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.

Blackberry Apple Galette

In our hyper trendy social media world, I see that most bloggers and consumers alike are making blueberry tarts and such. But here in NY blueberries have yet to peak, they are still tart and slightly bitter. If I were desperate I would have to completely douse them in sugar in order to use them in a dessert preparation. Lucky for us New Yorkers, Blackberries are peaking right now and totally perfect for all your berry cravings.

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For the dough:

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

1/3 Cup (50 g)  Confectioners sugar

1 each               Egg

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

1 cup (125 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.

Blackberry/Apple Filling:

3              Mealy  Apples (Sliced 1/8 in thin, I used a mandolin)

1(114g)   Stick of Butter

1 tsp        Cinnamon

1 pint     Blackberries, halved (We’re saving these for just before baking.)

-On Medium heat melt the butter.

-Lightly Sauté Apples to coat.

-Remove from heat.

-Stir in Cinnamon. Allow to mixture to cool.

Tip: I made each recipe, then assembled the galette the next day.

Assembly:

-Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 9″ round.

-Carefully transfer to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

-Mound apple filling in center of dough, leaving a 2″ border.

-Fold edges over, overlapping slightly.

-Lightly cover the Galette with plastic wrap.

-Put Galette in the refrigerator or freezer depending on whether you will bake it the same day or not.

 

Bake:

-Preheat oven to 350 F

-Brush dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar in the raw.

I find the sugar in the raw is accessible to everyone and has larger crystals than granulated, which helps for that decadent crust we are looking for.

-Top the Galette with halved Blackberries

-Bake galette until crust is dark golden brown and filling is bubbling

-About 45–50 minutes. Let cool before serving. If possible!

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You’ll notice I only add sugar to the dough. I find the dough is the only component that needs the sweetness. I would only make this tart when the fruit is perfectly ripe and in season. When these items are out of season there are so many other pastry options that can fill this void until berry season is upon us again. Adding ice cream is always an option, but honestly the blackberries are just perfect. I didn’t need or want anything else.

Apple Cake

As unimpressive as this cake may seem, it was almost revolutionary to me. Typically when I find that I have older apples, which are on the mealy side I end up sautéing them for a quick dessert.

I was thumbing through an Italian based Phaidon Cartoon Cookbook called Chop Sizzle Wow, I came across this recipe and really loved it. (As did the thousands of fruit flies who were able to try it as a result of leaving it out over night, don’t do that.)

1 3/4 Cups AP Flour

3/4 Cups Sugar

3/4 Stick of Butter  (Room temp, try and remember to leave it out before scaling the rest of your ingredients.)

3 Apples, Cored and Roughly diced

2 Eggs at Room Temperature

Whipped Cream for serving, (I doused mine is Powdered sugar)

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease an 8 inch Cake pan and throw it in the freezer.

Peel and core your apples, dice them according to your preference.

Whisk the eggs and sugars until pale and fluffy, just thick enough to hold a ribbon when you stir it. (About 10-12 min)

Whisk in butter, make sure it is smooth. (Recipe in the book says its okay if it looks lumpy. I would say that shouldn’t be the case if your butter was actually room temp. You should be able to press your thumb into it easily.)

Add flour in 2 parts alternating with the apples.

Transfer to the pan, try and spread the cake batter evenly into it.

Bake for about 40 minutes, let cool for about 15. Turn out onto a cooling rack. After that its all up to you to decide how long you’ll wait before you try it.

Enjoy!

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A visit at Channing Daughters

Channing Daughters

I first heard of Channing Daughters Winery a few months back when I was looking into wineries who were leaning towards sustainable, organic and biodynamicpractices out in Long Island, NY. Channing Daughters continued to sequentially pop into my life, either via wine lists at various restaurants, wine stores, and finally podcasts.

Long Island is slowly transitioning into organic practices with their first certified organic wine produced last year (June 2017.) A few farmers produce a small quantity of organic and biodynamic wine that isn’t really distributed out to the city. But there are a handful of certified sustainable wineries, which possibly is a step in the right direction. Sustainable/organic foods overall can be a hot button issue and I try not to lean 100% towards one way or another. I simply don’t want to drink something chock full of chemicals that vineyard predators wouldn’t even touch.

A few weekends ago (with hesitation), I convinced my Aunt who has lived in Long Island for over 30 years to try a new winery. She has been fortunate enough to watch the Long Island wine community grow into what it is today but has her tired and true favorite wineries. Last summer I convinced her to visit a winery which has been around for many years. Long story short, we were not impressed. Mainly because we had less of a hospitable experience than we would at one of the wineries we frequently visit. This year I was reluctant to suggest a visit to a new winery after my attempt to get my family to try something a new spot last year.

ChanningDaughtersPeekaBooGood thing I tried again!

Channing Daughters blew us away. Beyond having extraordinary wines and vermouth (more on that later), the staff was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, and most importantly friendly. Anthony their wine attendant had a lot to do with our experience.

 

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Baby Grapes, July 2017

We ran through a tasting of only a few of their extensive production of wines. I’ve never seen so many grape varieties at one winery, currently growing over 20. From classics like Chardonnay and Merlot to Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Blaufränkisch.

Everything we tried was perfectly balanced, there were a few standouts!

DSC074982014 Meditazione skin contact white. 36% Pinot Grigio, 21% Muscat Ottonel, 14% Chardonnay, 13% Tocai Friulano, 7% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Pinot Bianco and 4% Gewurztraminer. Fragrant overripe peach, nectarine, lychee, bitter orange peel, boxed raisins.

First time my Aunt ever tried a skin contact white! This wine is not what I would call a beginners “orange” wine, although it is indeed orange. The grape varieties themselves scream obscurity. Not something I think my Aunt would find palatable, but somehow this blend was gorgeous. She loved it so much she brought a bottle home to my Uncle. Which is a monumental move for my family!

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2014 Blaufrankish. 75% Blaufrankisch and 25% Dornfelder. Black fruits, game, high acid, tar, mild tannins. 

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2016 Petit Verdot. 100% Petit Verdot. High acid/tannin tomato skins, rose, forest floor blackberry.

 

DSC075162017 Rosso Fresco. 76% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 8% Blaufrankisch, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Teroldego. Super crushable, light cherries juicy not super complex, simply delicious.

 

ChanningDaughtersVervinoVermouthVervino Vermouth

I had no idea Channing Daughters made vermouth before our visit. They had a few variations based on six growing seasons out in the island, with botanicals all grown locally. Flavor profiles ranging from jalapeños to plum. My favorite was Variation 5 (their late summer white), made with musk melon, peaches, flowering basil, flowering dill, lemon balm, papalo, lemon verbena. Which was fermented dry and reminded me of Sherry.

I loved every moment at Channing Daughters, and can’t wait to go back!

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