This week has been rather dreary for me. I’ve had difficulty putting things together as far as baking is concerned. And don’t get me started on writing. I stare into a blank document for minutes together. With no outcome, I switch over to Facebook feeds. And then I get irked looking at my wall filled with pictures of babies (no offense intended to friends with babies) and cats!
Category Archives: Tarts
I get high on goat’s cheese. I wish it wasn’t quite so expensive. Otherwise, I’d have it every day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love how it tickles my palate with its sharpness and just as it gets overbearing, it melts and disappears into nothingness.
People often say that life is about simple pleasures. I think this recipe is a testament to that. I saw this recipe on Delicious Magazine and I instantly fell in love with the idea of goat’s cheese and onion jam resting on a disc of golden brown puff pastry.
At times when I don’t have clarity, the only thing that saves me is baking. I sit by my window with a cup of coffee, wondering how that pie or cake is going to turn out. I might’ve done everything right but I can still never be sure. And when the cake or pie comes out as it should, the little pieces come together, my thoughts aren’t as cloudy and I feel as though I’ve been injected with a fresh dose of endorphins.
It’s exciting to do new things in life, to keep the excitement factor up and running. I am someone who gets bored very easily. Actually, I can be obsessively engrossed in something if I want to, but the monotony of life gets to me every now and then.
Boredom is like this parasite. It creeps in slowly and sometimes you see it coming, in the most unusual albeit familiar circumstances; like this route you take to go to work every single day – you catch the same bus and you wait the usual 8 stops to get to your destination, you jump out of the bus, stand amidst the same buildings, walk through the same lanes and shops to get to work and the next thing you know, you are bored of your work itself.
In India, we have this tradition (maybe I should say had?). As a child, when it’s your birthday, you have to distribute candies in school. It’s one of those days you really looked forward to – it’s the only day you were allowed to wear “colour” dress, meaning no uniform, teachers were sort of nice to you on that day and you would get wished by known and unknown students, probably because you stood out in your uniformless avatar.
It’s amazing how we found happiness in little things as kids. My mom would take me to the shop and I was allowed to pick a toffee. She would buy 100 of those and put them in a plastic box. I would go around distributing them and if I liked someone I gave them more than one candy, sometimes two, even three. Feels like ages ago.
Have you ever had a “fortunate happenstance” in the kitchen? For me, accidents in the kitchen have always been disastrous. But thanks to Tatin sisters, I still live in the hope that one day I will make a startling discovery out of a debacle.
If I believe in the history of Tarte Tatin, which I do, it was born out of an act of serendipity. Stephanie Tatin, one of the owners of Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, accidentally baked a caramelized apple tart upside down. If this was true, she paved way to a flurry of upside down desserts, didn’t she?
This is probably the longest break I’ve had from baking in the last three months and I missed it. I’ve been traveling. Enjoyed the Bangalore chill – ambling under the trees, several cups of filter coffee and I certainly wouldn’t leave the city without having kaarabath and vadais from Veena Stores. I also brought back home some obbats, congress and kodubales among other things. These are protocols you indulge in when you go to a city like Bangalore and there are no two ways about it.
And then I stopped over at my Madras for little over a day. Of all the years I spent growing up there, I would’ve gone to Saravana Bhavan thrice. I never understood the stereotypical tourists who would insist on eating there. But when you’ve been away from home for long, you find yourself happy in committing such stereotypes. I plead guilty – I did have the gargantuan ghee roast at Saravana Bhavan and felt more at home than ever.
Now I am back to square one with my little oven, whisk and a new apron, which I shamelessly took from my mom in law. A tart cannot get more chocolatey than this and that’s why I call it an all chocolate tart. Chocolate ganache in chocolate tart shells. They look like little chocolate ponds don’t they?
For the chocolate dough
- 160 g (1 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
- 32 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 32 g (1/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 egg, yolk only
- 1 tbsp ice cold water
For the ganache filling
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 150 g dark chocolate, chopped
Makes 12 3-inch tarts
- For the chocolate dough, in a large bowl, mix together the flour, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add the butter cubes gradually and knead using your hands gently until you get crummy texture. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolk and ice water. Using your index finger, mix the yolk with water. Now slowly start bringing in the flour mixture towards the yolk and combine gradually. Work the dough using the heal of your palm. Once your done combining the dough, pat it into a rough rectangle and wrap it with a cling film. Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, in a sauce pan of simmering water, place a bowl with the chopped chocolate and butter. Let it melt. Stir it occasionally. Remember, the base of the bowl should not touch the water. Once melted, mix well and allow it to cool.
- After the dough has been chilled, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. To avoid the dough sticking to the work surface, I place it between to sheets of parchment paper. Always roll out the dough from the center to get an even surface.
- Once the dough has been rolled out, using a 6-inch round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. You might have to use the scraps and roll out the dough again to cut out rounds. Gently place each round on the fluted tart tins. Fit them into the tart, pressing the sides towards the ridges of the tin, without breaking them apart. Once all the tart shells are done, place them in the refrigerator for 30 more minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- After 30 minutes, take the tarts from the fridge. Prick their bases using a fork. This is done to prevent the base from rising. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tart tins over the baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow the tarts to cool off. Spoon the ganache into the tarts. Chill them for about 3-4 hours before serving.