Friday, August 04, 2006

When you need an excuse to procrastinate

Phone's my boy. Here's how the conversation went:
Fiance: Hey, what are you doing?
Me: I'm baking!
Fiance: So I guess you're ready for your final exam this afternoon?
Me: No, I just needed a break from studying
Fiance: That's so cute, you bake when you need a break! I'd go play video games or watch TV.

So yeah, I have a final this afternoon (in exactly 4 hours as I type this). But....I have had the strongest urge to bake something all week! I've been good about it but I can't stand it any longer. Plus, I have good reason to bake...I need to finish off 1 egg and most of a lime before I leave for vacation tomorrow. Yeah yeah, I know I could easily crack an egg and scramble it, and cut up the limes and stick it in my tea, but I love citrus flavored tarts, and I figure I could use this opportunity to fix me up a little sweet and tart snack! So here I go!

Normally when I make lemon or lime tarts, I use a shortbread base, which is basically butter, flour, sugar and salt. However, I've been itching to try the flaky skin recipe that I found in Florence Lin's book, where she describes her methods to make the skin of egg tarts. Now, I have a basic flaky skin recipe that I've been using forever, but the methods she presented here were different, so I thought I'd go along. The last time I attempted to make a flaky skin egg custard tart (similar to the ones found in dim sum places), I followed a recipe which yielded in tough, leathery skin which was salvageable only by the extra buttery taste. Florence's recipe, however, uses only shortening and resulted in many flaky, beautiful layers (which my 3.2 megapixel camera does not do justice). Next time, I might try butter flavored shortening, or substituting some butter for the shortening in the inside layer to get that lovely, buttery aroma. Anyhow, so why did I mix and match the skins and fillings from two totally different recipes? Well, I love the flaky skin the chinese pastry, but absolutely love the refreshing taste of citrus. So here it is for your enjoyment. The below is the recipe that I used for the filling, which yielded 10 mini tarts.

Citrus Lime Filling:
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (I used 1 large lime)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
zest of the lime

Beat together strain to get rid of clumps. Pour into the tarts, which have been lined with the pastry skin. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

Flaky Skin
Adapted from Florence Lin's Complete Noodle Book
(I halved the portions that she used)
Outer Skin:
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp shortening
1/3 cup water

Inner Skin:
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
6 Tbsp Shortening

1. For each type of dough, mix ingredients, wrap, and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes
2. Wrap the entire outer skin around the inner dough, and flatten to a disc.
3. Roll it out to a 8 by 12 sheet, and fold in thirds to get a 4 by 8 sheet. Roll this sheet out again into an 8 by 12 sheet and fold in thirds again. Wrap and place in refrigerator to rest. (This is when I started making the filling)
4. Roll out into a 16 by 16 square. Use a cutter to cut circles to fill your tarts.

So I used about half of this dough for the tarts, the other half I made some pastries and filled it with traditional red bean. Then I realized since I used the last of my egg, I had nothing to glaze it with (no milk, no cream, no nothing!), so my flower pastries look rather plain, instead of glossy and lightly browned. It still tasted good in my stomach.

Oh boy, where did the time go. Anyone want to help me study?


evan said...

oh wow diddy, one of the best looking tarts i ever seen. they look like flowers!! i'm sure they taste great too. will give your recipe a try some day. thx for sharing!

karlsfoodie said...

how did u shape the flower shape cookie?? so nice leh...

fatboybakes said...

hey, great blog!!! what a great find. am dying to try the flaky recipe now.

diddy said...

thanks for all the complements!

To shape the flower cookie, flatten each round disc, cut 8 slits, and give each "petal" a quarter turn!
Thanks for stopping by!

peony said...

you are really good with your hands.
I love lemon meringue,( and anything that has lemon or limes) so guess your tarts would taste similar...
thanx for the tart recipe

Precious Moments said...

Diddy, you got a really nice tart tin. and I too love the flower shape cookie.