Mary Jayne Wilson of Charlotte’s popular Amelie’s French Bakery shares one of her top secret recipes, mixed berry tarts, with our readers complete with the pâte sucrée method for absolutely perfect tart shells.
8 oz (2 sticks) butter
6 oz granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
16 oz all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1.2 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla
Sift flour and set aside. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Don’t forget to stop and scrape! Beat for approximately 8 minutes. Add the egg and yolk one at a time, and beat well between additions. Stop and scrape the sides one more time, then blast that mixer for a good minute.
Stop the mixer and add the flour, salt, cream and vanilla. Mix on low until the dough comes together. Finish mixing by hand with a large rubber spatula. Divide the dough into two flat disks. Double plastic wrap the disks tightly and chill for at least two hours (if you make a lot, you can freeze dough for future tarts). Feel free to make this the day before. What you should have to work with is a thick dough that is easy to get a knife through. One hour before baking, roll out the dough on a heavily floured surface, until it is just shy of 1/4-inch thick. Roll the dough back onto the rolling pin, then gently roll it out over the tart pan. Press the dough into the pan to shape it then cut off the excess, leaving 1/4-inch of overhang. Chill for one hour.
Remove the tart from the refrigerator, take a fork and press the prongs into the shell a few times before baking. This is called docking the dough. We do this to keep the dough from puffing up too much, which allows us to put more filling in.
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 325°F (350 in non convection). Remove the tart shell from the fridge, trim the overhang off of the edge of the tart, patch any thin parts or cracks with excess dough. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate and then bake an additional 5-6 minutes until light golden brown.
Now you should have your tart shell and can move on to your filling.
ALMOND CREAM INGREDIENTS:
125 g unsalted butter at room temp (approx 8.45 tbsp)
2 eggs – room temp
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond extract (if desired)
With the filling, simply place all of ingredients in a bowl and mix till fluffy.
Heat 1/2 cup apricot jam with 2 tablespoons warm water. Stir until jam melts and becomes thinner. Pass through a medium sieve (or if you prefer, a mesh strainer).
Preheat oven to 325°F (350 in non convection). Put almond cream in a pastry bag with an open tip. Pipe almond cream in the shell, all the way to the top. Add berries (3 berries work for a 4 in tart pan). Bake 15 minutes, rotate, then bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the tops are a dark golden brown.
Remove from the oven and once tarts cool, lightly brush the apricot glaze on top of the tarts. This will give them a beautiful finished look. Then, simply cut and serve to your guests.
For a bit more info, visit www.ameliesfrenchbakery.com.