Friday, August 19, 2011

. . . happy birthday to you

oops. so, yeah, i'm sorry because i am awful at this sometimes. basically, here is how my last week went:

wednesday: blog! success. followed by a rebecca minkoff event with a couple of friends (and many bloggy friends); great fun, didn't have my camera. i'll attempt to scrounge something together for this soon.

thursday: no blog. woke up late and rushed to work, then scrambled to the anthropologie event; great fun, HAD camera, took a few photos but somehow zero of the clothes. derp. will certainly put something together on this soon. dashed home, packed to go to california for a few days, fell asleep watching the daily show at 1 am.

friday: wake up at 4 am to catch car to airport. fly to california. arrive. family! hugs! food! beer. sleep.

(this cycle is pretty much repeated over and over until tuesday morning, when i spent the day flying back to NYC, with the exception of sunday night, when my sisters and i made a big fancy anniversary dinner for my parents [post pending] and spent monday at disneyland [post pending.])

wednesday: back at work. camera dead. super tired. late night dinner with sam & a couple out of town friends at prime meats, a major brooklyn recommend. woke up late on. . .

thursday. work. too late to take outfit photos. thanks to a hair removal cream *incident*, probably wouldn't want to, anyway. bake cinnamon rolls at work, leave early to see colbert report (AWESOME) then head home to order/gorge on cheap mexican food and watch chef reality tv with my husband. MARRIAGE.

which brings us up to. . . friday! today. woke up late, dashed to get bagels for the office, and have basically been buried in paperwork and receipts since. sam & i and a couple of our friends are leaving straight from work to head down to the jersey shore for the weekend, so i have my fingers crossed for sunlight although it looks like we're doomed to a weekend full of rain (no matter, i can cook, eat, drink and sleep in rain OR shine.)

so, my apologies for my lack of posting/responding/commenting for the last ten days or so; i've been busier than usual, but also just kind of let myself have a bit of a vacation from blogging for awhile. which sounds really stupid, because blogging is something i do voluntarily and greatly enjoy. just not when surrounded by my family and beer all day.

anyway, sam went out of town the night before i did last week, to go on a major fishing mission with some pals; i hadn't made him any birthday cake or anything, at his insistence, but raced home after the rebecca minkoff event to make him a berry tart so he'd have something to blow candles out on. he came home as it came out of the oven, and we decided to let it cool while we watched some 'river monsters' in bed (because we are the coolest) and, short story kept short, i woke up asleep on his macbook pro at 1 in the morning. we'd both fallen asleep and didn't get to eat any tart. i had special candles and everything! but he took it fishing with him and said that it was the best thing at least one of the guys had ever eaten, so i'm going to take his word for it and post the recipe. it did LOOK pretty damn good.


this recipe is pretty much exactly the same as this one, right here. but you have to have a membership to the site to see it, and i assume you aren't all giant suckers like me, so i'll copy it here.

pate sucree

1 large egg yolk
1 T heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 c confectioners' sugar (about 2 3/4 ounces)
1/4 t table salt
8 T unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 T unsalted butter
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 c sugar, plus 1 T
1/4 t table salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 t Kirsch or framboise, optional (i didn't have this, and didn't use it.) (obviously.) (obviously that i didn't use it, i mean, SINCE i didn't have it.) (sorry.)
1/4 t grated lemon zest
1 1/2 t lemon juice
2 T Wondra flour (i used cake flour, since i didn't have any wondra on hand. nor have i ever. i had to google it to find out what it is. apparently it is a "low-protein, pregelatinized wheat flour to which some malted barley flour has been added. it has been formulated to dissolve quickly in either hot or cold liquids, and is most often called for to thicken gravies and sauces." so it actually does sound pretty handy.)
2 T heavy cream
2 half-pint containers fresh blackberries (about 10 ounces total), picked over (i used half raspberries, half blackberries, and just eyeballed the amount.)

for the tart pastry: whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl. combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor with four 1-second pulses. scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about twenty 1-second pulses. with machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together, about 12 seconds. turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 11-inch round. (if dough becomes soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable.) transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely over rolling pin and unrolling over 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners and sides of pan with other hand. press dough into fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. (if some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet or large plate and freeze 30 minutes. (frozen dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen up to 1 month.)

meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet; lightly spray one side of 18-inch square heavy-duty extra-wide foil with nonstick cooking spray. press foil greased side down inside frozen tart shell, folding excess foil over edge of pan; fill with metal or ceramic pie weights (or lentils - that's what i use. cheap and easily available. you can save & reuse them over and over.) bake until pastry appears dry and pale gold under foil and edges have just begun to color, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. return baking sheet with tart shell to oven and bake until sides are medium golden brown, about 5 minutes; set on wire rack to cool.

for the filling: while tart shell is cooling, heat butter in small saucepan with light-colored interior over medium heat; cook, swirling or stirring occasionally, until butter smells nutty and milk solids at bottom are golden brown, about 7 minutes. transfer butter to small heatproof bowl to stop cooking; cool butter until just warm to touch. whisk egg and egg white in medium bowl until combined; add sugar and salt whisk vigorously until light colored, about 1 minute. whisk in warm browned butter until combined; then whisk in vanilla, framboise, and lemon zest and juice. whisk in wondra flour (or cake flour,) then whisk in cream until combined.

