9.21.2008

Birthday tartlet

We had one of those monumental birthdays in my house yesterday. I'll try not to give too much away, but it was a decade, a paragraph marker of sorts, the start of a new and shiny era—or so we like to say.

The transition is strange, between decades, even for the most excited of travelers. For ten years you linger on one side, suddenly to jump to another.

And so we made a birthday breakfast. There are few better ways to make the leap than with a fork in hand and an omelette in sight, and so we prepared our traveler with plate and feast for the day ahead.

My father made the eggs: big, fluffy clouds oozing cheese and veggies, tomatoes from the garden and spry, spicy scallions. My mother poured coffee and cider and ferried toast, while I worked away on a smaller surprise.

I had been hoping to make breakfast tartlets. There was a ball of dough tucked away in the fridge, waiting for morning and the jubilation of dawn. But by the time I got started, I was a bit behind. The table was set, eggs nearly done, and the oven just barely hot. Nonetheless I was determined to make one, at the least, to surprise the honoree and pass around in bites.

I sliced a peach and pressed the dough, forming it to the curvature of the tiny scalloped pan. The orange slices nestled close along the edge, and I spooned a bit of crumbled butter and blackberry jam over top. Just like that, it went in to bake. By the time we'd finished the eggs, it made an excellent coffee-side treat.

PEACH TARTLETS WITH BLACKBERRY JAM*

Makes 6, 4-inch tarlets or 1 large tartlet

Beat 1 stick butter with 1/3 cup sugar until creamy. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 egg yolk, and mix until uniformly combined. Stir in 3/4 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, mixing until there are no dry spots in the dough. Form into a ball and chill at least several hours, or overnight.

Press dough into large or small tart pan(s). Prebake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until just firm. Slice 4 to 6 ripe peaches and layer over bottom. Top with 1 tablespoon blackberry jam per 4-inch tart or 8 tablespoons for a large tart. Bake 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until fruit warms and softens slightly.

*Dough recipe adapted from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food.

3 comments :

Anna said...

happy birthday alex! you old geezer..

alex said...

Just one day older. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Valerie said...

Great work.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.