Sunday, June 9, 2013

Strawberry Ganache Tartlettes

When you get a hold of some fresh and juicy "real" strawberries there's not much you can do to improve them. Except maybe to add chocolate. I found some wonderful organic strawberries at the market this weekend and I couldn't resist.  Although they weren't local berries, they were delicious and the texture was perfectly succulent!

For real, organic strawberries the shelf life is all too fleeting and that's as it should be.  So best to encase them in some sweet glaze and nestle them in rich chocolate ganache sitting in a buttery pâte sablée crust.  It's all a lot easier than it sounds. And the results are a fancy schmancy pastry worthy of the best Parisian pâtisserie.

pate sablee

1 cup flour
1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten

In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add beaten egg and mix in with a fork (or your hands) just until dough forms.  Knead just until smooth, flatten to a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. If using individual tartlette tins use one of them to measure where to cut dough. Leave roughly 1/3 inch around the tin.  Press the cut dough on the outside of the tin, pierce with a fork and cover with another tin. Trim off the excess and repeat with the rest of the dough. Makes about 18 to 24 tartlettes, (depending on the size), 1 large tart or 2 small ones.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely and unmold.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (the best you can find)
1 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate and transfer to a medium bowl. Scald heavy cream and pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute and then slowly whisk until mixture is smooth. Avoid over mixing or beating any air into the ganache as this will just result in unwanted bubbles, (and yes I did get some).

Divide ganache evenly into cooled tartlette shells and chill until firm. If you have any ganache left over be sure to dip a berry or two in it for a baker's treat!

18- 24 large strawberries
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
confectioners' sugar

Bring preserves to a boil in a small, heavy bottomed pot. Remove from heat and when still warm, but cool enough to handle, strain preserves to remove seeds. Chill completely.

When ready to assemble trim the tops off strawberries and place them in a large bowl.  Add preserves, a couple of tablespoons at a time, just to glaze berries.   Be careful not to drench them.  Top each tartlette with a berry and finish with a shake of confectioners' sugar.  Serve immediately.

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