Forest Berry Tart

For just over a year, I have put being a “Chef” on the back burner in order to focus on my service education and wine studies. I can remember being much younger with my parents at a wine tasting. I also remember thinking that group of adults were crazy, there was no way you could pick up such complex flavors such as tobacco, mixed berries. Many years have passed since then, and I have completely fallen in love with the world of wine. I am trying my best to dive deep into my studies. As well as frequently tasting and trying to pick up minute complexities in wines that may not be overtly expressive.

During peak Berry Season, you can pick up almost all berries at Union Square Green Market in New York City. I wanted to make sure to familiarize myself with their scents and flavor profiles. Without a real plan for what to make with them, I threw them into yogurt, mixed drinks, and in sparkling water.

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Forest Berry Tart

As a final hurrah, I decided to throw together a Forest Berry Tart. Which is simply a Chocolate Tart Shell, with Sweetened Chantilly topped with all the berries. Below is the recipe I used for the tart shell, it is classic Chocolate Sable recipe.

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Tart Dough:

3 Tbsp (50 g)   Butter, Room Temp (Soft but not melting)

1/2 cup (75 g)  Confectioners sugar

1 each               Egg

1 pinch             Salt (If using salted butter, salt may be omitted.)

1/3 cup (45 g)  Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Dutch Processed

2/3 cup (80 g)   Flour, sifted

-Whisk the butter in a mixing bowl until soft and creamy.

-Add the confectioners sugar.

-Whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Combine the egg and the salt and whisk into the mixture.

-Whisk in the flour.

-Turn out the dough onto a sanitized work surface and finish combining the ingredients, using your hand and a pastry scraper, until you have a smooth dough.

-Shape into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hrs.

Tip: Double the recipe and save half the dough in the freezer for a rainy baking day.

Adapted from French Patisserie: Master Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts 

I purchased the linked book above, and want to  make as many recipes from it as I can. I think its interesting to make and compare then with the standard recipes that I have been using for years.

Pan Bangin’ Cookies

I decided to part ways with a restaurant a few years ago when I  got it in my head that I did not want to spend another year of my life scooping cookies. Fortunately my next post did not have any involvement with cookies. It was the job that pushed me beyond the fundamentals and rarely did I have to make cookies and if I did they were far from your classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.

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I have made thousands of cookies since then, its almost incredible to type the word thousands but it is in fact true. I understand volume and the practicality of producing cookies in a commissary kitchen vs at home. With that being said, when I read a recipe that feels impractical for the productive culinarian or at home cook. I’ll adjust automatically so it frankly melds well with my style of cooking and hope it works.

When I saw Giant Crinkled Cookies consistently throughout my instagram feed. I obviously had to make them. They reminded me almost of the giant Toll House cookies I used to make in elementary school. I would never refrigerate the dough and they would spread like hot cakes.

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The idea of banging a pan against the oven rack is not a new one. I used to do it at the aforementioned pastry cook position, as well as various other positions when the cookie dough needs just a little help. Sarah Kieffers Crinkle Cookies are an extreme version of this tactic.

I followed her instructions for the most part but rather than scooping a fraction of the dough at a time I let the dough sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes then scooped them. Baked off a few for immediate consumption the baked the rest off at my leisure. DSC04041

Overall pretty good, but it wouldn’t be the recipe but not my all time favorite.

Below is a cut and copied recipe from Sarahs Blog. You should definitely check out, even just for food porns sake.

Makes 10 cookies.

2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups (297 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 g) packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces averaging ½ inch with some
smaller and some larger

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil, dull side up.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and water and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter.

Form the dough into 3½-ounce (100g) balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.

Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4 inches and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down (this will feel wrong, but trust me). After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

NOTES: These cookies are rather large, but to get the edges to spread out and crinkle, they need to be on the big side. If you want to make the cookies smaller, you won’t get as many ridges on the outer layer, and your center won’t be quite as gooey. They will still be delicious, but not quite what I intended for you.

If you skip freezing the cookies, they will spread too much on the pan and will not form the crinkly outer layer.

Chocolate chips are not a good substitution for the chopped chocolate; the cookies will not turn out the same with chips. If you do still want to use chocolate chips, you will need to use 8 ounces chips and make the cookies 2½ ounces big.

Using the dull side of aluminum foil to bake these cookies is a little trick I learned after hearing Alice Medrich speak. The foil helps make for an extra-crisp, golden brown bottom. Parchment paper can also be used with good results.

The cookies are delicious warm, but I’ve found I love them a couple of days later just as much. I usually store them in the fridge and sneak pieces of them cold.

Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Sarah Kieffer, 2016.