Eight Mile Pretty Woman

Monday is the long run day.  As if the start of a new week isn’t punishment enough we do at least 8 miles on Mondays.  Go figure.  Yesterday the Stat Man and I did our standard 8.3 mile loop.  His legs were sore and I needed to take a dump.  I remind you it was Monday.  That’s what Mondays do to you.

In exchange for 8.3 miles we made strawberry tartelette’s with lemon curd filling.  Yes this is a tribute to Pretty Woman, I’m taking you from Champagne to strawberries.  Go get the dental floss then start with basic pie and tart pastry dough.  This is how we do it[1]:

Basic Pie and Tart Pastry Dough (James Peterson, Baking)

2 Cups flour

½ tsp salt

¾ Cup butter

7 Tbsp water, or heavy cream, or 2 eggs lightly beaten

2 Tbsp extra liquid if dough is too dry or 1 egg white

Mix together flour and salt, then add butter (cut in ½ in cubes).  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (a fork works if you don’t have a cutter) until pieces of butter are no larger than hazelnuts but no smaller than peas.  Add your choice of liquid and cut until there is no flour left to incorporate.  The dough should resemble gravel—yum.  If the dough is too dry and looks like fresh grated Parmesan cheese, add the extra liquid.  Knead the dough just enough so it all comes together, and shape it into a log.  There you have your dough.

A quick aside about the choice of liquid.  Different liquid will give you different results.  My personal favorite is heavy cream.  Shocker.  Cream gives the dough a soft delicate consistency.  On the other hand, if you are looking for a crisp and flakier consistency go with water.  Finally, eggs make for a slightly more elastic crust, which the Stat Man thought held together the best once chomped into.

Next, brush tartelette pans with melted butter.  If the Stat Man didn’t buy you tartelette pans in Philly you can always use a muffin tin.  That is precisely what I did until the Stat Man and Italian market united in my tartelette-pan-favor.  Cut round disks (maybe ¾ of an inch thick) from the log.  Roll out the disks until each is large enough to cover a tartelette pan.  Press the dough into the pan along the sides and bottom, and cut the excess off of the top.  Line all of your doughed-up tartelette pans with either a pan of the same shape that is not being used, or a piece of parchment paper and handful of dried beans.  This will keep the pastry dough from rising out of place and maintain the inner shape of your crust.

Bake the crusts for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes remove the parchment paper and beans, and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the inside of the tartelette crusts.

Lemon Curd (James Peterson, Baking)

2 eggs

½ Cup sugar

1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

1/3 Cup lemon juice

4 Tbsp butter (optional!)

Next is the lemon curd.  In a heat proof bowl, wisk together eggs, sugar, zest, and lemon juice until pale yellow.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and gently wisk.  If you are adding butter, wisk in the butter as the mix warms.  Continue to wisk the mix over heat until it thickens, taking care not to let it boil.  Once the mixture thickens remove it from the heat and voila, lemon curd.

A note about butter.  It is not necessary to add butter.  The mixture will thicken with or without butter.  Generally butter is used to soften the acidity of the curd.  It gives the curd a more custard like finish.

The final step is assembling the tartelette.  Once the crusts and curd have cooled, use a spoon or pastry bag to fill the crust with lemon curd.  Next top with your choice of fresh fruit.  Then put it in my belly, yo.

[1] “This is how we do it / All hands are in the air / and wave them from here to there / If you’re an O.G. mack or wanna-be player / You see the hood’s been good to me / Ever since I was a lower-case G…”


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