Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My happy place... the bakery !


I love bakeries, and baked items, just all things pastry. During my college years, there was a particular bakery in our hometown of Kottayam (located in the Southern Indian state of Kerala) which was my favorite happy place. It carries a certain nostalgic era for me of days gone by- the smells, and  endless varieties of tasty delights behind shiny glass counters. From an array of sweetmeats to fantastic finger foods, this local joint had it all!  It was the fun hangout where you'd meet up friends, chomp on majorly yum eats and sweets, maybe sip a "Sip Up" or two. Good memories all revolving around the good bakehouse.

So, I am going to render my version of a favorited item that originally comes from their ovens, a most popular fudge tart. I first had one of these rich and glorious miracles many years ago. They rendered me helpless, having me go back several times a week just to have a fix, and a cardboard box of not less than half a dozen.  Years went by and though I moved from place to place,  I'd visit and frequent this familiar house of sweet, claiming a substantial fill, (now, almost a birthright) on these utterly outstanding tarts.

So, then, what exactly is a fudge tart? A  rich, sweet, chocolate filled tart. Not. That is, the thick, sweet confectionary we often refer to as fudge here in the US it will not be. Instead, the "fudge" in fudgetart is actually a toffee caramel filled with nuts and raisins. Absolute decadence enveloped in a wonderful flaky crust cup. So, seeing the necessity to feed my craving and  the apparent absence of my wonderful bakery here in the U.S., I had to create my own tart of fudge. It may not be the same, but it's the best imposter, an incredibly good must try. Assured, you won't regret it.

Fudge Tart  Recipe:

Tart Shell:
 Readymade pie crusts work great when you're in a hurry. If you're really pressed for time you can substitute with the frozen/refrigerated tart shells. Just follow the directions on the back of packages. But if you're feeling ambitious, here's a recipe for a basic pie/tart dough.
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 8 tbsp cold butter (1 stick)
  • 2- 3 tbsp cold water

Method:
  • In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt and baking powder.
  • Cut butter in tablespoons and into flour mix  and pulse at 1 second intervals until butter is scattered throughout and mixture resembles cornmeal consistency.
  • Sprinkle in cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse with each addition until dough forms.
  • Knead slightly and shape dough into two equal sized discs. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for half an hour or up to one day.
  • Once chilled, take one disk out of refrigerator and roll to a thickness of 1/4 ' thick. If dough is tough, allow to soften a few minutes before rolling 
  • Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
  • Using a medium size glass or cup with a mouth 3 inches in diameter or a cookie cutter, press into flattened dough to  make  3 inch discs.
  • Press discs carefully into individual wells of muffin pans. Make sure to cover the bottom and press along 1/4 of the sides up. Repeat with remaining disc.
  • Prick  a few holes in the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork.
  • Bake 8- 10 minutes or until light brown in color.
  • Allow to cool slightly.   
Fudge filling:
Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp caramel syrup
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup salted cashews 
Method:
  • Put first three ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan  and bring to a boil on moderate heat
  • Boil for 4- 5 minutes, until slightly thickened, a scoop-able, but, not too dense consistency.
  • Take off heat.
  • Add raisins and cashews. Stir to combine well.
  • Allow to cool slightly.
  • Dollop a tablespoon into the tart shells.

Notes:
 Caramel syrup:
Heat 1/2 cup of sugar  in a high sided, heavy bottomed saucepan over a high heat. Without stirring, just swirl pan a few times to combine. Let the sugar dissolve .Once mixture boils add, 1/2 cup of hot water, being careful not to stand near as the hot mixture will splash. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, continue to simmer  for 8-10 minutes.Slowly swirl pan, to even out color and to keep mixture from burning and crystallizing on the sides of pan.Bring the color to a deep amber color. The syrup should be a slightly thick, pouring consistency now. Cool a bit and use 3 tablespoons for this recipe.


Leftover fudge can be refrigerated for unto 2 weeks. other uses: thin out with some warm milk or cream. Makes a great topping for ice cream, cheescakes. Maybe a dollop or two straight from the spoon to your mouth. No one will know ;-D 




2 comments:

  1. Hi Tisa,
    Thank you for following my blog and welcome to the foodblog world! Tarts from Ann's are my fav too and nice to meet another fellow blogger from my home town:)
    Keep posting and all the best!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Swapna! Your blog is an inspiration, love your pictures, I've gazed and drooled many a time. In fact, my mom- in- law mentioned you to me, she seems to know you quite well. Thanks again for the encouragement.

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