Tuesday, May 04, 2010
1-2-3 You have dessert!
In the professional kitchen, we have little tricks to keep our desserts fresh and new....and easy if possible. One of my favorite little "workhorse" recipes is called a "1-2-3 dough." It's a basic sweet crust dough that can be used in dozens of ways--tart crust, sugar cookies, pie bars...the list goes on and on.
I keep a lump of this in the freezer for those moments when I need a quick dessert for company or when I'm lucky enough to have some fresh fruit that's begging to be turned into a tart.
First, the recipe for the dough-in it's original form it makes a large amount of dough-which you may wish to have because you can separate it into blocks for the freezer but I will also give you the half-batch version too.
YOU NEED YOUR KITCHEN SCALE FOR THIS.
2# butter, softened and diced (NOT MARGARINE!!! UGH)
3# CAKE flour
vanilla or almond extract
See where it gets it's name? So the half batch is
1/2 # sugar
1 whole egg,1 white (save the yolk in the freezer)
1 1/2# CAKE flour
Not as easy to call it a "half one one and a half dough" ....sorry, I'm a dork.
Anyways, simply cream the butter and sugar together until totally mixed together. Add the eggs and extract to the bowl and let fully incorporate. Add the flour slowly enough to keep it from flying all over the kitchen. Dough.
I like making sugar cookies from this dough because the cake flour ensures that you can roll this dough out over and over without having a tough, dense dough.
Ok, now, let's apply this dough to a recipe. How about a tart?
Preheat your oven to 350. Press this dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom that you have sprayed. (Freeze any remaining dough). Make the crust about a fourth of an inch thick. With a fork, DOCK the dough (this means poke holes in the dough at regular intervals around the bottom and sides) Docking the dough prevents the crust from bubbling and losing its shape due to the escaping steam.
Bake your crust for 15-20 minutes until it loses that shiney raw look and is SLIGHTLY golden. This dough doesn't get very golden when it is baked; it stays kind of pale.
While you are baking your crust, mix up a batch of vanilla instant pudding according to the pie recipe.
When the crust is cooled, remove it from the pan (you can leave the bottom on if you wish-I do). Pour in the vanilla pudding and level it out. Top with fresh fruit--good options for this include berries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, and grapes. Avoid fruits like bananas and apples which will discolor.
If you wish to make this tart look shiney and professional, you can seal it with a little bit of honey and water mixed together. Using a pastry brush, dab this mixture on the fruit. This will seal it.
You made a pretty fruit tart. Take a bow. Later, I'll show you have to make other goodies with this little baby. In the meantime, enjoy the accolades.