Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart



My friends seem to be getting a wee bit spoiled.

Case in point: last weekend was a combined birthday bash for Richard and some of the folks in his family who have birthdays in May and June.  My line of thought on this party was "Oh, perfect! I'll make cupcakes of some sort to bring, which will be nice because I haven't made cupcakes in quite a while."  Perfectly reasonable, no?  So, I asked Richard what kind of cupcakes he would like for his birthday.  This is what he says to me:
"No, I don't want cupcakes.  I want a tart."
Wait wait wait--back up--come again?!  Now, you all must understand something about Richard.  He's not a food enthusiast like I am.  Not in the slightest.  This is the guy who, when I met him years ago, would have been perfectly content eating the same turkey-cheese-iceberg lettuce-mustard sandwich for lunch every single day for years on end.  People who meet us nowadays are constantly scratching their heads about how we're together, since Richard feels as dispassionate about food as I feel passionate about it.  Over the years, I've managed to train him well on certain things--for instance, he now has a fine appreciation for well-made tapioca tea or fresh, finely-rolled, raw-fish-incorporated sushi.  But he often still snubs his nose at my culinary... er... creations.  So, imagine my incredible surprise upon discovering that I'd actually trained and spoiled him far more than I had even thought, Mr. "I Want a Tart and not Cupcakes for my Birthday."


So once his choice of desserts was settled, I set about working on designing a tart worthy of a closeted dessert connoisseur's birthday.  And there's possibly no food item Richard loves more than strawberries.  I've never seen anyone inhale the same vast amounts of the fruit like he does.  Hence, I knew it had to be a strawberry tart.  Because there would be so much strawberry-age involved, I wanted to darken up the rest of the flavors more and to develop a robust earthiness to the layers underneath the sweet summery berries, so I went for a strawberry, rosemary-caramel, and buckwheat tart.


The tart has a base of buckwheat pastry--slightly nutty and sweet from the buckwheat but with a darker tang than with a regular, white flour crust.  The pastry is coated with a light layer of rosemary caramel that is just salty enough to cancel out the sweetness, and the rosemary offers a hint of brightness and uniqueness to the strawberries on top.  (The rosemary isn't overpowering at all.)  The strawberries sit on a bed of simple vanilla pastry cream and are brushed with a generous amount of freshly-reduced strawberry syrup, basically packing double the amount of strawberry flavor into a single fruit layer.  With patience, you can slice the strawberries and arrange them around the tart, or, go for the rustic look by plopping entire tiny whole strawberries on top.


Richard's a man of few words (yet another big difference between us, since I'm prone to blathering on and on and on), but given that he pretty much polished off the entirety of the two tarts that I made on his own, I'd say that this was a fair success.  Next year, though, he's getting cupcakes....


Read on for recipe....



Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart
makes one 9" round tart

for tart crust:
100 gr buckwheat flour
160 gr AP flour
50 gr sugar
7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut in pieces
1 egg yolk
3-4 Tbspn cold water

1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the buckwheat and AP flours and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer/refrigerator for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and the parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for rosemary-caramel:
100 gr sugar
~2 heaping Tbspn fresh rosemary leaves (~1 1/2 large sprigs of rosemary)
3 Tbspn butter
1/2 tspn coarse salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Have all ingredients pre-measured and ready next to the stove.
2. In a small, light-colored saucepan, wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 - 1 1/2 Tbspn water). Add the rosemary leaves.
3. Cook the sugar and rosemary on medium heat. Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling--swirl the pan around gently to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color, right before it is about to burn. Immediately add the butter and salt and whisk thoroughly. Be careful--this will sputter!
4. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
5. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly. Stir in the lemon juice. Let cool briefly, and spread a thin layer onto the bottom of the tart crust. Save any extra caramel for other uses. Let the caramel cool to set.

for cream:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
150 gr sugar
2 Tbspn AP flour
1 tspn vanilla extract

