Individual Tarts a la Poilane. These summery tarts I made with frozen blueberries. Use four cups of peaches, plums or any summer fruit.
This precious video on the late Lionel Poilane aired over a decade ago on CBS News Sunday Morning. I've been inspired by it on several occasions. Poilane's craft exemplifies the art of transforming simple ingredients into the extraordinary; simple human motions and mindfulness creating food superior to that which can be produced by machines, so superior it exists in an entirely different realm.
Watch the segment here.
Who was this magic maker Poilane? A baker in Paris. Against his will he started work in his family's boulangerie at age 14. But now, thanks to his art, Poilane Boulangerie is legendary with several shops in Paris and two in London.
I'm swept away by the simplicity of his Parisian bakery in this charming video with Dorie Greenspan and Poilane. Be mesmerized by his hand (one hand, actually, for dough making) as the fingertips swirl the flour, sugar, egg and butter on a table, out of nowhere creating the dough for his famed Punitions or "punishment cookies. " Are we not all capable of creating such magic in our kitchens?
I'm thinking of the great Poilane as I make these summery fruit tarts. An adaptation of his recipe for Tartelettes Aux Pomme appears in the New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and it was here I got the idea of dividing pastry dough into 6 pieces and making individual tarts instead of one pie.
I've long been a fan of "foldover" pies, where the pastry is rolled out rather imperfectly, the fruit piled high in the middle and the dough brought up, folded over the fruit. No pie plate, no crimping, fluting or lattice weaving.
Homemade Apple Pie from the SimplyCooking® archives discusses the Wabi Sabi aesthetics of the imperfect foldover pie and also gives the recipe for a basic pastry dough. Follow the recipe for SimplyCooking® All-occasion Pie and Tart Crust - I've repeated it here, too. Chill the dough for an hour then proceed, as follows, in making individual tarts. The tart recipe was inspired by and adapted from Tartelettes Aux Pommes (Lionel Poilane) from the New York Times Cookbook. Lastly, let me add, this works most wonderfully with summer peaches.
1 recipe All-Occasion Pie and Tart Crust
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups summer fruit, sliced thin if necessary**
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the fruit and sugar and cook a few minutes until bubbly. Set aside.
Divide chilled dough into 6 even pieces. Form each piece into a flattened disc. On a lightly floured surface roll out to 6 or 7 inches and place each round on a rimmed baking sheet.
With a slotted spoon, place fruit filling in the center of each round of dough. Drizzle some of the juices from the pan, but don't use it all if it seems too much and runs everywhere.
Frozen fruit will yield more juices, so you may not want to use it all. Save it to make a fruit sauce.
Fold the dough up around the fruit, leaving an open circle of fruit in the center. Brush well with beaten egg. Bake 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crust is golden.
**Note: Frozen fruit will work. The tarts pictured were made with frozen blueberries.
all-occasion pie and tart crust
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. AP flour
1 - 3 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
pinch of salt
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a small bowl and chill for a few minutes in the freezer. Place a measuring cup with 1/4 cup water in the freezer; just long enough to get it ice cold. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 8 times. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the mixture is even and coarse. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the cold water. Process until fine and crumbly and just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remove and shape into a flat disc. Chill between two pieces of waxed paper for 1 hour.
**Note: Adjust the amount of sugar for your taste and what you are doing with the crust. For a goat cheese tart use less sugar, perhaps more for a fruit pie.