add berries and bake: distribute blackberries in single tightly packed layer in bottom of cooled tart shell. pour filling mixture evenly over blackberries. place tart on baking sheet in oven. bake until fragrant and filling is set (does not jiggle when shaken), bubbling lightly around edges, and surface is puffed and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating sheet pan after about 20 minutes for even browning. cool on wire rack to room temperature, at least 1 1/2 or up to 6 hours. remove tart pan ring; slide thin-bladed spatula between tart pan bottom and crust to loosen, then slide tart onto serving platter. cut into wedges and serve.

making sure i am clear about where credit is due: this recipe is from cook's illustrated, which i highly recommend but does charge a subscription fee. i made a couple small changes, which i noted in parentheses, but mostly followed this recipe to the letter. i happened to have some pate sucree left over from another tart i made a bit ago, so it was very quick & easy for me and, apparently, delicious.

thanks for sticking with me, and i am going to do my best to do a post or two this weekend to try to catch up - the only time i opened my computer in california was to dump out my camera's memory card, which was filled with 90% pictures of my nephew, pete, and 10% pictures of food. i'm not sure which is more DELICIOUS. (weird.) i then re-filled it with lots of photos at disneyland, including sneakily (and, some would say, creepily) taking photos of every little girl i saw in a princess costume.

have a great weekend!

xo audrey


  1. OMG that looks beautiful!
    And hey, blogging takes effort even if it is fun!

  2. Busy days mean you have more to write and less time to write it.
    Your tart looks amazing. I LUV berry tarts but I've never tried to make one. I will add this to my list of things to make once I decide that I would like to be a good cook ;)
    I used to get my Dad a subscription to Cooks Illustrated every year for his birthday. When he'd make me the recipes inside it was always worth it.

  3. Well that was nice of you to share! Blogging comes and goes...we'll all be here when you get back :) Sounds like you had a great time out west and for the record - your marriage sounds like mine (or will be in two weeks!).


  4. Mm, looks divine. I commend you for keeping up with blogging at all! I've been starting blogs and abandoning them for years. Finally though, I'm keeping up with one as I have a topic to keep me centered: my wedding planning. Turns out I just needed a little excuse.

  5. i find it interesting to hear what you've been up to (living vicariously!) - afterall, it's good to take time to enjoy the finer things in life, otherwise we'd have nothing to blog about :)

    those i <3 you candles are the cutest!

    Have a fab weekend!

    Katie x

  6. Missed you, lady. But you have to have some experiences to blog about! I'm excited to hear about everything! xoxo

  7. so tasty looking! and what an amazing candle :)

  8. delicious tart! i'd love something like that for my birthday since i'm not really a cake person (we had pie for our wedding). sounds like a SUPER busy week for you (i just started back to school this week so i can relate, a little). what fun to have a nice weekend with family. definitely no need to be blogging when you should be eating up all the time you can with them. (again, i can relate). anyway, looking forward to all those scheduled posts you mentioned when you can get to them (take your time, we can wait).

  9. I read this whole thing, but the entire time I was like, 'Anthropologie event? WHAT?' You seem to go to lots of 'events' that I can not wrap my midwestern brain around. Although right now out in corn country, the threshing bee is happening. I think that's exactly what it sounds like. At any rate, despite your absence from blogging, your life still sounds delicious, awesome, and fancy to me [especially falling asleep on a macbook PRO. Pro denotes fanciness].

    Lauren @ See Parrot

  10. haha possibly my favourite part of this post: "MARRIAGE!" the tart looks amaaaazing. also, if you like the beach but don't dig the crowds, there's an amazing little shore town right near Asbury Park called Ocean Grove. it's great for weekends--lots of cute inns and some great bakeries and amazing ice cream. i'm headed there on monday (if there's no rain). hope it's sunny for you guys!

  11. Whoa, sounds like a crazy but VERY fun week! This tart looks incredible...I would rather have an amazing tart like this than a birthday cake for sure. You're so lucky you got to see a taping of Colbert Report -- that must have been the coolest!

  12. Um, I love this... You should get behind and do catch up posts more often. I may have snorted a few times during my guffawing.
    OMIGOSH, that TART! I've got a major case of the jealous drools over here....
    I can't wait to hear more about your trip out to my neck of the woods! Especially your hair removal incident, parent's anniversary dinner (more jealous drooling to ensue, I'm sure) and the pretty princesses. My brother and I play what appears to be a horrible game where we take note of how attended a particularly cute child is and exactly in what way we'd be able to distract it's parents to take him/her home. Hmm... Now that I read that, maybe it IS a horrible game.

    Next time you're out here, you'll be staying on MY couch. I can't offer you food but I can offer you beautiful weather, beaches, photography seshes and I'll probe your brain. Just kidding... we call it 'chatting over coffee.'

    Did you see the Colbert report live?! I laughed when I read the section you wrote that ends in, "Marriage" and then reread it as 'Mawwiage' (from Princess Bride).
    As for your offer, I would love NOTHING more. NY + cheeseball kitchen karaoke + food? Oh hells yes. It's most incredibly flattering to hear you say we're like mirror images. As soon as I found your blog, I thought, "This girl is awesome!" and had to go back and read old posts. I hadn't thought about it consciously until you pointed it out but yeah, we do have a lot in common. I'm like the crappy side of the old vintage mirror, though, totally lagging behind you in the cooking department and fashion world and humorous writing section and... well, you get the picture. But I think we'd get along splendidly in person. Which is good. Cuz I'm gonna take you up on your offer someday.