1. Bring the milk and cream to just a simmer.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Whisk in the flour.
3. Using the simmering milk, temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot liquid at a time, whisking constantly.
4. Return the milk and egg mixture to heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan until the mixture thickens and can thickly coat the back of a spoon.
5. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
6. Let cool. Once cool, pour on top of the caramel in the tart crust and smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.

for strawberry syrup and final assembly:
12 oz. (~285 gr) frozen strawberries, thawed with juices
1 tspn (~5 gr) lemon juice
1-2 Tbspn sugar, to taste
fresh strawberries, sliced or whole

1. Extract all the juice from the frozen strawberries by pressing them through a fine mesh strainer. You should have a little more than a 1/2 cup of juice. Set the pulp aside for other uses.
2. Boil the strawberry juice until it has reduced by more than a half (~3-4 Tbspn left).
3. Stir in the lemon juice and then stir in the sugar to taste. Let cool briefly.
4. Arrange the fresh strawberries on top of the prepared tart. Brush the strawberries with the slightly warm strawberry syrup.



Enjoy!

40 comments:

  1. Oh, this looks amazing! I'm so glad he decided to turn his nose up at cupcakes because that tart looks de-li-cious.

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  2. Gorgeous tart. I've never been a huge strawberry fan but for some reason I've totally fallen for them this summer. Rosemary caramel sounds pretty yum too. Lucky Richard!

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  3. This is an OMG tart! It looks absolutely yummie!!! Beautiful photography!

    That's it... I want to be your baker, photographer and styling ASSISTANT. When can I start??? :)

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  4. It looks unbelievably good. I think I will enjoy making this :)

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  5. This tart is gorgeous and sounds amazing, the rosemary caramel sounds over the top! I'd choose this over cupcakes for sure!

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  6. I'll take a dozen.

    Or at least a really big piece :)


    It looks amazing and the attention to detail of the layout of those strawberries...WOW. Food meets art!

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  7. Yum! I think I would have chosen the cupcakes...but this tart is definitely something special! Happy birthday Richard!

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  8. I love the idea of rosemary caramel, yum! And the arrangement of the strawberries in the tart is so pretty!

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  9. This is beautiful! I recently made a rhubarb crumble with rosemary in it. It was fantastic!

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  10. Holy cr*p. This is my kind of dessert, one that includes four sub-recipes, each of which is rife for further variation. The whole package sounds just fabulous, and the photography is phenomenal. I adore the dark background here; it makes everything pop in the best way. (Where did you get that spoon?!)

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  11. Thank you so much, everyone!

    @Zita: how soon can you get to California?

    @Jacqui: oooo, rhubarb crumble with rosemary sounds absolutely delicious. Must try that combination.

    @Beth: I got the spoon at a local antique fair--the guy tells me it's a rosewood handle.

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  12. O.M.G. Those photos are out of control. I love the combo of strawberries and buckwheat. Gorgeous, gorgeous.

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  13. what a beauty! came out of lurking to comment. my husband was a total food novice when we met, his diet relied heavily on fries and any sandwich like food (anything wrapped in a carb)! now he thinks he's some sort of connoisseur and is always making suggestions...bless his heart ;)

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  14. These pictures are stunning! I promised my husband I'd make him this tart today (or else I'd make yours) but I'll print yours for a later date: http://www.dishingthedivine.com/2011/05/30/strawberry-cream-cheese-tart/ Your photos are absolutely divine!

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  15. So smitten with the photos, as always. I love the savory sweet sound of this tart too. Rosemary-caramel & buckwheat. Yum!

