Are you the kind of person who always ends up with a tummy ache after any kind of buffet because you can’t help but try everything? That’s me. My plate always looks like a Picasso gone terribly wrong. Luckily, buffets are not common in France and when I do come across one, Bastien and I work in a team to get a bite of each little thing. We take turns going back to the buffet every so often to fill up on what we haven’t tasted without looking like pigs!
The point: I love tiny dishes! Petite tarts, little quiche, meatballs on toothpicks… the list goes on. Tasting things is what drives me to cook. I hardly use the same recipe more than once or twice with but a few exceptions that I make a few times a year.
But enough about me… these tartlets will melt your heart, or someone else’s.
recipe for raspberry tartlets:
This might be the best recipe I’ve tried for pâte brisée.
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold butter in small cubes
3 to 5 tbs ice water
Make sure all of the ingredients are very cold.
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add the butter cubes and, using a pastry blender or two knives cut them into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of large peas. *Note: Basically, if you do this in the food processor, you blend using short pulses until you are at the large pea stage.
Add the water, beginning with 3 tbs all at once. Use the tips of your fingers to lightly and rapidly toss and rub the mixture until the dough holds together when squeezed. Add the extra water if necessary. Don’t spend too much time with your fingers in the dough. You don’t want to melt the butter.
Turn the dough onto plastic wrap and press into a flat disc. Chill at least 2 hours (ok, I often cheat here and do 1 hour) and up to 4 days. You can also freeze the dough at this point.
Roll out very thinly onto a floured surface and use a round cookie-cutter to cut out circles. If you have nifty little tartlet tins, you can use these, otherwise press the circles into the bottom of buttered muffin tins, making sure that you have a little edge. Prick the bottom of the tartlet shells with a fork to avoid bubbles when baking.
Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes, or until the shells are mostly dry, but still pale or just beginning to color.
Allow to cool.
500 ml milk
125 g sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs sweet cream butter
1 vanilla bean, sliced in two and scraped
Whisk together the sugar and egg until the yellow color whitens. Add the cornstarch and whisk together. You should have a smooth cream.
Bring the milk to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla bean and seed paste that you got from scraping. Pour a few splashes into the sugar, egg, cornstarch mixture. Quickly whisk until smooth. Pour into the milk and put back over the heat, stirring with a whisk for a few minutes until thick and bubbling. Quickly remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Before the cream has cooled, fill the tartlet shells by the spoonful and top with fresh raspberries. Chill or allow to cool before you know what.