>> Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The same thing again: I had some cherries in the fridge softening and wrinkling... I still remembered how nice they looked when they entered my life... time flies. I resolved to use them in a nastily healthy and easy dessert without a hint of sugar (revolting). So what better use than in some nice tartlets with minimal doughness and maximal fruitness, this type, but smaller and with a dough recipe from a Finnish cookbook D. brought me some years ago from a business trip to Finland. That's the gift I like best: an indigenous cookbook.
Besides it was an unbeatable excuse to dig out that indispensable gadget every decent family should have at home: a cherry pitter. Because... I'm sure you've been in desperate need of a cherry pitter some time in your life. I don't remember my life before it, it has changed so much ever since that summer I found my cherry pitter in a trip to Germany... sigh. Clever people, those Germans... enough to sell us any absurd cooking gadget. In the same trip I bought a nice lattice pastry roller (another sigh). Haven't used it yet though, but it doesn't matter, there's still hope.
Being that Finnish don't get to grow many cherries in Finland, they make the tartlets with juicy forest fruits, of which they seem to have plenty. The tartlets must be delicious with cranberries and the like.
You can see the gadget is rather simple: a plunger pushes a cross-headed spike that presses the cherry against a little hole and pits it. The pits go down into the container and the pitted cherry goes out through the right side... OK, almost always... fine... sometimes it comes out that way. I love the released juice, at the end of the pitting the counter looks like some slaughter scene. And it does vent your frustration.
Dough (from Food from Finland, Anna-Maija and Juha Tanttu)
Use any device you like to mix the dough ingredients, even your hands, until it is more or less blended. Roll it on a well floured counter and sprinkle some flour on top too to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. According to the Finnish this dough yields between 12 and 14 tartlets. They must be gnome-size tartlets. The traditional way seems to make them extremely thin, "to see seven churches through it". These Finnish are peculiar. As I am not Finnish I only made 4 round tartlets of around 13-14 cm with the edges folded. The recipe advises to form the dough into a bar and then cut it into equal balls, as many as you like, to be rolled.
Once the bases are nicely rolled, quite thin but without overdoing it, lay the pitted cherries on it and pleat the edges as far as you like, at your own free will (yes, you do have that). Sprinkle the top with the sugar or sweetener chosen to your taste. Yes, I know many people don't know what to do with so much freedom and need to have the whole way marked... But you've got to try.
And then to the oven preheated at 200 ºC for half an hour. Watch closely so that they don't get burnt.
They would have been delicious with some cream on top, you can add it, I didn't do it. I only sprinkled some powdered fructose. The salty touch in the dough is very interesting, I really liked it. