Peabody and her husband have bought a house! With a ginormous kitchen! She's having a housewarming party this weekend. And she's invited me (and a few hundred of her other blog buddies). I've spent the last several weeks trying to figure out what to bring...
Perhaps a new collection of baking spices? A new collection of recipes? A gadget or two to occupy her expansive counter top?
Huh? What?!? She wants me to bring *food*?
Have you looked at her blog?
And I'm thinking it would be rather poor form to show up toting a Peabody...
After some serious deliberation, I settle on one of our favorite desserts for potluck contributions this time of year... with a bit of a twist; a sweet-sensation we discovered several years ago in a back issue of Gourmet magazine. A Maple Syrup Pie, made famous at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec. Made this evening in Peabody's honour as tartlets.
Maple Syrup Tartlets
recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Issue #41 and Gourmet Magazine, November 1999
10-1/8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Maple Syrup Pie filling
Preheat oven to 350.
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times to blend. Distribute the butter in the bowl and pulse 7 to 8 times. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. In a small bowl, beat the egg, egg yolk, water, and vanilla with a fork. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and pulse 5 to 6 times. Process until the mixture just begins to form a mass, 8 to 10 seconds. Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times until the dough is just smooth and malleable. Shape it into an evenly thick 6-inch square. Using a pastry scraper or the dull side of a long knife, score the dough at 1-inch intervals so you get thirty-six 1-inch squares. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Lightly spray three muffin tins with vegetable oil. Using the score lines as a guide, cut the dough into 36 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball in your palms (lightly flour your hands, if necessary). Put one ball in the center of each muffin cup.
Use a narrow, flat-bottomed glass or your fingers, lightly floured, to press the dough into the cups.
Tilt the muffin tin to see if the dough reaches the same level in all the cups; also check for any holes in the dough, which could cause the tartlet to stick to the pan. Rub your thumb around the rim of the dough in each cup for a clean, smooth edge. Slightly less than 1/2 inch of each cup should be exposed. Chill for at least 10 minutes to firm the dough before filling and baking.
Fill tartlet shells 3/4 full with maple syrup mixture from pie recipe. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until pastry is golden and filling is puffed and looks dry but still trembles.
Cool and serve with creme fraiche or unsweetened whipped cream.
Last year tonight, this story was honored as among the "Best of Holidailies 2006".
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