Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Favorites 2011 Edition - Part 2

So this next recipe I wanted to share is a fabulous quick and easy plated dessert for when you're having guests over for dinner and want something light to end a meal.  These Strawberry-Fig Balsamic Tarts are sure to be a crowd pleaser and they're not overtly sweet, which is one of my favorite things about them.  It's not particularly "holiday" in any sense, in fact... it would be easier to make in the summer when the ingredients are in season, but at any rate... they're delicious.

Strawberry-Fig Balsamic Tarts
For the crust:
·         1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 cup shortening, chilled
·         3 tablespoons ice water

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
·         - Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together
- Gently gather dough particles together into a ball
- Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling
- Roll out dough, and press into individual tart shells (you can also make one large tart in a pie plate if you don't have individual tart shells)
- Bake shells until they are slightly golden brown (about 10 minutes)
**Modification: you can cheat and use pre-made pie crusts here if time if of the essence

For the pastry creme:
·         1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

- Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps
- Warm the milk over low heat in a small saucier pan until steam begins to form
- Slowly add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly
- Return mixture to the pan and heat for 2 minutes while continuing to stir until the custard reaches 170 degrees and thickens
- Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
- Spoon into tart shells and bake for an additional 7 minutes

For the fruit topping:
10 medium to large sized strawberries
5 Turkish figs (if fresh are unavailable, you can use dried)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar

- In a medium saucepan, combine balsamic, vanilla and brown sugar and simmer until the liquid is reduced to half it's original volume and begins to take on a slight syrupy quality
- Remove reduction from heat and allow to cool
- Slice strawberries into 1/4 inch segments (about 6 slices per berry)
- Slice figs into 1/4 inch segments (about 6 slices each for fresh figs and 4 slices per fig if using dried fruit)
- Toss strawberries and figs in the reduction until thoroughly coated
- Top tarts with the fruit mixture and serve immediately

No comments:

Post a Comment