The last pastry hurrah. And goodness, did they go out with a bang.
The hardest part of this recipe was the crust, and that’s not saying much. Actually, the hardest part was probably picking the berries.
Unlike Bronwen, I had no trouble tracking down amaranth flour. From Bob’s Red Mill to New Seasons to Me. Not cheap, but easily acquired. I also picked up the mascarpone, a few things of butter (they have a store brand organic butter now, and boy is that the yellowest butter I’ve ever seen), and some ice cream (unrelated). It was an all-dairy shopping trip, except for the flour, but I quickly acquainted it with the butter so all was well.
I blended the pastry, chilled it for an hour, rolled it out. No matter how much I flour my counter, pastry sticks to it. I’m wondering if it’s the heat or that my tile is weirdly absorbant/sticky. I resort to a spatula to pry it up. I found that it did roll out quite nicely though, no cracks. Laid it in my tart pan (I used one large pan instead of 4 small ones and found that the quantities worked nicely).
From thence I bore it forth to my parents’ fridge, where it rested for another hour or so until Mom relented and let me bake it. In the meantime, we ate a delicious feast with three kinds of sausage, two kinds of chicken, two kinds of potato salad, stuffed zucchini, and a ratatouille.
I also went out into the garden and scavenged for berries. About half were boysenberries and half marionberries, and I could be seen practically laying under the low bushes looking for hidden berries. I believe I also sustained a few scratches.
While the crust cooled, I whipped the cream, then blended the mascarpone and a bit of sugar and vanilla. I forwent the vanilla bean on this occasion, and I can’t say I noticed its absence. The whipped cream was duly folded it and the entire concoction spread in the shell. At this point, were I to relive this experience, I would’ve chilled everything for half an hour or so to firm up the cheesy insides.
Some of the berries were simmered with sugar and water. I would omit the water since the berries gave off plenty of juice on their own. Can you see where I’m going with this? Everything was messy once the tart was cut open. This in no way compromised the flavor, instead encouraging me to eat up forkfulls that had fallen away from the main tart.
Finally, the fresh berries were arranged on the cheese, and the sauce was poured over top. For the first time, we see the pastry chef at work.
And then it disappeared.
Verdict: make it again, pronto. Good for serving it all immediately since it’s messy. Fairly simple. Amaranth in the crust gave a delicious nutty flavor and a fairly sturdy crust, worth the trouble. Easy peasy to assemble at the last minute when a crowd is roaring for its dessert, especially when you have a crust ready to go.