Unanimous thumbs-up for this tart this showstopper tart this week. And one rogue baker, harking back to Baked Explorations with a different kind of tart!
Was this tart truly heavenly?
Thanksgiving is almost here… so it’s time for a Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue. Posting date is November 20.
- 3 medium to large sweet potatoes
- 8 ounces (225 g) gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies)
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1⁄3 cup (75 ml) evaporate milk
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 cups (480 ml) sweet potato puree (recipe opposite)
- 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon (optional)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a sheet tray with foil.
- Wash the sweet potatoes vigorously with a scrubber. Pat dry and prick the potatoes multiple times with a fork. Place them on the prepared sheet tray. Roast the potatoes until fork tender, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, about 1 hour. Remove the sheet tray from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and allow the potatoes to cool. Peel and cut them into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks, discarding the peels. Puree the sweet potato chunks in a food processor until completely smooth. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and pulse to reach a typical pumpkin puree–like consistency (thinner than mashed potatoes); this is usually between 1 and 2 tablespoons water. Measure out 2 cups (480 ml) of the puree for the pie and save the rest for another use. (Sweet potato puree lasts 5 to 7 days in the fridge, and 30 days in a freezer bag in the freezer.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a food processor, pulse the cookies until pulverized into a very fine crumb. You should have a scant 2 cups (230 g). Add the brown sugar and salt, and pulse until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture has the consistency of wet sand.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with removable bottom (or a 9-inch/23-cm springform pan for a smooth-sided finish). Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides, using the back of a large spoon or the bottom of a large measuring cup to pack the crumbs into an even layer. Freeze the pan just to set, 8 to 10 minutes. Place the tart pan on a sheet tray and bake until the crust is fragrant and appears set, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Turn the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
- Measure the evaporated milk into a glass measuring cup. Whisk in the eggs and maple syrup.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sweet potato puree and mix on the lowest setting to loosen. Add the evaporated milk mixture and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, stir the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together until combined, then add to the sweet potato mixture and mix on medium speed until just combined. Add the melted butter and mix again.
- Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place the tart on a sheet pan (for easier cleanup in case of seepage), and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the tart comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a nonreactive metal bowl (ideally the one from your standing mixer), whisk the egg whites and sugar together until combined.
- Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture registers 140°F (60°C) on an instant-read thermometer, to 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, adding the cream of tartar when the meringue begins to thicken, or after minutes. When the mixture holds stiff peaks, after about 6 minutes, add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
- Scoop out the meringue and generously pile it over the top of the tart, swirling and peaking to create your desired look. (You may have some meringue left over.) Use a kitchen torch to gently brown the meringue. (Do not use a broiler.)
- To serve, gently push up on the bottom of the tart pan to release it and transfer it to a plate or stand. Dust with a light coating of cinnamon before slicing, if you like.
Even our resident banana haters bravely baked this week. And West Side Baker went rogue, although I think baking for a wedding has redefined what it means to go rogue!
We’re now on our last ten recipes in Elements! Leave your links for the tart here.
Posting date is Aug. 24!
Chocolate Banana Tart
For the Classic Sweet Tart Crust
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Chocolate Ganache Filling
6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), chopped coarsely
6 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, chopped coarsely
2⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Bananas and Caramel
2 ripe bananas
2 1⁄2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Assembly
1 1⁄2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon orange juice
Make the Classic Sweet Tart Crust
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat just until incorporated.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the flour all at once, and beat just until the dough comes together in a ball. Do not overbeat or your crust will be tough.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape it into a disk with your hands, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10-inch circle about 1⁄4 inch thick. (Note: the dough will be sticky. Make sure to turn it over with a bench knife or offset spatula as needed and keep the work surface floured.)
Ever so gently guide the dough, without pulling it, into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom and lightly press it into place. Roll the rolling pin over the pan to trim off the excess. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill it three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack to cool.
Make the Chocolate Ganache Filling
Place the chopped chocolates in a small heatproof bowl (or a large pourable glass measuring cup).
In a small saucepan, gently heat the cream just to boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and wait 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted and incorporated. Set aside to cool.
Make the Bananas and Caramel
Slice the bananas on the diagonal into just-under-1-inch slices.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir (with a rubber spatula) until dissolved. Once the mixture starts to bubble, add the bananas, flat sides down, and cook for about 45 seconds or until browned on the bottom. Then carefully flip the bananas (you might want to use tongs to flip each banana slice individually) and cook on the other side until browned, about 45 seconds. Remove the caramelized banana slices to a plate. Dab the slices with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Add the cream to the pan and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat until the mixture forms a thick caramel sauce, about 2 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and pour into a small bowl or ramekin to cool. (The caramel will overcook or blacken if you leave it in the skillet, even with the heat turned off.)
Assemble the tart
Pour half of the cooled ganache into the tart shell. Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set.
Thinly slice the raw bananas on a diagonal. In a medium bowl, toss the slices in the orange juice, then transfer them to a paper towel and pat dry. Arrange them in a single layer over the chilled ganache to cover the bottom of the tart completely. Top with the remaining ganache. (If the ganache has already started to set, warm it in short bursts in the microwave.) Return the tart to the refrigerator for 5 more minutes.
Decorate the top of the tart with the caramelized bananas and reserved caramel. Serve immediately.
The tart can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 24 hours, but it tastes best within a few hours of assembling. That said, a few taste testers have claimed that they like the consistency of the tart once it has been refrigerated overnight.
To each his own!
Posting date is July 6th! Happy baking!
Note that there’s an error in the book – the baking interactions for the crust are omitted, but they’re included here.
Easy Candy Bar Tart
Yield: One 9-inch tart
For the Chocolate Cookie Crust
30 chocolate wafer cookies (about6 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 ounces (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the Caramel Walnut Filling
1 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
21⁄2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon fleur de sel
2 cups walnuts, toasted
For the Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
3 ounces (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
Make the Chocolate Cookie Crust
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, pulse the cookies into a very fine powder. You should have about 1 1⁄2 cups. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl and stir in the sugar.
Pour the butter over the crumb mixture and mix until well combined. The mixture will feel wet. Turn the crumb mixture out into the prepared pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides (just shy of 1 inch high). You can use the back of a large spoon or the bottom of a glass to even out the crust.
Bake the crust crust until it’s set (about 10 minutes) or until just fragrant. Put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Make the Caramel Walnut Filling
In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar with 1⁄4 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t splash any of it up on the sides of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, and, without stirring, allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich amber color, remove it from the heat and slowly stream in the cream. After the mixture stops bubbling, return the pan to very low heat and whisk in the butter. Continue whisking gently until the caramel is uniform and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and fleur de sel.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the walnuts. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and chill the tart for at least 1 hour.
Make the Chocolate Glaze
Place the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in the bowl of a double boiler over medium heat. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the water and stir the glaze to release excess heat.
Pour the glaze over the tart and use an offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges—try to cover the entire surface of the tart. Refrigerate the tart for 1 hour to set the glaze before slicing and serving.
Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. The tart can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
This tart was a big hit! And we had a couple of rogue bakers this week, but seems as though everyone had chocolate on the brain.
Let’s see those tarts!