May 1, 2011 by Dana
Many people probably don’t think of summer as dessert season. More likely, “dessert season” is associated with months like November and December, with holiday cookies, pies, and cakes taking over people’s
But, for me, summer is the time of year that I find myself baking and dessert making the most. During the summer months, my friends and I make any excuse to get together for an outdoor BBQ, a day by the pool, or a tailgate party. Since there are many good cooks in our group, we are never at a loss for food, no matter what the occasion.
Of course, no gathering is complete without a delicious sweet treat to round off the day. That’s where I come in.
Since my mother taught me never to arrive empty handed, and so many of our dessert needs fall in the summer, I would love to have a reliable repertoire of sweet berry desserts to choose from to bring to parties and events in the upcoming summer months.
Luckily, through Foodbuzz’s April 24×24, I was able to attend last night’s “Great Berry Desserts” class at the Institute of Culinary Education. I was thrilled to participate in the class along with my friend Jill.
“ICE’s Director of Baking Nick Malgieri created this course as a celebration of the always versatile berries. Whether you pair these versatile fruits with chocolate or nuts, prepare them in cheesecakes or in tarts, bake or whip them, you will love everything you learn in this class and use the recipes over and over again. Your menu will consist of Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake; Blackberry Cheesecake (no bake); Blueberry Crumbcake Squares; Blueberry and Walnut Tart; Strawberry Chantilly Cake; Strawberry and Balsamic Panna Cotta; Raspberry Milk Chocolate Truffle Tart; and Raspberry Devil’s food Cake.”
The class began with Melanie, our instructor and berry dessert maker extraordinare, conducting introductions and talking us through the nuances of each recipe. Then we were told to pair up, and each group chose two of the recipes to make. Jill and I chose to try our hands at the Strawberry Chantilly Cake and the Raspberry Milk Chocolate Truffle Tart. After Melanie showed us the correct way to measure the flour (by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and then leveling off the top with an offset spatula, rather than scooping with the measuring cup itself), we got to work.
We started by making the dough for the tart and refrigerating it until it was ready to be rolled out. Then we made the cakes for the strawberry cake and the strawberry filling. We had time to spare while we waited for the cakes to bake, so we made the Panna Cotta with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar in the meantime. I was glad we added the panna cotta to our menu, because it called for a vanilla bean, which I have obviously heard of, but never used myself. Melanie did an impromptu demonstration on how to use the bean.
1. Cut off the ends of the bean.
2. Cut the bean in half lengthwise.
3. Scrape the seeds out with the blade of the knife.
The rest of the class was spent finishing our dishes and, of course, tasting the results. In addition to tasting our own creations, some of the other participants in the class were kind enough to share some of theirs as well. After each bite of a new dessert I happily proclaimed “this is amazing!” Clearly, I found the reliable berry dessert repertoire I was looking for.
Raspberry Milk Chocolate Truffle Tart Recipe
Chocolate Pastry Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons alkalized (Dutch Process) cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons (2.5 oz) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces milk chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup (about 7 oz) mascarpone cheese
1 basket fresh raspberries
For the dough, combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to mix. Cut butter into 10 pieces, add to work bowl, and pulse until fully mixed in. Add egg and pulse until dough forms a ball. Wrap and chill dough until ready to bake the tart.
*Tip from Melanie: The dough should be refrigerated for at least one hour, but should ideally be chilled overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the lowest level. Knead chilled dough slightly until maliable, then form into a disk, flour dough surface, and roll dough to fit pan. Sever excess dough at rim of pan and press dough well into pan.
*Tip from Melanie: To roll out dough in a circle, place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Picture the dough as a clock, and roll to 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Continue this pattern until finished. The surface of the dough should be smooth. If ti is bumpy, you can gently smooth it by rubbing the parchment paper with your hand.
For the filling, bring water and sugar to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Add butter and continue to cook until butter is melted. Off heat, add chocolate, and allow to stand for 2 minutes, then whisk smooth.
Whisk together the eggs and mascarpone cheese, then whisk in the chocolate mixture.
Arrange the raspberries onthe crust. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is baked through and the filling is set.
*Tip from Melanie: You can serve this tart cold or at room temperature, but it should be stored in the fridge.