It’s not my birthday, but likely it’s yours. At least it seems that way. My May birthday count is somewhere around 5 people for the first week. I have two birthday dinners this weekend – I’m contributing food to both. Oh, and I’m not multi-tasking. I’m making separate items.
But, right now, I am relaxed verging on restless. I’m sitting back and admiring my tart. I’ve been catching up on my radio shows. Have I ever mentioned my love of public radio? Work keeps interfering with my weekend show listening rituals — which doesn’t make me happy — so I’ve had to switch to podcasts.
Did I mention that this post could be very different? I could be frantic, cursing my unbaked tart. Could be, but am not because — for the very first time in my entire life — I turned in work before deadline. I set a separate, earlier deadline and met it. I love job postings that turn being deadline driven into a positive.
I’d like to repeat this phrase for it is this weeks true topic — for the very first time I am ahead in my projects. So ahead that my final class project was turned in a week early and I am done, free to enjoy my weekend because my weekend plans do not include working. (Pause for cheering.)
A couple of months ago the newspaper changed their Sunday comics. I frowned down at them for ruining my morning ritual. Ruined! I could have raised my fists in mock anger if they hadn’t been in the shape of a coffee mug resulting from a 12 year morning coffee habit. Then my roommate came out of her room and went to the kitchen for her own morning coffee habit…same mug, same amount, made the same way.
“The comics are different,” I informed her while still frowning. Which may not have been the nicest greeting.
“Of course you don’t like it,” Beth said. “You don’t like change.”
“Neither do I,” she said and retreated back into her room, as usual.
The world around me shouldn’t change and neither should me. I am an habitual procrastinator and stubborn to boot and typically decry anything new before accepting it. Some things should never be accepted — like texting. Normally, I’m the person frantically working minutes before an assignment is due, glugging coffee, maniacally jumping around. I could be this way right now — my blog readers could have gotten a post about grilled cheese. This is the greatest weekend ever.
With all this free time, I searched out tart recipes and found some NPR blog and radio postings that really put the cherry on top. The mascarpone filling comes from Perfection in a Fruit Tart by Betsy Block and she gave credit to a recipe found in The Gourmet Cookbook. And did you notice the pretty fluted edges? Yup, I had time to compare prices and buy a tart pan. Oh and I also learned how to make paper snowflakes. I did a few other things too, but I don’t want to brag.
Maybe, I could have also attempted the more time-consuming custard base that makes up most tarts, but mascarpone sounded too good. I looked at a lot of tart crust recipes and nearly all called for egg which was left out because I didn’t have any. (This has got me wondering if a purist calls a tart a tart because of its shape or the ingredients.) I’ve decided that I really like a flavored crust. I started to include ground nuts, but decided to stay simple with a partial whole wheat. Which also allowed me to use up the unlabeled bulk bags that might have contained whole wheat pastry flour, but probably didn’t.
And finally — Happy Birthday to all!
Fruit Tart with Mascarpone
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
Combine flours and sugar. Cut in butter. A note on the butter – this is a guesstimate. I had about 7 tablespoons to use and figure there was about 1 tablespoon left. Mix in water 1 tablespoon at a time adding in just enough so that the dough forms together. Gather into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about one hour. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Using rolling pin transfer to tart pan. Press gently around the edges. Then roll the rolling pin around the top to trim the edges. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Place a sheet of foil filled with pie weights (dried beans, rice…) in the tart. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
Filling and Topping:
8 ounces mascarpone
⅓ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
2 mangoes, sliced
2 kiwis, sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons fig preserves, warmed
Cream mascarpone, cream and sugar. Spread and fill tart shell with cheese. Arrange fruit decoratively over top of tart. Brush or spoon warmed preserves over top.
Chill until ready to eat.