Monday, April 19, 2010

Smitten, indeed.

Deb of Smitten Kitchen is a prodigiously talented cook, baker and photographer. She makes everything look delicious, and the jam tart she posted last week is no exception. She rightly points out that local fruit is not yet in bloom (despite our wealth of onions and eggs), and what better substitute is there than jam?

The tart is a modified version of a recipe that appears in David Lebovitz's new cookbook, Ready for Dessert. It's as easy as can be, with a dough made in the food processor and pressed into the tart pan - no rolling involved! The polenta (or corn meal) and eggs make the crust hearty and fuss-free, and the whole thing keeps wonderfully for several days (I made mine on Tuesday and was still eating it on Saturday.).

Choose any jam you like; I used a combination of blackberry and strawberry, which turned out to be delicious. The slightly sour blackberries tempered the sweet strawberries, and the whole thing was incredibly addictive. The one major change I made was swapping in vanilla extract for almond (I don't particularly care for almond extract.). Feel free to swap it back if that's your thing.

I may make a peach one tonight. I mean, how else can you have peaches in April?

Easy Jam Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal or polenta
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
9 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, whole
1 egg, separated
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups jam or marmalade
1 tbs. coarse-crystal or granulated sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a food processor, pulse the butter and 1/2 cup sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk along with the vanilla and pulse until combined. With the processor on, gradually add the flour mixture through the feed tube and mix until the dough just comes together.

Transfer about one-third of the dough to a lightly floured counter and shape it into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed. If the shelves in your fridge are wire, place the log on a plate before putting in the fridge.

Transfer the remaining dough to a buttered 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your hands or the flat bottom of a measuring cup, press the dough evenly into the bottom. Press the dough up the sides to the rim of the pan and set the tart pan on a baking sheet. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan until firm, at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread the jam or marmalade evenly over the dough in the pan. Cut the chilled dough into very thin discs with a sharp paring knife. Arrange them slightly overlapped in concentric circles over the jam to form a top crust. (I used a square tart pan, so I did mine in rows, and let the jam peek out a bit.) Using a fork, beat the remaining egg white with a teaspoon of water until frothy; brush evenly over the tart lid and then sprinkle with1 tbs. of coarse sugar. Bake until the top crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Keeps very well, wrapped tightly, at room temperature.

Serves 6-8.


Klary Koopmans said...

I made it too!! With rhubarb... had 2 slices for breakfast today...

Meg Blocker said...

When I hear rhubarb, I think Klary! That sounds delicious...

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