Friday, July 29, 2011
a tart to savor
Some words won't be translated. German words find themselves particularly difficult to render into English with all their subtlety and depth. My little German cousin, brilliant little five-year-old toehead that she was, once used a word that spoke volumes of a single pastry. She sat on a picnic blanket on the edge of a small Alpine lake, her spindly legs tucked neatly beneath her, a tart cradled reverently in her delicate hands and she made a pronouncement: "Ich würde sie natürlich richtig genießen." The rough translation is "Of course I will enjoy this properly."
It's that one word, genießen, that I silently repeat to myself when confronted with a singularly glorious treat; a reminder of that sweet girl so long ago who knew at such a tender age what it meant to be in the presence of a beautifully made confection. "Enjoy" doesn't cut it. "Savor" is perhaps closer." "Revere" is probably on the mark but may seem a bit overwrought in reference to consuming a luscious trifle. Either way, it's meaning is plain when you're tucking into something worthy of such consideration. And that's just what I did today. I grabbed my sharpest knife and ran it under scalding water. I dried it quickly and sliced into my lovely tart with conviction And just before my fork made a mess of it, I said to my petite treat: "Ich würde sie natürlich richtig genießen."
Coconut, Caramel, Bittersweet Tart
This tart is made up of elements we've already visited here on this blog, simply reconsidered.
For instance, the crust is my coconut macaroon batter gently wrangled and pressed into a rectangular tart form. The only change is I halve the recipe and I make sure to generously spray the tart form with non-stick cooking spray. Bake the crust at 350º for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the top of the shell with a piece of parchment and fill with pie weights, pressing down gently. Bake for 20 minutes more or until the shell is deep golden brown. While the shell is still warm, remove it from the tart form and bake for 10 minutes more (this is important, to remove the tart while warm because it really starts to stick to the metal form as it cools). Set aside and allow to cool completely.
The filling is caramel studded with toasted pecans. I use the caramel sauce version from the blog post but I also take more care with the details. I use 1 cup of sugar, 2 drops of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/3 cup of water and melt the sugar over low heat. I raise the heat to high once the sugar has melted and allow the caramel to become a medium amber and I make sure to cook the caramel to 245º and then add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of cream. Allow the caramel to cool slightly.
Pour the caramel into the prepared coconut shell and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of toasted pecans that have been roughly chopped.
Coat the top with an even layer of ganache. I halve this recipe and pour over the top of the tart when the ganache is still very viscous and warm. Allow the ganache to set completely and then dust the top with cocoa powder.