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  16. Your pictures are gorgeous and the tart sounds amazing. Isn't it funny how people's palates develop when you give them options? My mom is a fantastic baker, but she only makes a few favorites and that's it. When I started baking I was (okay, still am) all over the board. One day I'll love cupcakes, the next pies will be the thing, then I'll decide I must make croissants from scratch, and all along my sisters and coworkers were the tasters. At first they hoovered whatever came out of the oven having only one critique: "More please". Now though the buggers know what they like and what they don't like and will wrinkle up their little noses if I made something they don't love. We have no one to blame but ourselves :D

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  17. Your photos are so amazingly gorgeous! And those strawberries look super yummy.

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  18. Oh, I could just dive right into that top photo. Stunning!!

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  19. I think this could be the start of a new trend. Birthday tarts! What a deliciously original combination. I love your creation here, and of course, your photos are amazing.

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  20. I really miss fresh rosemary, I would have never thought to use soba for the crust, I wonder if I can toss over some yogurt with the berries, I'm on a diet trying to get into a bikini by July, but this looks divine.

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  21. I just found your blog through this tart picture on Pinterest! I put your picture in a new post on my blog- (linking back to Pinterest and linking back to you) and am a new convert to your GORGEOUS blog.

    YES! Starting the Day Out Right!

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  22. Oh wow, I love the use of caramel as a sort of base for integrating strong flavours without it overpowering....definitely going to have to experiment with that!

    A beautiful non-typical summer tart. Lovely.

    What Emily Ate

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  23. Hi, I'm Donatella and I'm italian!
    Your tart looks so tasty and delicious! Great innovation af classic dessert!
    Also your photo are really beautiful!

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  24. Your tart is stunning! I love the rosebud pattern of the strawberries.

    Your photography is also stunning.

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  25. While I appreciate the degree to which everyone's blown away by the tart and the pics,you deserve the most kudos for Richard's transformation. I mean, this is Richard we're talking about. What has changed since you've known him? Clothes? Nope. Demeanor? Nuh-uh. Palate? We have a winner! This is one of the biggest compliments your baking skills could receive. :) Well done Steph, and happy belated bday to R. Turbo Dizzle!

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  26. Nicely done! I'm glad Richard is starting to see the light! If only I could help my husband see the same... Your tart looks yummy! Nice touch with the buckwheat flour. Definitely a creative way to mix things up! Would adding strawberries to the cream be worth a try or do you think it would oversaturate the flavor?
    ~Nancy Lewis~

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  27. This is stunning. Your photos are so beautiful. But, the description - Richard's pretty lucky! I'm going strawberry picking next week and I think I have to try this.

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  28. Those look sooo good. I'm very curious about the rosemary carmel!

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  29. I would heap piles of adoration at your feet for this dish, but I'm too busy wiping the drool off my chin. Bellissima!

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  30. Oh, I could just dive right into that top photo. Stunning!!

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  31. So smitten with the photos, as always. I love the savory sweet sound of this tart too. Rosemary-caramel & buckwheat. Yum!

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  32. Holy cr*p. This is my kind of dessert, one that includes four sub-recipes, each of which is rife for further variation. The whole package sounds just fabulous, and the photography is phenomenal. I adore the dark background here; it makes everything pop in the best way. (Where did you get that spoon?!)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love the idea of rosemary caramel, yum! And the arrangement of the strawberries in the tart is so pretty!

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  34. Yum! I think I would have chosen the cupcakes...but this tart is definitely something special! Happy birthday Richard!

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  35. I'll take a dozen.

    Or at least a really big piece :)


    It looks amazing and the attention to detail of the layout of those strawberries...WOW. Food meets art!

    ReplyDelete
  36. This tart is gorgeous and sounds amazing, the rosemary caramel sounds over the top! I'd choose this over cupcakes for sure!

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  37. Gorgeous tart. I've never been a huge strawberry fan but for some reason I've totally fallen for them this summer. Rosemary caramel sounds pretty yum too. Lucky Richard!

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  38. Mmmmmm this looks amazing! I was just showing my fiance this site and I made him look at your mocha dobos torte cake above. His eyes burst open :) It's seriously such an amazing post and so it goes with this one. 

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I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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