of water if needed. (If you pinch a small chunk of mixture and it stays together you are good)
3.Turn mixture out onto a clean surface and bring together just until it forms into a ball. Flatten into a disc shape and saran wrap.
4. Chill in fridge for 1hr.

Custard Filling
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
apricot halves (or whatever fruit you like)*
1.Whisk together all ingredients except fruit and set aside while rolling out dough.
To Assemble the Tart
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In an 8" fluted removable bottom tart pan roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and slightly larger then the pan itself.
3. Place dough into pan and press into the fluted creases, cut off any excess dough that hangs over the edge of the pan using a pairing knife.
4. Place on a baking sheet and place apricot halves overlapping into the tart pan, cut side up.
5. Pour filling into tart, letting the liquid seep into every crevice.
6. Bake tart for approximately 40 minutes or until the top and fluted rim of the pastry is slightly golden brown and custard is set. (To check gently shake the pan, filling should jiggle (yes this is a technical term) only slightly.
7. Let cool and serve room temperature or chilled.
8. Eat 1/4 of the tart or a sliver and 2 cookies.

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