This time, let's just blame it on Stravinsky.
As far as I can remember ever since Jennifer announced her plans for the first Sugar High Fridays event last September (sneaking her plans on me while I was away in Paris) it seems I keep finding myself scrambling around to prepare my entry post-haste.
Needless to say, it becomes a nerve-racking albeit hilarious endeavor, for a procrastinator such as I who ends up posting the entry right before polishing her nails, keys in hand, out the door with a taxi on the way and the performance--there is always some song and dance on Fridays, always!--about 25 minutes from curtain or worse, a few minutes before midnight.
So when I read that the amazing Clement was hosting SHF #5 and that the theme he had chosen was Puff Pastry: Hundreds & Hundreds of Layers I knew I had my work cut out for me.
It had nothing to do with the fact that we were supposed to use puff pastry for our project--I draw the line on homemade pâte feuilletée, leaving that wonder of flour and butter in the very capable hands of local pastry chefs, Pierre Hermé, DeLaurenti and Pepperidge Farm.
The real issue was time and inspiration. For this SHF, not only would I have to plan ahead but start my entry a day in advance because of critical time constraints and just in case the first recipe did not work out (if there is one thing I've learned about these foodie MEME's is the need to have a back-up plan).
A couple weeks ago, during my weekly reconnaissance visit to Williams Sonoma I found my muse! The cutest pink Apilco heart shaped plate you ever saw, complete with a gold rim that called my name and begged for me to take home.
I figured whatever I would bake had to fit the plate's dimensions and be color coordinated. Chocolate, I thought. What better contrast than these two colors together.
Later on, while browsing the shop's cookbook shelves, I found this lovely book on tarts that was opened (how fortuitous!) to page 129. There it was, the idea for my entry! A heart shaped rose flavored sweet tart covered in the most beautiful crystallized rose petals.
This was it! Love at first sight! A simple enough tart made out of yogurt, cream, eggs and sugar, flavored with rose water and decorated with one of my favorite flowers in one of my favorite colors.
It just could not be any more perfect. Now I had not only the inspiration but also a book, recipe and even the plate on which to serve myself a slice of this beauty.
Other than buying the roses everything else was already at hand so yesterday afternoon, on my way home from work I stopped to pick up the nicest pink rose $3.99 would buy. Ouch!
I had enough time to drive home, crystallize the petals, prepare the filling, cut and blind bake the shell and hopefully bake the tart before heading out to an Ozu double feature at the Forum.
I was done by 6pm. Within minutes I brushed the sugar off my shirt, put some gloss on --pink, of course!--and left for the movies. By the time I returned home, it was almost midnight, the tart was set and ready for me to cut a slice to sample.
Earlier this afternoon, I used the dry candied petals to top the tart, took my photos in the gorgeous daylight we enjoyed in Seattle today and rushed, with about 25 minutes to curtain, yet again, to McCaw Hall (fabulous mixed rep btw!)
This was no professional effort by any means. The pastry was store bought, the final color was uneven and so was the puff factor.
In fact, I intend to repeat the process tomorrow or the following day (petals and all), tweaking the pastry baking method around a bit (pie weights this time for the blind baking) using the Plan B recipe (chocolate & rose) I had in mind just in case this one did not work out.
I have to say however, that in the final analysis, this rosy tart was still so pretty to look at that even though it was not cookbook picture perfect, it was delicate, tasty and gorgeous enough for me. And look at that cute little plate!
- 1 Puff Pastry sheet
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (I used Nancy's)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Rose Water
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- About 35 candied rose petals
- 1 extra yolk and 2 tablespoons heavy cream (to glaze pastry edges)
Crystallize the rose petals a day ahead as they must dry, at room temperature, for about 24 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 400F and blind bake your puff pastry shell wether free form or using a tart pan. Once shell is done baking, set aside.
Lower oven temperature to 350F. Place yogurt, 1/4 of the cream, egg, rose water and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Put remaining cream into bowl of Kitchen Aid and beat using the balloon whisk attachment until soft peaks start to form.
Fold in whipped cream with the yogurt mixture and spoon into baked puff pastry shell, leveling the surface. Brush the uncovered pastry edges with the egg and cream mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes. The mixture will seem runny to the eye and touch but it will firm up once it cools. Cover and chill. Decorate with petals. Serve slightly cold.
*For this tart, I crystallized all the petals (35) of one average sized rose. Because of the delicate nature of the petals I used an old Kolinsky sable brush (originally for eye shadow application) that I keep around for this purpose.
**For the tart shell I followed the instruction for forming puff pastry tart shells on page 208 of Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts. It is a free form tart shell baked blind in a Silpat lined half-sheet.
Suggested beverage pairings:
Mariage Frères-Thé Blanc & Rose
Betjeman & Barton Eden Rose Tea
2002 Ochoa Vino Dulce De Moscatel