Savoriesnsweets’ Blog

Pie, Tart and Cobbler: The Beauty and Delight of Fruit Desserts.

Posted on: August 3, 2009

So I took this class all on shortcakes, cobblers and crisps and I just really felt compelled to combine all my new found knowledge to make some creations at home.  Since I’ve never worked with rhubarb, I decided to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie.  This is my first lattice-top pie also, so this one is actually kind of special for me.

My strawberry-rhubarb pie was a basic pate sucre. And the filling was my strawberries, rhubarb, a thickener and some seasonings.  Overall, I think it came out very good.  However, I unfortunately forgot to egg wash the top, so it’s not as shiny as it should have been.  Don’t forget this step!  You want your lattice-top to be pretty and shiny!

Pate Sucree

This will yield enough for your bottom crust as well as your lattice.  Save any leftovers in the freezer and use them for smaller projects.  They should keep,  well-wrapped for about 3 months.  While this is not your usual pie dough, it is sturdy enough to hold a moist filling.  It won’t be as flaky as most pie doughs, but it will still be delicious.

  • unbleached, all-purpose flour  — 1.5 lbs
  • sugar — 8 oz
  • baking powder — 1.5 tsp
  • salt — 1 tsp
  • unsalted butter — 8oz
  • large eggs – 5

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.

2.  Using your hands or the paddle of an electric mixer, rub in the butter.  You want a mealy mixture that is still cool and powdery.

3.  Beat the eggs and stir into your flour mixture until just incorporated.

4.  Scrape the dough out of your bowl and shape into a 3-inch-thick cylinder.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 30 min.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling:  (adapted from Epicurious)

  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

To assemble the pie:

1. Make your pate sucree and allow to rest.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Mix your filling items until well combined and set aside. This will give the fruit some time to macerate, release their juices, and all the flavors to come together.

3.  Take out your rested pate sucree and cut the disk in half.  Form the dough into a disk and roll it out into a circle large enough to line the bottom of a 9″ pie dish.

4. Using your rolling pin, wrap the dough around your rolling pin and unravel the dough into the pie dish.

5.  Add your filling to your pie dish.

6.  Roll out the other half of dough.  Using a pastry cutter cut out strips about 1/2 inch wide and place in a lattice form on the top of the pie.

7. Crimp the ends to seal.  (Any extra dough scraps can be saved for othe projects later.)

8.  Brush with an egg wash of one beaten egg and 1 T water.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if you like.

9.  Bake at 400F for 20 min.  Then turn down to 350F for 25-30 min.  Cool on rack.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I then moved onto the tart.  I made a nice pate brisee, pastry cream and I used fresh berries to top the tart

Pate Brisee

This is your basic flaky pie dough.  I’m using it for a tart since I want a light and flaky crust.  This will be blind-baked, meaning it will bake without the filling while weighted down by light weights (I use dry beans.)  I then remove the weights, then continue baking until golden brown.

  • unsalted butter — 1lb
  • unbleached, all purpose flour — 1lb
  • cake flour — 1/2 lb
  • salt –1 tsp
  • baking powder — 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • cold water — 6 oz

1.  Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces.  If your kitchen is warm, you may want to store the pieces in the refrigerator.

2.  Combine the flours, salt, and baking power.

3.  Using your hands or the paddle of an electric mixer, rub in the butter.  You want to continue until the butter is the size of cranberries.

4.  Stir in the water until the dough holds together.

5.  Scrape the dough out of the bowl and use your bench scraper to put the dough together.  It should appear broken and you should be able to see chunks of butter in the flour.

6.  Once the dough has come together,  wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest.

7.  Once the dough has rested, cut the disk in half.  Store the half you are not using in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped.

8.  Roll out the dough so that it is large enough to line a tart pan.

9.  Wrap the dough around your rolling pin and unroll it into the tart pan.  Use your hands to place it in the corners.

10.  Dock the tart dough.  Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the dough.  This will ensure a place for steam to escape.

11.  Line the tart with parchment paper and place dry beans to keep it down.  (You can also use coffee filters if you don’t have parchment paper.)

12. Blind bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F.

13.  Remove the beans and parchment and bake another 15-20 min or until golden brown.  Cool.

I then made my pastry cream. I never knew that pastry cream is basically pudding!  It’s creamy and delicious and you can add flavors to change it, like liquor or chocolate.   This should yield about one quart and will keep in your fridge, in a well-covered container for about 3-4 days.

Pastry Cream

  • milk — 1 quart
  • cornstarch  — 3.5 oz
  • sugar –8 oz
  • eggs — 2
  • egg yolks — 8 (Save your whites!  You can always freeze them and use them for omelettes or meringues!)
  • butter — 4 oz
  • vanilla — 1/2 fl. oz

1.  Dissolve the cornstarch into 4 oz of the milk.

2.  Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally to ensure your sugar does not burn.

3. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture.

4.  Once your milk has come to a boil, take it off the heat.  While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in the egg-egg yolk-cornstarch mixture until it has thickened.

5.  Return the mixture to a boil and keep whisking until you start to see bubbles come to the surface.

6.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.

7.  Cool in an ice bath and place plastic wrap right on the surface of the cream to prevent it from forming a skin.

To assemble the tart:

1.  Spread your pastry cream in the tart shell to fill it completely.

2.  Top with whatever berries you like.  I used raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

3.  Glaze your tart with 1/2 cup boiled and strained apricot preserves.  (This is referred to as nappage.)  This will make the tart very shiny and pretty!

Mixed Berry Tart

Mixed Berry Tart

I then moved onto my peach-blueberry cobbler.

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler
Filling:

  • 2 3/4 pounds peaches, halved lengthwise, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges (about 6 large peaches)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • Salt (pinch)

Crust

This is also a great way to make delicious biscuits!

  • 1 lb of self rising cake flour
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk, milk or heavy cream.  (I LOVE the tang of buttermilk and the richness of the heavy cream, so I tend to use either one of these.)

1. Peel and chop the peaches into 3/4 inch thick wedges. To peel them, cut an “x” in the bottom of the peach and place in boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately, place the peach into an ice bath. The peels should come right off.

2.  Mix all your other ingredients and combine well.

3.  To make your crust combine the flour and butter.  Rub the butter into the flour with the paddle of your mixer or with your hands.  You want a homogenous, mealy mixture.

4.  Add your milk or cream or buttermilk and stir until just combined.

5.  Scrape the dough out of the bowl and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

6.  To assemble the cobbler, you can fill individual ramekins with the filling and top with round cut-outs of the dough.  You can also use a large round gratin dish.   You can fill the gratin dish with all your filling and top with all the dough.  I like the ramekins since it makes a nice presentation and you can then add a few spoons of ice cream right to the ramekin when serving!

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

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