Truth be told, i cringed when i saw the tarts.

How horridly ugly! :(

When i first made them, it was for a mini hi-tea at my place with 2 thick skin but nice foodie friends who insisted (well, almost) on coming over for my desserts. The date — you won’t believe it but it’s true, was set over Instagram!

I didn’t have proper photos to blog about it then. As usual, (my) food photos taken indoor are totally hideous. I know i’m not that fussy over my ugly photos sometimes, but i decided that these tarts were worth a second shot and so, second attempt it is.

The first time i made these tarts, the consistency of the ganache wasn’t fantastic. I sorta made a mental note not to use the same recipe, same method for these tarts again.

When i made them again yesterday, i decided to give the recipe another chance except that this time round, i thought of boiling the cream first before pouring it over the chocolate (was using the Chocolate Truffle way). Little did i know that, this latest method used was exactly the same method as the recipe instructed. *facepalm* I’m such a clown. No wonder the ganache, again, wasn’t fabulous! I like my ganache smooth and silky.. not rugged and rustic looking like this. :(

I thought my tarts were extremely ugly.. nothing like the gorgeous photo i remember from DH’s magazine.. but guess what? I was wrong. Lol!

After i told another 2 gfs (who wanted to try these tarts) that they were totally unappetizing looking, i went to search for the magazine to scrutinize the photo to see what the difference but boy oh boy, the tart in the magazine was exactly the mirror image of mine! La lil la..

So.

I didn’t screw up after all. HEhehehehehe!

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts

(makes 6)

150g all purpose flour
50g cocoa
80g icing sugar
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cold and chopped
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water

Filling and topping:
1 cup dulce de leche
125g single cream
175g dark chocolate chopped
sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method

1. Place the flour, cocoa, icing sugar, salt in a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the egg yolks and vanilla, then the iced water and process just until a dough starts to form. Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and bring the dough together with the tips of your fingers. Shape into a disk and wrap in the plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
2. Lightly butter 6 x 8cm tartlet pans. Divide the pastry into 6 parts. Between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper roll each piece of pastry into a rough circle then line the pans, removing the excess pastry. Prick the pastry with a fork then freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
3. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and cut roughly into six squares; place the foil squares, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Bake the crusts for 10-15 minutes longer or until cooked through. Cool completely in the pans.
4. Divide the dulce de leche between the pastry cases and, using the back of a spoon, spread evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Place the cream in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Spread the tartlets with the ganache and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Sprinkle with salt to serve.

Note : as you can see from the above picture, i used different tart case sizes, so i’ve got more than 6 tarts.

(recipe from Donna Hay Magazine, issue 62)

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Earlier on, i totally screwed up 2 portions of chocolate crust (i doubled it, aiyo!). I blitzed the dry ingredients with egg yolks and whatnots without the butter! What a bummer. But I persisted and kept my fingers crossed as i add in the butter after the ice water. The result? I got a dough that is wetter than a brioche dough!

Not just that i tell ya. The entire dough was sandy-like-feel! However, i refused to throw it away and these were the bakes that i managed to come up with — mini and giant chocolate truffle tart, spiked with Baileys, with the screwed up dough. Heh. Absolutely fugly, but good. Very good. PHEW!

I know i know.. what happened to me, right?

I baked this just last week and the recipe is up today! Quite something eh? :P

The truth is, i didn’t wanna forget the ingredients used for this tart which explains why the need to blog almost immediately. Yeah, i know i could probably pen them down in the scribble pad in the kitchen but aiyah, i just didn’t feel like it. Lol!

This is an experimental tart. I’ve not quite dabbled into tart and pie making to be honest, what more, a savoury tart. If i’m not wrong, this is my first savoury tart! — another milestone, yay! (Galette not counted) Personally, the thought of tart/pie making intimidates me. The crust – rubbing in method for dough making, rolling, refrigerating and pressing in, it just sounds so tedious, tough and hellavu hardwork? Maybe it’s just me? *shrugs*

But guess what?

I finally succumbed to making dough with food processor and now, pie / tart making is sure ALOT easier!! ;)

Spinach & Feta Tart

makes one 14″ x 4″ tart

142g organic baby spinach, washed and drained
1 whole yellow onion, sliced finely
160g – 180g single cream
pinches of black pepper
50g feta cheese
2 medium eggs

For flaky pastry dough

makes one 14″ x 4″ crust pie, with a little extra

260g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
170g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 12 pieces
2 medium eggs, beaten

Method (by food processor)

1. To mix the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl fitted with metal blade. Pulse several times to mix.
2. Add in butter and pulse repeatedly at 1 second intervals until the butter is in small pieces.
3. Add in eggs and pulse just until the dough almost forms a ball ; pulsing too much at this point will incorporate the butter smoothly and cut down on flakiness.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Gently flatten the dough flat in one piece or two if you like into disc. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until firm or as long as 3 days.

