Adapted from Ina Garten
The secret to an exceptional carrot cake. Multiplication and long division. The value of making lists and taking notes. How to fold a roll of fabric before cutting out a pattern and how to make garlands out of construction paper. The importance of always doing the right thing. These are all things I learned from my mother.
My mother has always loved Paris, and when I was a teenager, we'd sometimes jet off for a week during the summer. It was always just the two of us - a welcome break for and from my father, who preferred spending the long days on the beach with a fishing net in his hands. Each trip brought a new round of lessons and firsts. The thrill of a beautifully wrapped package. The necessity of a well-tied scarf around one's neck. That a chocolate croissant and a large hot chocolate could be a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Each and every morning.
And then there were the desserts. Nougat glaceé. Île flotant. Giant bowls of ice cream topped with flags and streamers and whipped cream. And raspberry tarts. The raspberry tarts were the best.
The first time I had one, we were sitting in a museum garden cafe. Everything was laid out cafeteria-style, and you put whatever you wanted on some giant, plastic tray and paid at the end of the line. We each got some sort of sandwich or quiche, and a yogurt in those fancy glass jars they sell over there, and then, without saying a word, my mother picked these two miniature raspberry tarts and put one on each of our trays. We sat down in the garden, surrounded by art and flowers, and everything was perfect. Especially those tarts. They were unlike anything I had ever had eaten. Juicy, plump raspberries with a sweet, sticky glaze on top, all in a buttery crust. These are so good, I almost want another one, she said, as we both looked down at our empty trays. Go for it mom, I said. And so we both did. Gladly.
Ingredients for one tart:
Make the Tart:
The secret to this crust is that all of the ingredients have to be cold. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in as small bowl, and put the bowl in the freezer.
After 30 minutes, remove the bowl and put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process 10 times. The dough will be ready when it starts to look like peas. Add the ice water a little at a time until the dough comes together.
Flour a wooden board and your hands. Dump the dough onto the board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375° F.
Flour the rolling pin, and roll out the dough so that it fits into the 9-inch tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and press down along the bottom and edges. I find that draping the dough over my rolling pin is an easy way to transport it to the pan and lay it out. Don't over stretch the dough as you press it into the pan because the dough will shrink as it bakes. Roll your pin across the top of the pan to remove any extra dough. You can use it to patch up any holes or tears that may have developed as you were transferring the dough to the pan.
Butter a piece of aluminum foil and place it, buttered-side down, over the tart shell. Top with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, preferably on a wire rack.
Add the apricot jam to a small pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until liquid, about five minutes. Pour half over the tart shell.
Arrange the rasperries on top of the jam in a circular pattern. I usually buy three pints to make sure I have enough great-looking berries because no matter how carefully I check, there are always a few that have gone past their prime in every pint. Brush the top of the tart with the remaining apricot jam and let cool before serving.