Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chocolate Raspberry Tart: Raspberry Tart Day!

Today is Raspberry Tart Day, not to be confused with Raspberry Cream Pie Day! For that holiday I posted a recipe for Black Bottom Raspberry Cream Pie! I favor Driscoll's Berries, especially since I can find them in the market year round. I live in California, so that's pretty easy. Driscoll's Berries are always sweet and fresh. I love raspberries!

So in honor of the day, here's a recipe for a Chocolate Raspberry Tarte (or Tart)! This recipe is adapted from the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. Of course, it has a chocolate crust! The crust in this recipe is not the usual one I make from chocolate cookie wafers. This one is made using cocoa powder, and you'll taste the difference. Of course, use only the best ingredients -- the very best cocoa. The original recipe calls for making 15 tiny tartlettes, but you can also make one big tart (or a pie, if you only have a pie pan). A tart is usually made in a shallow fluted pan, usually with a removal bottom -- a tart pan. Tarts rarely have an upper crust.

For the jam at the end, I use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, one of my favorites. Of course, if you have your own raspberry or strawberry jam, use that!

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TARTE!

Ingredients
4 ounces sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
3/4 cup raspberry jam (or strawberry)
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 tsp water
powdered sugar

Directions
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use spatula to scrape down bowl and beat another minute if there are lumps of butter. Add egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down sides.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until dough comes together (but still has small to medium clumps) and looks moist with dark uniform color. Scrape down bowl. Use spatula to incorporate anything not mixed in.
Put dough in tart pan with removable bottom (or pie pan, if that's all you have). Press dough evenly along bottom and up sides of pan. (as with any pie dough, if it isn't working for you, stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes)
Use knife to cut off dough that is above top of pan (save left over dough for repairs). Put dough filled tart pan in fridge for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place dough filled pan on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use any leftover dough to repair cracks. Bake another 8 minutes.
Remove tart pan to cooling rack and use rounded side of a spoon to press center down and make more room for filling. Let cool completely (in fridge, if you have to).
Put aside Tbsp of jam in a small bowl. Spoon rest of jam to cover bottom of tart crust.
Put chocolate in heatproof bowl. Put heavy cream in small saucepan. Heat cream until it just starts to boil, then pour over chocolate. Begin whisking to blend completely and melt all chocolate. Pour ganache into crust.
Refrigerate tart for 1 hour or until filling is firm. Remove from fridge and arrange raspberries on top tart.
Mix reserved Tbsp of jam with 1/2 tsp of water and heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Brush jam mixture onto tops of arranged raspberries (just a little to make them shiny).
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: Sift with powdered sugar before serving.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day: Queen of the May Chocolate Cake, Maypole Parfaits

I love May Day with its Maypole, Morris Dancing, and all the traditions I grew up with. Chocolate Cake on May Day, alas, was not one of them. Nevertheless, here I am many years later,  and I still love everything about May Day.

Check out my list of May Day Crime Fiction and Morris Dancing Mysteries on Mystery Fanfare.

This Retro Baker's Chocolate Advertisement above fills that void of chocolate treats with these recipes in Ladies Home Journal for Queen of the May Chocolate Cake and Maypole Parfaits. FYI: I was never the May Queen, although I did dance around the Maypole.

Be sure to scroll down for a history of May Day, Queen of the May, and Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The May Queen"



From Wikipedia:

The May Queen or Queen of May is a term which has two distinct but related meanings, as a mythical figure and as a personification of the holiday, and of Springtime.

Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.
Sir James George Frazer found in the figure of the May Queen, a relic of tree worship:
According to popular British folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish, but while in truth it might just be an example of anti-pagan propaganda, frequent associations between May Day rituals, the occult and human sacrifice are still to be found in popular culture today. The Wicker Man, a cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, is a prominent example of these associations.


The May Queen
 by Alfred Lord Tennyson

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

There's many a black, black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,--
But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be:
They say his heart is breaking, mother--what is that to me?
There's many a bolder lad 'ill woo me any summer day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you'll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side 'ill come from far away,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the live-long day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

All the valley, mother, 'ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale 'ill merrily glance and play,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.