Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eggnog Gingerbread Tart

The garnish on these tarts is my favorite part. They are darling to look at and surprisingly easy to make. The hardest part is messing up two mixing bowls: one for the vanilla cookie batter and one for the chocolate.

Bake just a few - like three or four - cookies at a time. When they come out of the oven, drape them over something lickety-split. I put them on two wooden spoons. I wanted the banner cookies to have a gentle drape and give the suggestion of them blowing in a light wind.

Gingerbread Sable Tarts (recipe from here)

- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger (adjust spices based on your personal preference)
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons dark molasses + raw rice or beans for weighting the crust

1. Using the paddle attachment, lightly cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and molasses in a mixing bowl.

2. Scrape down sides and add egg and mix until combined. Sift flour and spices together, and add to the mixture just until incorporated. Do not over mix or you will end up with a tough dough.

3. Bring dough together on a lightly flour dusted surface. Divide the dough into two, shape into disks, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least half hour before you move on to the next steps. You can freeze the dough for up to two months if you want to use it at a later time.

4. To roll out the dough: sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper (or plastic wrap), and roll out to 1/8″ thick. Make sure that your dough is rolled out enough to fit the size of your tart pan. The dough should be used as soon as it has been rolled out.

5. Mold your pastry into your tart pan and refrigerate– refrigerating the dough prior to baking guards against excessive shrinking during baking. Using a fork, gently prick the bottom of the dough. Be careful not to fully puncture the dough or else any fillings might leak through. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, while your oven preheats to 350′F

6. Line tart with parchment paper (or cupcake liners if they fit), and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove the shells from the oven, allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and remove the parchment paper and beans. Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes to fully bake the base.

Filling (recipe from here)
Just so you know, this recipe calls for instant vanilla pudding. I know. Me, too. I tried this filling recipe first, with its 7 egg yolks and sheets of gelatin. The result was a chewy filling. I don't know if there is anything more terrifying than chewy filling for a tart.

3/4 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup milk
1 box instant vanilla pudding
freshly grated nutmeg

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Set in refrigerator until ready to use.

Whisk eggnog, milk and instant vanilla pudding together until smooth. Let it thicken 3-5 minutes.

Fold half the whipped cream into eggnog pudding and pour into cooled pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 or more hours.

Banner Tuiles Recipe by Martha Stewart.

• 7 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 6 large egg whites
• 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
• Pinch of salt
• 5 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
• Nonstick cooking spray

Draw a banner onto 12-by-18 inch piece of foam board (I used leftover posterboard from a reading fair project); cut out with a pair of sharp scissors. Set template aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (a French nonstick baking mat) (Good grief, Martha. You can use parchment paper from the Kroger and not an imported kitchen accessory). Coat with cooking spray.

Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 4 egg whites and 1 cup superfine sugar; beat on medium 30 seconds. Add 1 cup flour and the salt; mix well. Add melted butter, 3 tablespoons cream, and the almond extract; beat until combined, 1 minute.

Transfer batter to an airtight container; refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.

 Meanwhile, make chocolate batter. For the chocolate batter, in a saucepan over low heat, melt the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine remaining 2 egg whites and 1/2 cup superfine sugar. Beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and the cocoa powder; beat well. Pour in melted butter and remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Beat on medium until combined, 1 minute. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a number 1 plain round tip; set aside.

Lay two rolling pins parallel to one another on work surface. Place the foam-board template onto the Silpat. Using an offset spatula, spread the chilled batter onto the template. Lift template, and repeat several more times on the Silpat, wiping the template after each use.

With the chocolate batter, pipe out desired words directly onto banners. Bake four banners at a time, until edges begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Carefully remove from baking sheet; drape over two rolling pins to form undulating shapes. Remove when cooled, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batters.

Store in a single layer, in an airtight container, until ready to use.