Well, the days here at Tuesdays with Dorie are numbered. After four years of baking through Dorie Greenspan's book Baking from My Home to Yours, this is the final month of recipes. I felt honored to receive an email asking me to host this month, and was given the choice of two recipes. I picked this one as I love, love, love making tarts. You can find the recipe for Honey Almond Fig Tart on page 373.
Okay, I did know that it is not fresh fig season when I picked this recipe, and I did hunt high and low all over town just to make sure there weren't some hanging out somewhere, so after the unproductive search, I decided to do what Dorie herself suggests "when fresh figs are not available," and that is to select one of the alternate recipes in the sidebar notes of the book called: "Playing Around," i.e. I chose the France Meets Florida Honey Almond Tart (i.e. a grapefruit version as I have never baked with grapefruit before, other than broiling a half grapefruit with a bit of brown sugar on it for breakfast (what's not to love about that?) and I wanted to see how all that would work and taste).
I won't keep you in suspense, it worked and tasted just wonderful! It's very pretty and the taste of grapefruit with honey and almonds is tangy/sweet/creamy, very lovely.
I made a 6" tart size with a quarter of the dough crust recipe and a fourth of the filling recipe (don't use more than this for this size of tart as it rises as it bakes and this was plenty without flowing over the top of the tart pan). I used about 3/4 of a grapefruit (in sections) to spiral around the top of this size tart. It took mine 30 minutes to bake.
I would make and eat this again, it was delightful. Mark enjoyed it as well, so I would say this one is a definite repeat and I will also try this recipe again with the fig version when fresh figs are back in season.
Before I leave you with the recipe, I want to share a bit about Tuesdays with Dorie and my involvement in the group. I first found out about the group forming in January of 2008, when they posted their first recipes, but it took me four months to request membership as I didn't know how to bake and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to make some of the recipes shown in the book without looking like a complete fool. Seriously, all I had ever baked were cakes, cupcakes, and brownies from box mixes. I did know how to make some cookies from scratch and I had only two pies that I could execute from scratch with a fair amount of success. I had baked plain white bread before but it had been years and years. I figured no one would want me in the group stumbling around with all these recipes each week.
I read the entries from the members each week for a few months and decided that there were a fair number of them that hadn't a clue on how to really bake either and that most of them seemed to be learning as they went along. I thought maybe I could do that and the rest is history.
My first post was May 20, 2008 and while I haven't made all of the recipes since then, I have made about 150 of them. A whole lot of desserts. As I was scrolling through and counting them, I literally saw the last four years flashing before my eyes, remembering the times and people who ate the desserts as I was making them. Also flashing before my eyes were all the baking friends I have made these four years within this group, some who stayed the course, some who came and went, some who will continue on being my baking friends into the future in the next baking group or other groups. I think I can tell you who chose each recipe that I made, something about them, and the names of all their blogs. Who knew something as simple as baking would bring so many people together from all over the world. We have not only baked together, we have shared pieces of our lives with one another...we have rejoiced in holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births, first days of school, graduations, weddings and countless other celebrations. We have consoled one another on baking failures due to our own mistakes, disappointments, unhappy and trying times, divorces, deaths, and funerals. We chat about families, jobs, hobbies, interests, vacations, and pretty much anything you can think of. After four years, we are, without a doubt good friends and TWD members have become something of a family of bakers. What a fun ride this has been, I have learned so much, and had such a great time doing it with others I have come to know and care about through the years.
It's more than a little sad to see it ending. That said, there will be a continuation of this baking group in one form or another as we begin baking through the Baking with Julia book of Dorie's in February 2012. While not everyone is continuing on with this adventure, some are venturing forth, so I am looking forward to beginning all that in February.
And finally, thank you both to Laurie for starting this wonderful baking adventure and inviting us all along on the journey and to Dorie Greenspan who had the vision, dedication, and drive to write one of the best baking books ever...anyone can bake with wonderful results using this book because of her carefully written instructions in every recipe. If something didn't turn out along the way, it was my fault, not the fault of any recipe in the book...trust me, this book is exceptional in that regard, the recipes are tried, true, and absolutely approachable. Dorie has been extremely generous with her time and support throughout the four years, commenting on our blogs when it was not only our turn to host for the week, but at other times as well. I don't know a single other author who would grant permission for each recipe to be posted as Dorie has done...I sincerely hope she is rewarded by sales of her book -- everyone I know who has commented on the recipes has gone out and purchased a copy of Baking from My Home to Yours "just so I can have my own copy of the book!" If you don't own a copy by now, it's not too late to put it on your Christmas list and as Laurie says, "Bake on!"
The end of the group's journey is definitely not the end of my use of this book, I will go to it time and again for recipe after recipe after recipe. To all my fellow TWD bakers: Thank you for baking with me all these years and teaching me more than you can ever imagine. C'ya around the blogs...xoxoxoxo!
The other recipe chosen for this week was Earl Grey Madeleines on page 169, and you can find the recipe for it on Nicole's Bakeologie blog here.
For the Almond Cream:
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup ground almonds
4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
9" tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough (page 444), partially baked and cooled (recipe follows)
15 ripe figs (Kadota figs are very nice) OR 2 Florida Ruby Red Grapefruits
1/3 cup red currant jelly mixed with 1 teaspoon water for glazing
Combine the butter, honey, and confectioners' sugar in a food processor (a great tool for this job) and process until smooth. Add the ground almonds and process to blend. Add the cornstarch and process to blend, then add the egg and yolk. Keep whirring for another 15 seconds, or until the almond cream is homogeneous. (If you prefer, you can make the almond cream with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.) Scrape the filling into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or for up to 3 days).
Using grapefruit: Peel 2 grapefruits, removing the rind and the white cottony pith beneath, and cut out the segments (leaving the membrane behind). Put the segments between two triple thickness of paper towels. Let the fruit drain for at least an hour - or up to 6 hours, if you've got the time.
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
If using figs: cut the figs in half from blossom to stem.
Spoon enough of the almond cream into the crust to come about 1/4 inch shy of the rim. Arrange the figs, if using, cut side down in an attractive pattern over the cream. OR Arrange the grapefruit segments, if using, in a pretty pinwheel pattern over the filling before baking.
Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes, or until the cream is puffed and browned; a thin knife inserted into the cream should come out clean. Pull the pan from the oven and transfer the tart to a rack.
Bring the currant jelly and water to a boil--you can do this either in a pan on the stove or in the microwave oven. Using a pastry brush, very gently paint the top of the tart with the glaze. Allow the tart to cool to just warm or to room temperature before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings. Dorie says you can serve this tart with whipped cream, creme fraiche, creme Anglaise, or even a little ice cream, but that she serves it plain or sometimes dusted with confectioners' sugar.
Storing: although you can make the almond cream and the tart shell ahead, the tart should be eaten the day it is baked.
Makes Enough for One 9" Crust
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon (9 Tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in -- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses -- about 10 seconds each -- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change -- heads up. Turn the dough onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don't be too heavy-handed -- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.