Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Grape Juice Tart - a Guest Post from Ginny!

Good Morning, everyone! I have a special treat for you today, in the form of a guest post. You hear me talk about my friend Ginny all the time, and after my post about my adventures with Limburger cheese, you are probably feeling like you are getting to know her pretty well.
Well, this weekend, Ginny made an absolutely fabulous dessert and I told her she simply had to share it with all of you, right here on my blog. So, without further ado, I’m turning this post over to Ginny.

Ever have something that you love, and yet you wonder what to do with it? That’s where I was. I had grapes last summer from the family vines that I had cooked down, run through the food mill and then placed into the freezer. Typically this stuff gets made into jelly or jam in my family, but since I try to avoid carbs in general, having jelly to put on bread is a bad thing. I wanted to do something else, I just didn’t know what. The freezer is a wonderful thing, it lets you put things off, procrastinate really, something I do very well.
So, while searching Tastespotting, I found a recipe for a grape juice tart. Hmmmm, that sounds interesting! And oddly, it calls for the exact amount of juice waiting for me in the freezer. I have a frozen pie crust waiting to be used also. It’s Kismet!
I made it in time to take to my parent’s home to try out for my nephew’s birthday party. Now, I’ve mentioned before that my family is somewhat leery of new things. But I figure its grape, and my family likes jelly (they make their own), so how wrong can I go. My brother, niece, and nephew wouldn’t try it. Eh, I expected some hesitancy. Mom and Dad thought it was okay. Dad called it interesting, which means I don’t need to bother making it again on his behalf. Mom had a little more when we were having birthday cake. I liked it; it was very grapey without being cloyingly sweet. My soon to be nephew (the niece’s fiancĂ©), Justin, loved it. He ate a quarter of it, refused birthday cake, and asked how much of what was left I was willing to part with. LOL! He ended up with another quarter of the tart to take home. We also discussed what it would be like with other flavors, and since he is a fan of peach, I may try to find peach nectar and make it for his birthday dinner in a couple of weeks. All in all, a win in my book.

For the short crust pastry:
generous 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugara pinch of salt
45 gm cold butter, diced
2 to 3 tbsp cold water

For the filling:
1 liter dark (or white) grape juice
150 ml milk (3%)
180 ml cream (25% fat)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp butter
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp sugar (adjust to requirement)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Make the crust:
You can do this by hand or in the food processor. I find the food processor excellent for making pie/ tart dough. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the butter and rub with fingertips into the flour, till the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Add 2 tbsp water and using your hands, bring the dough together adding a little water if necessary. Too much water will result in a tough pastry.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly till dough is smooth. Form into a neat ball, flatten into a round, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Remove pastry from the fridge and place on lightly floured surface and roll out into a circle about 12” in diameter, slightly larger than a 9” fluted pastry ring/ dish. Roll the pastry in a back and forth motion and do not stretch or pull the pastry.
Place the pastry circle in the ring/ dish and carefully press to the edges, removing excess pastry with a knife. Lightly prick the base with a fork. Chill for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and line the pastry with foil or waxed paper, and fill with baking beans.
Bake at 200C for 12 minutes. Remove the foil/ waxed paper and put the crust back in the oven for another 10 minutes till golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

Make the filling:
Pour the grape juice (one litre) into a pan and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to low-medium and simmer, while stirring frequently, till it has reduced to 150 ml. Once the juice has reduced to roughly 1/3rd, watch the pan and its contents or you will end up with a burnt liquid! Let this cool to room temperature. Put the milk, cream, cornstarch and flour into a pan. Mix well, and cook the mixture over medium heat till it becomes a smooth and thick paste.Add the butter and mix well. Let this cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, sugar and vanilla extract. Add to the cooked and cooled mixture.Mix well. Now add the reduced grape juice and mix well.You might find your tart filling seems a little granular but that’s fine.

Assembling the tart: Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake at 200C for about 40 minutes.The filling will have set well. Do not be tempted to cook for longer or the texture of the filling will change.Cool the tart well before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or mascarpone cheese. This tart serves 8 to 10.
Cooking notes:
First and foremost, please make sure to convert accurately, I managed fine with the metrics, as a nurse I use the metric system regularly. But for some reason I forgot to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit for the oven temps. I caught this midway through blind baking the crust.
I started out with homemade unsweetened grape juice with pulp. This contains pectin. When I was cooking it down I was pretty sure that it was going to get thick long before I made it down to the 150 ml reduction. I was right; I made it down to just over the 250 ml mark on my measuring cup. I only added about ¼ cup sugar after it was well into the reduction process. I had essentially made jelly. It actually tasted pretty good. Any further attempts at reduction and I would have had taffy. This makes me think that starting out with bottled juice may give different level-of-sweetness results.
So when it came to the “white sauce” I was pretty sure I didn’t want to cook it down to the thick paste consistency the recipe called for. I also used half and half instead of the milk/cream combination. I pulled it from the heat when I started to see the bottom of the pan when I pulled the spatula across the pan. When I added the “grape juice” into the bowl it was still a little thick, so I ended up adding a little more half and half to loosen it up a bit. Considering the increased volume I was worried about over filling the crust, but only slightly, because I tasted the filling to make sure the sugar level was appropriate and it tasted like grape cream – YUMMY! I risked the whole raw egg thing and licked the spatula. It was also this lovely lavender color.
Also, I used an 11 inch tart pan, which resulted in a more shallow tart. (Because that’s what I had!) I don’t think it affected the outcome.
I watched closely in the oven, because I was concerned about the thickening issue and was worried it might either boil over, or seize up and turn to taffy in the crust. No worries, it turned out great! A nice puddingy consistency.

1 comment:

Kim said...

The color of the pie is stunning! What a fun recipe to try. I'm convinced that I would love this.