I have heard so many praises from my fellow food bloggers about a book titled - The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern that I decided to purchase a copy for me. However, it turned out that the book has been out of print for sometime. I have searched numerous used book stores but no sight of it then I found copies available at Amazon but I wasn’t ready to pay hundreds dollar for it. Nevertheless, I finally made the purchase and I’m glad I did. This beautiful book by Claudia Fleming is a gem. Her minimalist approach and use of local, seasonal ingredients in her desserts are so inspiring. Her recipes seem simple to make but they all have a little twist (cracked-pepper ice cream anyone?) to them making them special and unique.
Who is Claudia Fleming? She was the award winning pastry chef at the famed Gramercy Tavern in NYC but in 2006, she and her husband (also a renowned chef) moved from New York City to Long Island, New York, to open The North Fork Table & Inn, which features a seat-in restaurant and guest rooms. Btw, I just found out she re-printed her book and you can order it off her site here.
The first recipe I tried from this book was this dainty blueberry cream cheese tarts with graham cracker crust. I’m not a tart person as the others I had before seem too sweet for my taste. So why pick this recipe? I was convinced by the picture in the book! Also, I thought the graham cracker shells were supposed to be made from the store brought cracker like the way we made cheesecake crust but I was wrong. It is actually graham cracker crust, redolent of honey and cinnamon and has a crispy texture. The cream cheese custard is soft, airy and melts at the tip of your tongue and pair so well with the sweet-tangy blueberry & kumquat compote – perfect for spring~
Blueberry & Kumquat Cream Cheese Tarts with Graham Cracker Crust
Graham Cracker Tart Shells
makes about 10 (1 ½x4in) flute shell & 12 (2x4in) financier tart shell
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup Demerara sugar
¼ cup honey
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color. Add the honey and beat until combined; set aside.
Combine the flours, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl then add to the butter mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix until the dough is well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and form into a disk. Chill until firm, at least an hour and up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a rectangular cutter or knife to cut out the dough to fit the tart pans, press the dough gently into the tins, trimming away any excess dough. Prick dough all over with a fork and let chill for 20 minutes or until the dough is firm enough. Chill longer if necessary.
Bake tart shells until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They can be made a day in advance. Also, they can be kept up to 3 months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container.
Cream Cheese Pastry Cream
makes about 4 cups
1 cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ tbsp corn starch
6 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Combine ¾ cup of the milk and 3 tablespoon of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup milk into the yolk mixture. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from cooking. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.
Return the custard to the stove and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Let the custard cook for 1-2 minutes until it thickens. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Using a fine sieve; strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
Beat the heavy cream over medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream until smooth and fold in the whipped cream until combined.
Blueberry Compote - 2 1/2 cups
2 ½ cups blueberries
1 tbsp sugar
In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the blueberries with the sugar. Cook over low heat until all the berries have popped and the juices come out.
Strain the mixture into a bowl and discard the solids. Add the rest of the blueberries into the syrup and toss to combine.
Make 48 halved kumquats
400g (about 24) kumquats
2 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup water
Wash and pat dry kumquats. Remove calyces, cut them in half horizontally then pit with a fork. Bring sugar and water to boil, add the kumquats. Cover with a paper towel (directly on kumquats) and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Remove from heat and let sit overnight at room temperature. Trash the paper towel and remove the kumquats and transfer to a bowl. Reheat the poaching syrup to a boil then remove from heat. Add the kumquats back into the syrup and let sit overnight at room temperature. Place the compote (discard the syrup) in an airtight container and keep refrigerated; good up to a week.
Spoon the pastry cream into each tart shell and top with the blueberries or candied kumquats, sprinkled with finely chopped pistachios. Serve soon after assembling.
有頗多bloggers推薦一本名為The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern的書。他們跟著食譜做出來的甜點很是吸引人。我好奇它是不是像大家說的那麼棒﹐所以決定也買一本來看看。去過幾家大型的連鎖書店也找不到﹐問店員才知道這書絕版了。去信出版社﹐得到的答案是他們不會再印這本書了。沒辦法﹐只好往賣舊書的書店碰運氣。可是去過很多店﹐都是失望而回。終於在Amazon看到有人出讓﹐可是要$100 USD多﹐而且還是圖書館的書﹗半個月前﹐終於找到非圖書館版本又價錢比較合理的。收到書的那天真的好激動 ;p
好在書沒讓我失望。食譜的名字很有詩意﹐看似簡單但處處看到驚喜之處例如胡椒口味﹑羅勒口味的冰淇淋。可惜照片很少﹐要不然就完美了。而這本書的著者是紐約星級Gramercy Tavern餐廳的前甜點總廚Claudia Fleming。她以採用當季的食材製作甜點和節約風格而著名。現在想吃到她的甜點就需前往她和丈夫經營位於紐約州Long Island的小旅館囉。這是我下一次到紐約必去的地方。如果你有興趣買她的書可前往她的旅館網站訂購(按這裡)。我剛剛才得知她自己出資重新出版這本書。嗚嗚嗚。。。我買貴了。。。
藍莓﹑金桔奶油乳酪卡士達塔 – 約22個
肉桂甜塔皮– 10個直徑1 ½ x 4寸船形塔皮跟12個直徑2 x 4寸長方形塔皮
1杯 無鹽奶油 - 室溫放軟﹐切成小方塊
奶油乳酪卡士達醬 – 約4杯
2 ½湯匙 玉米粉
將3/4 杯牛奶跟3湯匙砂糖混合裝進小鍋裡，以中火煮至砂糖融化沸騰即離火備用。另一個拌盤裡加進蛋黃﹑玉米粉﹑剩下的2湯匙砂糖﹐拌勻後拌入剩下的1/4 杯牛奶﹐攪拌均勻。將熱奶漿慢慢地注入蛋糊中﹐這時要用打蛋器不斷攪打﹐拌勻後﹐倒回小鍋中以低火加熱。用打蛋器持續不斷的攪拌至變稠﹐約2分鐘﹐然後拌進奶油乳酪及香草精﹐不停攪拌至順滑﹐離火。將蛋黃醬過濾後﹐倒進碗中﹐在蛋黃醬表面蓋上保鮮膜(黏著蛋黃醬)﹐放進冰箱冷藏約60分鐘。
糖煮藍莓 – 2 ½ 杯
2 ½杯 藍莓