Pies & Tarts

Red Currant Tartlets!

Yet another delicious and beautiful offering from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts recipe book. A bit about it in a second. First, a photo!

Isn’t it lovely?! Last month I went on a trip to Talkeetna, a wonderful little town a few hours north of Anchorage. I got to walk on the beach, eat delicious sourdough pancakes, drink some of the local beer, and drool over pottery. All of this was great, but it simply could not compare with what I did on my final day there. I went to a you-pick berry farm!!!
I know! It was like I was thrown into heaven. I had no idea where to start. There were red currants, black currants, raspberries, and serviceberries. I picked red currants and black currants. With help picking, I brought home thirteen pounds of each. The rows of red currant bushes were so laden with fruit, that the branches were more red than green.
Anyway, these tarts were the direct result of that trip. I also made red currant jelly, which I had some trouble getting clear. Black currant jam, which is just about my favorite thing ever now (I’ve been eating it on yogurt). I also froze a whole lot of both types of berries too.
The tarts are simple. I pre-baked 4.5in tartlet shells and filled them with creme patissiere. I want to get some 4 inch pans, but I have a whole lot of life ahead of me to collect such things. 4.5 inch did the job. After the creme, I basically piled as many currants as would fit on top of the tarts, an spooned a little bit of melted red currant jelly on top. The tart in the photo has a sprig of mint on top for color.
This tart was DELICIOUS! My mom, who has been making me pies and tarts my whole life, and is wildly good at them, said that it was, “the best tart I’ve ever eaten!” Well, if that isn’t proof enough I don’t know what is.
I couldn’t even get the tart to the table. Notice how the flour is in an arc. Yeah, that was from rolling out the crust. I was pretty excited about these!
Oh! a tip. You can make this tart with pretty much any fruit. These are also great to make a day or so ahead. You can prepare all of the components, refrigerate them, and put them together right before eating. Then the crust doesn’t get soggy.
One thing more. I’ve been watching Jacques Pepin videos on the public television site. I grew up watching him, but I had forgotten how wonderful he is. He really cooks simple food, and he doesn’t make a big fluffy deal of it. He just makes dinner. No snobbery. I love that. It is one of my Martha pet peeves. But then again she’s excellent. Just look at the photos.

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