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Welcome To My Website!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lemon Sour Cream Mousse Tarts
With Fresh Fruits
I really enjoy looking at beautiful pies, even though mine aren't always in that state when they're done. But then again I am my very worst critic in all things. It took me awhile to be accepting of the "freeform" style, being in the thinking mode that all crusts must be crimped in some fashion, and that everything should look cooking-school-brochure perfect. Hmmm...
I then came to a day when I was watching Julia Child goof up something she was making to which she informed her audience that one just accepts it, hides it, and moves on. That no one that was going to eat it really was going to know any difference. Wow! That statement was liberating. 

I loved Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia, it was such a kick! I wished I could have truly met Julia in person, and even cooked with her. Julia was the personification of American pluck in the movie, and she really made us all think that we can achieve any culinary task we come across. Somedays yes, and other days not so much. But Julia's encouragement consistently invokes a feeling of satisfaction to a cook, chief, baker, (whatever we all consider ourselves). 
She imparted the realization that yes WE CAN work through our food trials day in and day out whether they are edible past the first bite or not. To return to the same task of repairing or improving these food trials day after day is extremely commendable. Even to myself! I know that I can be quite truculent towards uncooperative foodstuffs and recipes. Sometimes I need to back out of my intended recipe preparation including the writings of my blog posts, because I need a bit of subliminal brain musings on a particular troubling issue. There are days when I could cook all day, and I do just that. It's very satisfying whether or not I like the outcome. That satisfaction is heightened by sheer persistence, which truly I think is a prettier description than stubborn.

Back to pies! I originally thought of making one large tart with rows and rows of different fruits, but obviously I've changed my mind. I love to go to bakeries and look at all the individual items displayed in the cases in perfect little rows. Tarts, brownies, small torts, cookies, palmiers, truffles, eclairs, cream puffs, baclava, Danish pastries, hot cross buns, cinnamon rolls....Lord but the list is endless! 
But it always make me want to go home and cook and bake. So I decided to make individual tarts with one or two fruits at the most on each one. That way you can come back to try another, right? Sounds reasonable to me....

Our beautiful Grand Daughter Lela graduated from Kindergarten today, and the ceremony in the church was beautiful and so touching. They all played bells like grownups and followed their director with nary a flaw. The tune was very lively and happy. Most of the children were concentrating so hard on following the director, and had such serious looks on their faces. Their satisfaction with a job well done beamed forth by our applause. It was just plain awesome. They also sang a few songs, including singing with sign language about it not being to late to come to Jesus. It brought many of us to tears as it was so wonderful. I'm making a tart especially just for her with raspberries. I can't wait to see her her little smiling face.
Todays writing will be the lemon sour cream mousse filling decorated with fresh fruit. Tomorrow I just might make chocolate, butterscotch, or vanilla fillings, or all three! You never know, so come on back and bring your friends!

Lemon Sour Cream Mousse Tarts With Fresh Fruits
This is the easiest lemon mousse ever! It's so creamy, cool and lemony. No special equipment needed! The citric acid from the fresh lemon juice will react with the heavy whipping cream to form a natural thickening action.
Prep and cooking time is about 20 minutes or so.
Mousse Ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon unflavored dried gelatin
2 teaspoons cold water
1 cup sugar
pinch of Kosher salt
_______________
1/2 cup sour cream 
confectioners/icing sugar for dusting the tops of the fruits