(crust dough recipe source : Bake by Nick Malgieri)

Method (for filling)

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Place the pan on medium heat and add in the onion. Stir occasionally, until the onion is wilted and just beginning to colour, about 5 minutes or so. Add the spinach to pan and season with black pepper. Set aside and move on the prepare the crust, which will take about 5 minutes or so. (press in the flaky dough to the tart pan or if you like, roll the dough and transfer into the tart pan. Personally, i do both, it speeds up the work)
3. Pour in the single cream and and mix well. Last but not least, whisk in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust and spread it evenly. Dot the entire tart with feta cheese generously.
4. Bake the tart until the crust is well coloured and baked through and the filling is set, about 30-40 minutes.
5. Cool the tart on a rack and unmould it. Serve immediately with salad.

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So how do i like this tart?

VERY MUCH. Pardon the caps, but i really enjoyed every single bite of it. Like, really.

I like it so much so that i baked it again last night for dinner!

See? Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=438222962866939&set=a.206077682748136.51416.204910616198176&type=1&theater

Grin.

But last night, i sorta experimented some more with the tart. I added bacon, sauteed the onion in bacon fats and i substituted the exxy organic baby spinach from Cold Storage with cheapo Hydroponic Spinach 250g – Bayam from NTUC (i cut away the chunky stems). I must say, i can’t quite tell the difference between the 2 spinach, taste wise. But of course, please just don’t use the Chinese Spinach (phuey leng) alrighty?

This year’s Lunar New Year is a little strange.

It never used to be this quiet. Chor Yat and Chor Yee are visiting days. Sometimes, even Chor Sam too! But not this year. Perhaps it is because everyone knows that i’m without helper now so they don’t quite dare to jio me that much anymore? (i sure hope this is not the case, because with helper or without, i still wanna be jio! :P) Or perhaps because the older relatives are getting fewer as years pass, so we have less visiting to do? Whatever it is, i kinda miss it but at the same time, i also welcome the eng time i have to myself, especially today.. when i can finally whip up something decent in the kitchen again. :)

Oh!

Before i forget… LOOK!!

My gorgeous 梅花 -mei hua (Plum Blossom)!

Few days ago when i lugged this pot home, most of the flowers were rather small and hardly attractive. But came yesterday morning, it was a different story altogether. They were all blooming so beautifully! I actually sat down in front of the pot for a couple of good minutes just to admire it. Aaaaaahhh… so gorgeous them. *smile*

Anyway, back to Chor Yee, today.

So early in the morning, okayyy, not really that early because it was already 10am (don’t we all love weekends and public holidays?) by the time i woke up, i told Darcy that i’ll whip up something decent when he suggested to bring the kiddos out to McDonald’s for breakfast.

I’ve been meaning to bake this for the longest time. The flaky dough was first sitting in the freezer. Then a week ago, i brought it out to thaw, with the intention to bake this but alas, i didn’t. Since then, it had been in the chiller, just waiting.. till i found time for it. Terrible am i not? In out, out down, down in.. seriously?! Pssttt, and it doesn’t just happen to this particular flaky dough! :P

Potato, Onion and  Gruyère Galette

Ingredients

For flaky tart dough, see here. Just halve the recipe in there.

Filling
1 large onion (12 ounces), thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 grinds black pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (i used Aged Cheddar)
1 pound red potatoes (i mixed both purple and red potatoes)

To Finish
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
3 grinds black pepper

For Serving (optional)
Crème fraiche
Golden caviar

Method

1 Advance Preparation: Roll the prepared dough into a 13-inch round, transfer to a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet, and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400°F and position an oven rack in the lower third.

2 Make the filling: Heat the sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil and when it is hot, add the onion slices to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and chopped thyme or rosemary and blend well. Scrape onto a plate and set aside to cool. Wash the potatoes and pat dry, but don’t peel them. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

3 Assemble the galette: Mix together the cooled onion mixture, grated cheese, and potato slices. Spread the mixture over the prepared pie dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edges. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Fold just the border of the dough up around the filling, pleating it to make a pretty, circular enclosure, leaving the center open. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Lightly brush the pleated dough with the egg to give it shine and help it brown in the oven.

4 Bake the galette for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the potatoes are soft when tested with a paring knife or skewer. Check the bottom of the galette for doneness by lifting slightly with a metal spatula. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

5 Transfer the galette to a serving plate with a cake lifter or two spatulas, or the bottom of a tart pan slipped underneath to keep it from breaking as you move it. Slice and serve warm.

(adapted from The Art & Soul Baking, Sur La Table)

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Verdict?

My perfect lunch on a very free day.. ;)

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