hi everyone! quick recipe post for katie, who requested the goods on the strawberry shortcake, and stephanie says, who asked about the tomato tart.
i took the recipe from cooks illustrated (i think i've said this before but they are great. they have an amazing test kitchen so you really get the best version of whatever classic dish you're looking for,) only to realize as i was cutting out the biscuits that i had completely forgotten to include the sugar. my stomach dropped. then i sucked it up, brushed the tops with a little extra cream, and poured sugar on top of each. they turned out absolutely incredibly, not overly sweet but with a beautiful, crispy sugar crust on top. the sugar from the strawberries seeps into the cake so you don't miss any sweetness at all. try it either way.
3 pints fresh strawberries , with tops cut off; 1 pint crushed with potato masher or fork, 2 pints quartered
enough sugar to cover them generously
2 c bleached all-purpose flour , plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1/2 t kosher salt
1 T baking powder
3 T granulated sugar
2 T granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter (8 T), frozen
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 T half-and-half
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 T cream
1 c heavy whipping cream , chilled
1 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract or paste
mix crushed and quartered berries with sugar in medium bowl; set aside while preparing biscuits.
adjust oven rack to lower middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. using large holes of box grater, grate butter into dry ingredients. toss butter with flour to coat. use fingers to finish cutting butter into flour until it is the side of peas.
mix beaten egg with half-and-half; pour into flour mixture. toss with fork until large clumps form. turn mixture onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.
pat dough into 9- by 6-inch rectangle, 3/4 inch thick. flour 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter; cut 6 dough rounds. place 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush dough tops with egg white mixed with cream and sprinkle with remaining sugar. (can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours before baking.) bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.
chill a glass or stainless steel bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, then add cream, sugar, and vanilla and whip to soft or medium peaks (depending on how you like your whipped cream, of course.)
split each cake crosswise; spoon a portion of berries and then a dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. cap with cake top; serve immediately.
heirloom tomato tart
i saw this recipe, or something like it, in a new york times sunday magazine a few years ago. it's pretty simple so i just remembered the important parts and make it when i get my hands on good tomatoes. i found mine at the fairway market in red hook, which, if any new yorkers haven't been there, is absolute heaven for a grocery store lover such as myself. the tomatoes are the main ingredient and the eye candy of the dish, so i try to buy at least one box of heirloom tomatoes and mosaic those on top to make it a bit prettier. you can layer vine ripened tomatoes underneath, or whatever looks best; i use plum, cherry, campari, red, yellow, and/or orange vine-ripened tomatoes. the time is coming for great produce at farmer's markets! so a good time for this one.
makes one nine-inch tart.
13 T butter (a little more than a stick and a half) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 c all purpose flour (bleached or unbleached)
a couple pinches of salt (i like mine salty)
some ice water
1 box heirloom tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes if you can't find those
4-8 other tomatoes, depending on size; use a variety. should be about a pound of tomatoes total.
1 T olive oil (the better, the better)
1 small sweet yellow onion
about 4 oz goat cheese
about a half cup crumbled feta
basil leaves (to garnish)
make the crust, and once it comes together wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for a half hour or so. pull it out and roll it out; butter or pam your tart pan, fold the crust into quarters, then place in tart pan and unfold. crimp the edges if you like; turn oven to 350, then place it in your fridge and let it chill for about 30 minutes. once oven is ready and crust has rested in fridge, take it out, line it with parchment paper (enough so that a few inches hang over the sides and is easy to lift out) and fill that with lentils or pie weights. bake for 15-20 minutes (until the edge starts to brown), rotating halfway through, then remove the lentils and bake for a few minutes without them IF NEEDED. if the crust already looks like it is starting to be done (no dark, uncooked spots but not turning brown at all yet,) don't bake it any longer.
while you're doing that, slice the whole onion so that it makes lots of little circles. start the olive oil in a medium sized pan on medium heat and add the onion, cooking it until it's transparent. add more olive oil if needed. salt a tad if you want. set aside.
slice all the tomatoes into 1/4 inch or so thick slices. cut cherry tomatoes (if using) in half.
once the crust ready (pre-baked but not browned and done,) and still a little warm, turn the oven up to broil and crumble the goat cheese on the bottom of the tart and spread it around with an offset spatula or spoon. you can always use more or less cheese as you wish. add the onion on top of that, then tile the tomatoes over it, then top it all of with the feta cheese. salt and pepper as desired, then pop it in the oven and broil it for 5-10 minutes, until the feta cheese starts to brown. if the crust starts to get too dark, you can take out the tart and cover the edges of the dough with aluminum foil. it is kind of a pain though.
and voila! garnish with a little bit of basil. actually quite simple and SUCH a great dish for the spring and summer.
happy [my] friday, everyone!
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