Life is Great

The Delicious Appreciations of Pick Yin

Not exactly predictable.
Has enough brains for codes
(but can be completely clueless on other more important matters).
Likes her Joe (and her man?) black, her chocolate dark and her food spicy.
“Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.” — Seneca

Total Posts   191      Last Updated   23 November 2015 12:00 PM (GMT +8)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Tarte Framboises (Raspberry Tartlets)

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

This food blog has just turned 3 years old last month. (God, how do you all put up with me for so long?)

Along the way, as I updated my social media connections with various recipes and photos from this little playground of mine, friends and acquaintances some of whom have not spoken to me for years, would suddenly surface and ask if I now own a restaurant, runs a cafe, have a cake shop or have become a chef. The general misconstrued view of how difficult it is to sustain a food industry is still very much widespread, and on that last bit, I shudder to think how many real chefs would be insulted by such parallels drawn against their years of hardship and sacrifices.

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

Now, before you roll your eyes at me and say 'There she goes again...', allow me to first say I don't blame the general masses. In the wake of Food Network celebrity chefs, countless of 'cookbook writers', food journalist, Masterchef superstars (and, until two years ago, the Australian Masterchef Junior prodigies before people found out it's mostly faked), self-proclaimed blogger-cum-restaurant reviewers; it's not a surprise to see how the professionalism in the toque blanche donning arena somewhat downgraded to diminished respectfulness.

Charlotte Druckman, in her book Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen, examines in the first chapter, what is a chef.

"We're going to see more differentiation between the media start-slash-chef who maybe doesn't have the great foundation in cooking, but as that media star quality; we're going to see the chef who only wants to cook and is respected for the fact that they're in their restaurant pretty much every night; we're going to see the chef who's really good at multiple restaurants and putting together concepts.... You want your experience to be good when you go to a restaurant, but what does that mean exactly? If it's really, really good, does it matter [if the chef is the person touching every plate]?"

-Traci Des Jardins

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

While I advocate that anyone can cook, like Chef Gusteau said to Remy before the rat went to fix that soup, not everyone can be a chef. Even Nigella, according to herself. The best cookbook writer need not be a chef, the best chefs are usually not very good writers, with the exception of some (who in my opinion wrote some of the best books related to food). The best chefs are though, true advocates of their food, precision and creativity, while being the best captains of their ships.

"I had myself corrected by Jacques Pépin one time when I refused to consider myself a chef, and he said, 'If you're in the kitchen and you are organizing people to produce a meal, you may not be the most accomplished in terms of cooking, but you are, in fact, doing that job, which is the main one in the kitchen, and you cant think of yourself as a cook.' But, for me, a chef has always come with a lot of fanfare and a lot of authority and a lot of experience in the kitchen; and I never went to cooking school, and I've always relied on other people coming in who knew more than I did. And yes, I did dream up menus, and certainly have been a critical taster, and I'm pretty good on the grill, but we work more in a collaboration."

- Alice Waters (of the Chez Panisse fame)

Tarte Framboises Raspberry Tartlets

Even as my hands deftly maneuver finicky pastry and whisk classic custards like crème patissière, I know I'm no chef material. Because if I'm making this in a professional kitchen, it would have to be absolutely perfect. Not to mention chances are I won't be able to eat it, or at least eat it sitting down, if I get to eat anything at all. I think it's high time we show more appreciation to those in the food industry, from bus boys to line cooks, interns to chefs, servers to purveyors. There's much more to producing a good meal and eating experience than what we all think we know.

Tarte Framboises (Raspberry Tartlets)

Adapted barely from Manu Feildel's Manu's French Kitchen
Serves 6

  • 1 quantity Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (recipe follows)
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 375 grams fresh raspberries
  • strawberry/raspberry/red currant jam (optional, for glaze)
  • icing sugar (optional, for dusting)
  • 500 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 45 grams plain flour
To make the crème patissière, place the milk, vanilla pod and scraped seeds in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool until just warm, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl.

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Add the flour and mix well. Whisk in half of the warm milk until well combined, then whisk in the remaining milk. Transfer the mixture to a non-stick saucepan and stir continuously over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to the boil, about 2-3 minutes. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the crème patissière to a cold bowl, then place a piece of cling film directly on top of the cream, touching it to prevent a skin from forming. Leave it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, about 2-3 hours.

Meanwhile, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 4mm thick, then cut to line 6 12cm tart shells with removable bases. Trim off the excess with a small, sharp knife. Prick the pastry bases with a fork, then refrigerate to rest, about 1 hour.

