Wednesday, February 10, 2010

French Silk Tarts

My birthday was Monday and I don't think it could have been a better day. The large snow storm that dumped over 30 inches of snow in my yard allowed me to stay home and bake. It's now Wednesday, and I'm still off of work because of even more snow, so I'm spending my days trying to craft, bake and clean, however, the kittens are excited that we're not leaving in the morning and have been sabotaging any attempts to do anything but play. They're taking a quick nap, so I thought I'd at least start this post.

I understand many people think I'm crazy for being so excited about the snow, but you see, I'm a Midwest girl at heart, and always will be. I truly miss the snow. The views out my back deck are serene and perfect and I just love making comfort food and blankets and snuggles with the kittens. However, I'm starting to see the downsides of living here with this much snow...they just don't have the resources and are trying their best to clear the roads, but it takes so much more time.

French Silk Pie is probably my second favorite dessert, just slightly behind Creme Brulee. I used to have a slice every time we went to Baker's Square Restaurants, and usually "bugged" my mom into letting us take a whole pie home. I decided I was going to make myself something to celebrate my birthday since going out was a bit treacherous. I decided on French Silk Tarts to share with Steve and my sister Lauren.

These were extremely close to the original...very rich and very delicious. If the snow keeps up, I might have to make these again because were gone so fast.

French Silk Tarts
Makes six 4-inch tarts or one 9-inch pie

For the short crust:
5 1/2 oz (about 1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2-4 tablespoon cold water

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 5-10 short pulses. (You can also mix pastry by hand, by cutting butter into flour and salt with a pastry cutter)

Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse to incorporate. Do not over pulse. Test dough by pinching a small amount of dough together; if it is too crumbly add a a little bit more water and pulse until combined.

Turn dough on to a clean surface and form dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick and cut circles large enough to fit into tart pans. Line with parchment and fill with baking beads or dry beans. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before adding filling.

For the french silk filling:
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 oz (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
4 oz (2/3 cup) semisweet chocolate wafers or chips, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 oz (1/2 {liquid} cup) heavy whipping cream

Break eggs into heatproof bowl and whisk to blend. Set the bowl over a simmering water in a saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook the eggs, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F. Maintain the temperature of the mixture for 5 minutes, making sure the temperature does not increase over 150 degrees F. If the mixture climbs above 150 degrees F, remove from heat while continuing to stir. After 5 minutes, place the bowl in an ice bath and stir the eggs until cool.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high for 4 minutes. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Add the egg mixture slowly and beat for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Slowly add the melted chocolate and mix until incorporated. Pour the heavy cream in a thin stream and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon filling into crust(s) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

For the stabilized whipped cream: (Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
Makes 2 cups
3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
4 teaspoon water
8 oz (1 {liquid} cup) heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Refrigerate the mixing bowl and beater (whisk attachment if using stand mixer) for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Microwave the gelatin and water on high in 5 second intervals, stirring in between each, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. The gelatin must be liquid but not warm when added to the cream.

In the chilled bowl, add the cream, sugar, and vanilla and whip until the traces of the beater marks begin to show distinctly. While continuing to whip the cream mixture, add the gelatin in a steady stream. Beat until stiff peaks form. Be careful to not over beat, as a few seconds past stiff peaks will not allow for a velvety smooth consistency.

Pipe whipped cream onto tart filling using a large star tip (I used tip 1M). Garnish tarts with chopped chocolate or curls.

Note: When using the stabilized whipped cream, the tarts can be refrigerated for up to 2 days without the whipped cream watering out. If desired, tarts can be topped with non-stabilized whipped cream immediately before serving. When ready to serve the tarts, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to let the filling soften.



Mary said...

Ugh, your photos are so beautiful!
I wish we could have a snow day so I could stay home and bake and sew!

Crystal said...

These look divine!!

Heather R. said...

Those look absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

SO PRETTY! I love the pics. They are so eretheral!

Anonymous said...

Yum, and what a coincidence that I have some new tartlet pans waiting to be broken in.

Memória said...

Happy belated birthday! My bday was on Sunday. Your silk pie looks perfect! I've always wanted to make this pie.