April Fool's day for all in New England. It snowed! After 2 weeks straight of brilliant cool mornings warming up to lovely afternoons, and shovels and winter boots are all stashed away, the white flakes fell overnight and schools were cancelled. Spring time was kept at bay while old man winter ruled the day. Mother Nature's prank was sure a talk of the town. To make things better I set my mind to believe that weekend started early despite my 2 kids driving me nuts with their under used energy inside the house. They are now at that age where bickering, screaming and shouting at each other seems to be the only way to communicate and bond. Within minutes they are buddies again and before I know it, an hour passed and the whole ball starts rolling again about a toy, a chair or whatever they think worth of their loud voices.
I got some new Tart rings and wanted to test use them. My all time favorite to make is Tarts. Whether it is small, big, sweet or savory, there is just something about tart that appeals to me. With the warm buttery smell of the tart case and the lovely creamy filling of pastry cream or quiche like custard baked into the tart itself, cutting a slice to eat is just heaven. There are many variations of tart crusts and I am yet to attempt it all. And talking about tart tins and pans, I have all fluted shapes and different sizes too. I have been wanting to get these tart rings for a while now and finally I got 2, one measuring 6 inches and the other 9 inches. I was a bit unsure on how to use the rings as they have no bottom part to hold the pastry dough and their sides which is less than 2 inches made me skeptical. I just have to practise a few more times to get it perfect. For a first, I made up this Frangipane Tart using Hazelnut instead of the usual Almond nut for the filling. If possible get the ready roasted and cleaned ones to save time. Hazelnut is very unique in taste with a subtle floral aroma to it, which is light in the palate.
Tart Pastry Dough
300g All Purpose Flour
150g Cold Butter, cut to cubes
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 Tsp salt
1 large egg
3 Tbsp Cold Water
1. Sift the flour together with the sugar & salt. Place them in the food processor.
2. Drop in the butter cubes, process for 10 seconds. Do not overmix.
3. Lightly beat the egg and pour into the flour & butter mixture. Process for another 10 seconds. Do not overmix.
4. Add in the cold water and process for 10 seconds. As soon as the dough comes together in a clump, it is ready. Take out and pat into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, put in fridge to rest for 1 hour.
5. Grease a 6 inch or 8 inch tart ring or pan. Set aside.
Hazelnut Frangipane Filling
100g Roasted Hazelnut, cleaned
1-1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
40g Butter, Room Temperature
300g Canned peaches, remain as wedges
1 Tbsp Sugar
1. Put the Hazelnut into the food processor together with the sugar and cornstarch. Process together till the hazelnut is cut into mealy state. About 10 seconds.
2. Lightly beat the egg and put into the hazelnut mixture and add in the butter. Process to mix for 20 seconds till it turns creamy.
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
To Assemble The Tart
1. Take out the tart pastry dough. Roll it out to a large circle. Lift it up and line the tart ring or pan. If using tart ring, the bottom of the lining pan that holds the tart ring must be greased too.
2. Always leave excess overhanging the tart ring/pan as the dough will shrink during baking.
3. When ready, spoon the hazelnut cream mixture into the tart dough, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula.
4. Arrange the peach slices around and gently pushing to the bottom into the hazelnut cream. Do not bury the peaches but leave some showing for better presentation. Sprinkle sugar on top of the peaches once all are arranged.
5. Bake the tart for 40 to 45 mins. The filling will brown and set.
6. If still soft to the touch, turn off oven after time is up and let the tart sit in the warm oven for another 10 mins.
7. Remove and serve warm.
Serves: 4 to 6 person