Mousse Directions:
1. Add the gelatin to the 2 teaspoons of cold water and stir/whisk to dissolve. 
Combine all of the ingredients including the gelatin, (except the sour cream), into a medium-large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat. (You will notice that the mixture thickens immediately and you might be fooled into thinking this will only take about a couple of minutes - nope! As the mixture heats it will become quite thin. Fear Not! It will thicken some by the time you are finished with step 3, and will continue to thicken as it's chilled.) Whisk continuously until the sugar and gelatin are totally dissolved.
2. Next, all the while still whisking, bring the mixture just to a boil. You will first see small bubbles beading around the edges of the mixture against the side of the saucepan. Then you will see bubbles kind of following in the wake of the whisk and eventually filling in over the rest of the top of the mixture. Once it actually starts boiling, boil it for one more minute only. Remove from heat immediately and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool down. 
3. Cover the mixture with a clean kitchen towel, not plastic wrap or a full sealing lid as these will cause condensation which will dilute the mousse, and let it cool down in a cool spot in your kitchen. When you can carry the bowl in your hands without hot pads, cover with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight so it is completely cold and thickened.
4. When the mousse mixture is very well chilled whisk in the sour cream until smooth and well combined. Cover and keep chilled until you are ready to fill and serve the tarts.
Tart Crusts
You will never miss using wheat flour for crusts again! These are flakey, buttery and and the perfect shell for any type of sweet filling. This recipe is basically by America's Test Kitchen, I've added a bit more sugar and salt as the taste was just a bit flat. The flour blend is also from America's Test Kitchen.
ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend - makes 42 ounces (about 9 1/3 cups):
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) potato starch - NOT POTATO FLOUR
3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch/flour
3/4 ounce (3 Tablespoons) nonfat milk powder

Mix all together and store in an airtight container.

Double Crust Pie Or 8-10 Tarts Dough:

Pie/Tart Crust Ingredients:
5 Tablespoons iced water
3 Tablespoon sour cream
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar, found in international food section in your grocer, or Oriental Markets
13 ounces (2 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend (recipe above)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, and frozen for about 10-15 minutes

Pie/Tart Crust Directions:
1. In a small bowl combine the iced water, sour cream, and vinegar. Set aside.
2. In a food processor bowl add the flour blend, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum, and pulse about 5 seconds to combine. 
3. Remove butter pieces from the freezer and scatter them over the dry ingredients in the processor bowl, pulse about 10 times or till the butter is the size of large peas.
4. With the processor running, add half of the sour cream mixture over the flour blend and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Pour the remaining sour cream mixture over the flour blend and pulse the dough just until it comes together, about 6 pulses. Mixture should ball up and cling to itself.
5. Divide the dough into two equal portions or 8-10 for tarts. weighing the dough portions is really worth the time and effort in this step, insuring that every piece equals the same and so your finished product will be uniform as well. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill the portions for at least 1 hour. 
6. Before rolling out the dough, let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes. You can always put the portions back in the fridge if they get to warm (it will start falling apart when it's to warm and will be difficult to handle). Dough can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.
7. Remove each portion one at a time and roll between two layers of plastic wrap. 
Remove the top sheet and pick up the bottom sheet with the crust round. Carefully turn the sheet over and "fit" the dough gently into the pie/tart baking pan, fitting the dough down the sides and around the bottom. 
Next trim the dough to about 1/4 inch around the outside of the pie/tart pan, and then fold the dough down and tucking it behind the top of the pie/tart dough. 
Gently crimp the dough into the grooves of the pie/tart pan. Roll over the edge with a rolling pin to smooth out the top edge. 


Push any little dough pieces into the bottom of the crust basin. Chill the pie/tart crust(s) for 20 minutes before baking.
8. Blind baking: 
Place a round of parchment paper or foil gently into each unbaked pie or tart shell, and fill with either pie weights or beans. Next bake at 375ยบ for 15-25 minutes. Watch the crust carefully so it doesn't burn or become to dark, which will definitely alter the taste. Cool on wire racks for at least 2 hours before filling and serving.

Pie/Tart Assembly:
9. Divide the mousse equally between the pie or tart shells and smooth with an offset knife. 
10. Decorate each tart with thinly sliced pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, Boysenberries, strawberries, Marionberries, grapes, mango.....You may need to sprinkle some of the fruits with lemon juice to prevent oxidation.









11. You may want to brush the fruits with warmed jelly or jam, preserves, or conserves. This give them a beautiful glossy finish. I really prefer to dust them with confectioner's sugar, especially if they are a bit tart to the taste. It just seems to round it out.


Enjoy!