September 22, 2010
My post today has a decidedly red theme, beginning with a trip to historic downtown Branson, MO, where I bought a checkered red apron, a speckled red ladle, and fresh red raspberries.
My parents visited us last week, they live out of the country and only get to visit every few years. Consequently, I'm always trying to think of fun things we can do when they visit, but it always ends up with each of us staring at the other saying, "What do you want to do?" Then the other replies, "I don't know, what do YOU want to do?" Then we sit around trying to decide what to do until we've wasted half our day. I come from a long line of Indecisionators. Indecisionator: A person who, lacking the ability to make a decision in a reasonable amount of time, brings about the destruction of order in the day, thus creating chaos.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when my dad has a clear plan of wanting to go Branson, eat at "that little place that has the good pies", and "go to that shoe store". Obviously we have done this enough that I am able to decipher his vague references, and we hop in the car for the trip. Note: I only live 30 minutes from Branson, MO.
Upon finding a parking space in the historic downtown area of Branson, we head to "the place with the good pies", also known as the Farmhouse Restaurant. Here, you can order good, homestyle southern food; chicken fried steak, fried chicken, sandwiches, blackberry cobbler, pies, fresh lemonade and sweet tea, etc. After lunch we head over to Dick's Five & Dime, an old fashioned five and dime store with an eclectic mix of odds and ends.
I picked up this super cute enamel wear ladle.
I ended the day buying some fresh raspberries since they were on sale really cheap. I've had an idea floating around in my head for a raspberry dessert for a while, and decided this was a good time to play around with it. So these little berries were turned into Spiced Raspberry Curd, which I then turned into Spiced Raspberry & White Chocolate Truffle Tarts. I added a little cinnamon and allspice to the curd, which gave just a tiny bit of spice, but you can always add more if you want more of a spiced flavor. The first tart I ate was chilled in the refrigerator, and I froze the second one. They both turned out delicious and will be on my make again list :)
Spiced Raspberry & White Chocolate Truffle Tarts
10 oz raspberries
3 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
White Chocolate Truffle Filling
(adapted from Epicurious)
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter
16 oz good quality white chocolate chips
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 Tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
1 large egg yolk
White Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
remaining white chocolate truffle filling
For the Curd: Set aside six raspberries. Combine the rest of the raspberries and lemon/lime juice in a blender, cover and process until smooth. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove seeds. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce to low; add the raspberry puree, sugar, eggs and spices. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and thickened, and reads 160F. Remove from heat. Press plastic wrap over the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
For the Truffle: Bring one cup of cream and butter to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and stir until smooth. This may take a few minutes. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the white chocolate filling into a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled. Let the remaining white chocolate mixture cool to room temperature for about 15 minutes.
For the Whipped Cream: In the bowl of an electric mixture, pour the remaining 1 cup of cream and beat until soft peaks form. Pour in about half of the lukewarm white chocolate mixture; continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate. Pour the remaining white chocolate mixture into a resealable bag; cut the tip off the corner of the bag, and use the filled bag to pipe filling into the raspberries. Take the 6 berries you set aside earlier, and pipe the white chocolate filling into the center of the berries. Place the berries in the freezer until set up.
For the Tart Shells: Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl or a food processor. Stir or pulse to mix. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour and cut in with a fork, or use your fingers until you have coarse crumbs; if using a food processor then pulse until coarse crumbs form. You should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and some the size of peas. Stir the egg yolk to break it up, then add it to the flour mixture and pulse in 10 second intervals until clumps form.
Turn the dough onto a work surface, and very lightly knead just until any dry pieces are incorporated. Butter 6 small tart pans, and using your fingers press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Freeze the crusts for at least 30 minutes before baking. Center a rack in a 375F oven. Butter the shiny side of 6 pieces of foil, big enough to cover each tart shell. Fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly over each tart crust. Put the tarts on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and gently remove the pieces of foil. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to push down any areas that have puffed up. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the crusts have cooled, remove from the pans, and pour some of the chilled white chocolate filling into the bottom of each tart crust. Enough to fill the crust about 1/3 full. Place the tarts in the freezer to let the filling harden. Once the filling is firm to the touch, spoon enough of the chilled raspberry curd into the shells to fill them up. Top with a little of the white chocolate whipped cream, and garnish with a white chocolate filled raspberry. Serve and enjoy! These are also delicious served frozen.
(raspberry curd adapted from Taste of Home)