Monday, May 9, 2011

Fruit Tart Recipe! or When did I get old enough to Throw a Bridal Shower??

Life is full of milestones. First steps, First Day of School, High School Prom, Sorority Initiation, Moving Out, Traveling Abroad for the first time, Starting your First full Time Job... all of these are moments that we define ourselves by and not only ourselves but it's often how we bench mark with our peers. Well alas the dreaded bench mark has reached my door step- my friends are starting to get married. I recently turned 26 as many of you know. A nice firm placement in the mid Twenties. I like it. I'm not afraid of it. You know what I am afraid of? Finally having to admit that I and my friends are becoming full fledged adults. Something about marriage has just always screamed adulthood to me more than any other thing, and I think this is why- by promising to love honor protect and serve this other person? You are promising to stop relying on your parents when you are in a fix and start relying on each other. I realize this isn't the case for all (or let's be honest these days even most) couples but it is my solemn intention to not get married until I am in fact a reliable financially responsible mature adult. Sure when I was 13 I thought I would totally be there by 26.... yea about that... A for effort anyone? Regardless of my ability to fully grasp my adulthood, many of my beautiful, smart, and lovable friends have met their matches and are planning their walks down the aisle. Which means for me lots of planning and attending showers. Lucky for me I had my party planning partner in crime, Ms. Tori decore specialist extraordinaire, to help with this first venture into "Adult" party planning.

This is why I love Tori, because when either of us says the word party the first thing that pops into my head is food and accompanying beverage, and hers starts thinking about table-scapes. Can you say match made in heaven? And so went Sarah's shower. My mind went instantly to brunch, balancing the savory and the sweet components and concocting a unique sparkling beverage, Tori began scanning her Evite options and rental wares. This event was definitely our manifesto to date. Seating and food for 10, beautiful cookie favors prepared by Tori's mom, fun games, and copious cocktails culminated in a sun shine and smile filled afternoon not soon to be forgotten!

The Menu

Elderflower Liquor & Lime Proseco Cocktails
Small Bites:
Baked Prosciutto cups with Goat Cheese, Arugula, & Fig

Fresh Fruit Skewers with Honey Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Bacon, Gruyere, & Caramelized Onion Quiche

Dutch "Baby" Pancake with Raspberry Compote

Orzo Salad with Marinated Artichoke Heart dressing, Cherry Tomatoes, & Feta

Apricot Lemon Cream Scones with Honey Butter
Cheesecake Tropical Fruit Tart

Recipe (courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine, via Epicurious, with a few of my own modifications)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup lemon curd

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup lemon curd
8-10 strawberries tops removed & sliced, leaving one
2 kiwis, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds whole for the center
1 large ripe mango, halved, pitted, peeled, sliced
(any seasonal, sliceable fruit can be substituted)

For crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 2 tablespoons ice water and egg yolk in small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and blend just until soft moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour. (Having nice chucks of cold butter is what makes your crust nice and flaky so it is important not to overwork the dough at any stage of the preparation)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13- to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press in overhang, forming double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 30 minutes. Bake until golden brown, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles or slips, about 30 minutes. I found that it did bubble quite a bit, when I have made pastry crusts previously the instructions usually direct you to cover with foil and weigh the pastry down with beans or pie weights to eliminate this issue. I'm not sure why this recipe didn't call for that, I gave it a try without but next time I will probably weight the crust to free myself up to work on other tasks instead of having to constantly watch it. Transfer crust to rack. Spread lemon curd over bottom of crust and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, then vanilla. Add sour cream and beat just to blend.
Pour filling into tart crust. Bake until filling is slightly puffed and center moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

For topping:
Spread a thin layer of the lemon curd over the top of the chilled baked tart. beginning on the outer edge layer the thinly sliced fruit in concentric circles till you reach the center. Try to serve within 30 minutes or so after placing the fruit, I did find that a lot of juices from the fruit began collecting on the top the longer it sat. Some is nice, a lot muddles up the presentation.

Voila! Aren't you impressive! You have created not only a tasty treat but a beautiful work of art as well. I was actually shocked when I made this myself how easy I found it to be. My only fauxpas was that I had decided somewhere in making my cooking schedule that it had to be completed in the morning only to re read the directions at 10 pm after finishing the rest of my prep and realized I in fact had to bake it the night before and only dress it in the morning! Thankfully my parents whose kitchen and patio I was borrowing were understanding of my banging around the kitchen till 12 pm!

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