When ready to bake the tart base, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line the tart shells with pieces of baking paper, then fill with dried beans/rice/pastry weights. Place the tart tins on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, remove the weights and baking paper. Return the tart shells into the oven and bake till golden and dry, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Spoon the crème patissière into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm round nozzle, then pipe it evenly into the cooled tart shells - I actually just spooned it directly into the shells. Arrange the raspberries tightly on top. Glaze with melted berry jam and dust with icing sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Yields enough to line a 30-cm tart
Note: I'm using the food processor method here to suit my hot and humid kitchen condition. Manu's recipe uses the stand mixer with the paddle attachment to cream the butter first.

  • 90 grams icing sugar, sifted
  • 30 grams ground almonds
  • 250 grams plain flour, sifted
  • 1 egg
  • 125 grams cold unsalted butter, chopped
Place the sugar, ground almond and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process till fine and well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the egg and cubes of cold butter. Pulse in short burst till mixture resembles find breadcrumbs. Pour onto a clean bench top and gather dough into a disc, kneading briefly.

Wrap with cling film and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before using. (If you don't have overnight to work with, chill the dough for at least 2 hours before using.)

15 Comments on Tarte Framboises (Raspberry Tartlets)

As always your photos tantaizes my taste buds!
Happy blogging

Posted by Blogger Elaine, at Mar 8, 2013, 12:51:00 PM  

OPA, parabens pelos 3 anos e a vida é bela, por isso desejo muitos e muitos aniversarios e vida boa a você !
Forte abraço.

Posted by Blogger Augusto Jachetti, at Mar 8, 2013, 8:26:00 PM  

Happy blog birthday! Keep up the good work - love your recipes :-)

Posted by Anonymous thelittleloaf, at Mar 8, 2013, 9:26:00 PM  

Those are some of the prettiest tarts ever! Now I really can't wait for the summer berry crop... :)

Posted by Blogger Eileen, at Mar 9, 2013, 2:43:00 AM  

Love the styling!! The tarts are so gourmet! I need to hone in on my baking skills :)

ps: Happy Blogiversary!!

Posted by Anonymous Kiran @, at Mar 9, 2013, 11:28:00 AM  

Happy blog birthday! You may not be a professional chef but what does it matter? Food is about respect, pleasure and sharing...and in my opinion, you display all these 3 aspects...and this merits all the étoiles in the monde! Keep up the good work!

Posted by Anonymous lina_to_u, at Mar 11, 2013, 3:11:00 AM  

Thanks all! Here's to another good year of food!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Mar 20, 2013, 9:34:00 AM  

Gorgeous tartlets and beautiful styling! Pinned!

Posted by Anonymous Julia |, at Apr 8, 2013, 3:18:00 PM  

Hi! May I ask if the dough of this shortcrust pastry was difficult to work with, maybe for a 1st timer? Thanks!

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous, at May 9, 2013, 12:28:00 AM  

Anon: Pastry is generally tricky even for people who have done it before. It takes practice and general observation of your surrounding (temperature and humidity) to get it right. Do give it a shot!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at May 10, 2013, 10:09:00 AM  

Hi! I'm the anonymous earlier. I'm just done baking the tart shells. I thought it was a flop initially as I had issues rolling and lifting the dough. But after rolling it under the cling wrap, I managed to maneuver and line it on the tart rings! The shells turn out great! Will be making the pastry cream tonight and assembling them tomorrow! Thanks!

Posted by Anonymous S, at May 11, 2013, 6:13:00 PM  

Oh and I didn't mean your recipe's a flop, I was referring to my baking skills lol. And I don't own a food processor, so used a mixer instead. Just glad that I managed to achieve awesome tart shells =) Btw, any idea how long before the crust goes soggy with the pastry cream inside? I was wondering how many days will a assembled tart last in the fridge. Thanks again!

Posted by Anonymous S, at May 11, 2013, 6:30:00 PM  

Hi S, sorry for the late reply. Pastry cream, unfortunately, doesn't keep well. Use within 2 days. You can make the tart shells days ahead, keep in an airtight container then make the pastry cream the day you want to serve the tarts.

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at May 14, 2013, 10:41:00 AM  

What can I use to substitute for ground almonds if I'm allergic?

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous, at Jul 14, 2014, 11:56:00 PM  

Anon: For this recipe, you can replace with regular flour of the same amount.

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Jul 16, 2014, 10:49:00 AM  

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