Tuesday, September 1, 2009

birthdays and tarts! part I

I met Panda the first day I went to TKD practice. Within the first month, I concluded that we could never live together. She disliked cheese, nuts, and garlic in her fried rice. And me? My ideal lunch is a triple creme cheese with fig preserve on toasted baguette, my brownies and cookies come choked with walnuts, and I add garlic to everything. Whereas she lost 10 pounds during college, I...well never mind.

We have shared many good meals together, indulging in our love for good curry, nutella crepes, and tempura ice cream (yea I know 2/3 were desserts). She's obsessed with apple turnovers and always order banana cream pie when we goto Nation's. This little tart was for her.

Banana Cream Tartlettes
(adapted from the fabulous Tartlette)


1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp butter, diced and chilled
1 1/2 tbsp sugar

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in cold butter until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add in water slowly, until mixture comes together. You may not need all the water. Form into a round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut to the size of the tart pans. Gently lay dough into the pans, trying not to stretch it. Dock the bottom with a fork, press a piece of foil over the crust and add in pie weights (I was out of beans this time so I used clean rocks ^^). Bake in a 375 degrees preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Then remove the weights and foil and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the crust is lightly golden. Let it cool to room temperature before filling.

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup cream
pinch salt
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat cream and salt together, until just under a boil. Pour into the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate and cream together, until smooth and shiny. Add in butter piece by piece, stirring just enough to blend the ingredients. The less you stir it, the shinier the ganache will be. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic right over the ganache. Set aside at room temperature.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp vanilla

Bring milk and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. In the meantime, sift together sugar and corn starch. Add in the beaten egg and mix well. Slowly add in half the hot milk mixture, mixing to temper the eggs. Add the egg mixture back to the pan with the remaining milk, stirring constantly until you reach a thick consistency. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then whisk in butter, a small piece at a time. The mixture should be smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, laying the plastic right over the surface of the cream. Chill until ready to use.

To Assemble:

Spread a thin layer of ganache on the bottom of the tart shells. Slice a banana thin and on a bias. Layer in overlapping concentric circles over the ganache. Cover with pastry cream. Decorate with whipped cream, more bananas, and chocolate shavings.

strawberry tarts are delicious too

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