Saturday, July 30, 2011

Utterly butterly delicious

Butterscotch is the new flavour of the month chez Zachs and i can only owe to a chance encounter. My darling sister is in town and we are having a nice time eating, loafing around and chilling out. As a result of one of those vegging out sessions, butterscotch came unannounced into our lives. But i am glad it did. 'cos i'm loving it. every bit of it. I tried the butterscotch pudding from scratch first and am hooked. It's so hassle free and a refreshing new flavour in a household where there is always something chocolate.

I decided to go a step further and use the pudding in tartlets, my absolute favorite pastry. I also think that is the ultimate test. If a flavor tastes really good paired with tarts, that means that flavor has etched a name for itself. So on a happy day, we found ourselves popping in tartlets by the second. 'cos they were yum. deliciously yum.

You will need:

For the tart crust or the Pâte brisée:
- 250 g all purpose flour
- pinch of salt
-110 g butter chilled and cubed
-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon fresh cream
-1 egg beaten for the egg wash
- a bowl that has been kept in the refrigerator (for the mixing)

(Makes one 7 inch tart shell and 18 1 inch tartlet shells) 

The key here to making light, crumbly pâte is to keep the ingredients and the all things that come in contact with the ingredients (esp the butter) as cold as possible. So neurotic as it may seem, that also means refrigerating the bowl in the freezer in between steps. Also, make sure not to over mix the ingredients or the dough - can result in a heavy dungy tart. With that in mind, let's start.

-Sift together the powdered sugar, salt and flour in the dry bowl and keep aside.
-Add the cubed pieces of butter to the flour mix and incorporate it into the flour using your fingertips. If you are in a place as humid as Chennai, you may need to keep the bowl in the freezer in reular intervals for a couple of minutes in between steps.
-Loosely incorporate the butter till the mix looks like coarse sand grain.
-Make a well of sorts in the mix by pushing the flour to the sides of the bowl.
-Pour the egg into the well and beat it with a spoon or fork. Mix it into the flour little by little.
-Add the fresh cream and continue to incorporate it till the mix looks homogenous. Be careful not to overmix/overknead.
-Divide the dough into two balls, flatten gently into discs, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
-Let the dough warm up a little before rolling it out.

-Once it has reached the stage where it can be rolled out, sprinkle flour on the work surface and roll out with the help of a rolling pin or flatten out the disc to fit the tart /tartlet pans. Make sure there is enough to come up the sides of the tart pans as the pâte will shrink when blind baking by a few centimeters. So the pastry that you roll ought to be at least an inch bigger than the tart pan.
-Make sure the tart is of uniform thickness of 2 cm all across the diameter. Also, make sure to roll or flatten from the centre outwards.
-If you were rolling, gently lift the pastry and place in the tart pan. Make sure to brush off excess flour before lining the pan.
-Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cover the pan/s with cling film.
-Refrigerate the tart pan/s again for another half hour.

-Twenty minutes into the above mentioned time, preheat the oven to 180 C.
-Take the tart shells out of the refrigerator, prick holes in the bottom of the patry with the tines of a fork, cover with aluminium foil, fill it uniformly with pie weights and blind bake at 170 C for twenty five min or till golden in colour. (Another indication will be the smell of freshly baked pastry filling up the kitchen)
-Fifteen minutes into the blind baking, remove the pans, brush with the egg wash and pop back into the oven. Rotate the sheet if neccessary to ensure uniform baking. The egg wash will give the tarts a nice golden hue.

All the waiting gives us ample time to make the filling.

For the filling, you will require:

-55g unsalted butter
-1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
-A pinch of  salt
-11/2 tablespoons corn flour
-11/4 cups full cream milk
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoons coffee liqueur/baileys
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan over a low flame. Add in the brown sugar and salt and mix till sugar is well moistened or dissolved more or less. Take it off the flame and keep aside.
-To a quarter portion of the milk, add the corn flour and whisk to ensure it has thoroughly dissolved in the milk.Whisk in the egg.
-Add the remaining milk to the butter-sugar mix. If the sugar has solidified, not to worry, add the milk and set it over a low flame and allow to melt, swirling the pan frequently.
-Once fully dissolved, add the corn flour-milk mix and make sure you whisk it. Continue to whisk frequently till the mix boils.
-Once it begins to boil, continue to whisk for a minute without stopping till the mix thickens to form a pudding like consistency.
-Remove from the flame and add the coffee liqueur and vanilla extract and whisk to ensure a smooth mix. If lumps appear, just blend it and you will be good to go.

Once the tarts shells are done, remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Once they have, remove from the shells and let them cool to room temperature.
-Scoop in the butterscotch pudding into the shells.

P.S: I drizzled some chocolate to give a contrast in flavour and texture and loved it.
Refrigerate the tarts for at least 4 hours and serve. Be sure to be ready for the 'Ooohs' and the 'Aaahs'! :)

P.P.S: If you store in an airtight conatiner, they will last for upto 2 days.


  1. That looks awesomely delicious!!! :) I wish I could have a tart or two right now!

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