My obsession with pie crust and bright berry fillings continues, but this time I've merged it with my love for decorating desserts to make them special-occasion-worthy.
After seeing some of Kelly Cline's beautiful floral pies on Instagram I knew that I had to give it a try for a Mother's Day dessert. My mom loves good pastry, and I love my mom so it was a good reason to make something fancy. Plus it was a chance to play around with my new Kenwood Cooking Chef, and an excuse to eat even more mini pies. Win, win, and win.
I recently received this mixer from Kenwood to test out in my kitchen. I wasn't familiar with the brand, so before agreeing to test it, I spent some time sifting through the bread forums to gauge what the general feeling was about their mixer's durability when faced with the tast of keanding dough multiple times a week.
Turns out, the brand is huge in the UK and has only recently moved to North America. It's known for being extremely durable and was well liked by the bread makers on the forum. Kneading dough is killer on your mixer, so if it's good enough for the bread forum, it's good enough for me.
What they sent isn't just any mixer.. although it might appear to be at first glance. It not only attaches a food processor and full sized blender, it also cooks food right in the bowl using induction heat! It's basically a kitchen robot (although I refer to it as my mixer spaceship).
Having the food processor attach on top is handy for making the dough: Simply dump in the flour, sugar, salt, and chunks of cold butter andpulse until the butter is roughly pea sized. Next, pulse in cold water until the dough still looks crumbly...
.. but holds together when pinched.
Then it gets dumped onto plastic wrap, divided into two piles, and pressed into squares that get chilled in the fridge while the filling cooks.
The filling is cooked right in the bowl of the mixer! There's a couple of attachments that work with heat, one is a flex beater with a silicon sleeve on each arm. The other is this stirring tool that moves the food around the outside of the bowl while also spinning an inner arm to keep the stuff in the middle of the bowl moving.
I chose the stirring tool because I wanted to see it in action, but the flex beater would have worked as well (I've used it to make risotto and it works like a charm).
The strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice go in the bowl and the temperature is set to 100c to bring it to a boil while stirring constantly. The mixer comes with a steam guard to protect the motor and a splash guard to keep the hot food in the bowl.
Once the mixture was bubbling and boiling, I reduced the temperature to 90c and set the timer to stir and cook for 7 minutes.
In theory, this would allow me to walk away from the food while it cooks and do other things. In reality, I'm still fascinated enough by the conduction cooking that I end up standing beside the machine watching it work. Me and my robot friend, just hanging out and cooking things together.
Sadly, it doesn't roll out the dough for you. So for this part you'll still need an old fashioned rolling pin.
The tarts start as two 4 inch rounds. One acts as the base, the other becomes the edge and flower details on top. The edge is created by using a slightly smaller cookie cutter to punch out the center, then a fork to press the ring dough to the base and create a lip that stops the filling from running out.
Then the smaller circle is cut into little flowers to decorate the top with. I have a variety of fondant cutters in flower shapes that worked perfectly for this, but mini hearts or diamonds would look nice too.
To assemble: a tablespoon or so of filling is placed on the base, and the flowers are arranged carefully on top.
Don't worry about getting each tart identical, it adds to their charm when they're a collection of unique designs.
At this point you can brush a little egg white on to them for a glossy finish, or leave them plain (like I did) and just stick them in the oven.
After 30 - 35 minutes of baking, they're all beautiful and golden and bubbling..
..the perfect Mother's Day treat.
(ps it doesn't have to be Mother's Day to bake your mom beautiful little tarts. Word on the street is that moms love surprises).
Makes 9 tarts
For the Crust
2 cups flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
½ cup very cold water
1 ½ cups diced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
1. To make the crust, attach the food processor to the top of the mixer and place the flour, sugar, and salt inside and pulse a couple of times to mix it all together. Next, add the cold butter and pulse until the pieces of butter are roughly pea-sized or slightly larger.
2. Pulse the water in one or two tablespoons at a time until the dough sticks together when pinched. It’s likely you will not need all of the water, and the dough will still look crumbly but should hold together when squeezed. You want to keep the dough flaky, so don't overwork it.
3. Dump half of the crumbly dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press into a square. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for an hour. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should be able to see small pieces of white butter in the dough.. that means it hasn't melted into the flour.
The filling can be made up to three days ahead of time, or while the dough is chilling in the fridge.
4. Fit the mixer with the steam and splash guard. Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of the mixer, and attach either the flex beater or the stirring tool. Set the temperature to 100C and stir at speed 1 for three minutes until the mixture is boiling. Once boiling, reduce the temperature to 85 - 90C and stir at speed one for 7 minutes or until the filling is glossy and the fruit cooked through.
5.Cover the filling with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge if you are making it ahead of time. If you're making the filling the same day, chill in the freezer to speed up the cooling process. The filling should be warm or cool, but not hot when you add it to the pastry.
Assemble the floral tarts:
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dust your counter with flour and roll out of one the squares of dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8th of an inch thick. It will be fairly crumbly, but try to avoid kneading it too much to keep it tender. I found that squeezing it together once helped it roll out nicely without losing the texture. Use a 4inch round to cut out two circles from the dough.
Set one circle aside to act as the base. Take a 3 - 3.5 inch round cutter, and cut out the center of the second circle. Use the tines of a fork to attach the ring shape onto the base circle to act as an edge. Cut flowers of varying sizes and shapes from the remaining circle of dough and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Top the edged bases with a tablespoon of filling, then arrange the flower cut-outs on top of the filling. Slightly overlap them onto the edges of the tart and gently press.
Bake the tarts at 350 for 30 -35 minutes until golden brown on the edges and bubbling inside. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
Note: I received this product from Kenwood in exchange for authentic, first hand reviews of the company’s offerings; All opinions are entirely my own. This post is in compliance with the FTC and its regulations.