A birthday tart
I have some good excuses for not posting here lately, but most of them involve Kleenex and Musinex so I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say we've had our share of sickness over the past couple months and I am super ready to be over it all.
There has been some fun mixed in with the misery though. I must tell you about the eating at Byron's birthday mid April. It was a simple celebration with a couple folks to share dinner and cake and ice cream with us on a warm April evening. First came a layered chopped salad and a chevre and chive savory tart in a yeasted crust.
Let me pause the story here briefly to tell you how much I like this yeasted tart crust. Since finding this crust recipe in the Everyday Greens cookbook (thank you, Jill, I love this book!) for me there is no going back to the hassle of pate brisee when making a quiche. This crust is fast (takes an hour start to finish) and the dough is easy to work with and tender and tasty and best of all, no prebaking.
Annie Somerville's Yeasted Tart Dough and a basic custard
adapted a bit from Everyday Greens cookbook
1 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and set in a sunny window for 10 minutes. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the whisked egg, softened butter, and yeast mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Dust it lightly with flour and gather into a ball. Place it in a bowl (can be the one you mixed it in if it's fairly clean) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour.
To make a tart crust, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface (with plenty of flour on hand for dusting as you go) into a 10-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press it evenly against the sides. It should be about a 1/2 inch higher than the pan (although it won't be quite that much with the larger pan). Fold the edges over and press again so the dough sows a little above the rim of the pan all around. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then place it on a large baking sheet, and fill it with your savory fillings and custard.
I like to use a thin layer of flavorful cheese on the bottom of the crust (something like Guyere), then add my veggies and other any other cheeses (like goat cheese, asparagus pieces, potato chunks, sauteed mushrooms, etc.), and finish by pouring the egg-based custard over the fillings to fill the crust. I like to use 3 eggs with a cup and a half of combined milk/cream/half and half (whatever combo I have on hand).
Oh, and now back to the birthday part of the story . . .
For his birthday dinner, Wyatt and I made Byron a "dad's happy birthday cake," as it became known. I had quite a lot of help in making it -- from assistance in cutting out the parchment circles to cracking eggs and sprinkling the coconut (and tasting it) and finally, stabbing the cake with candles.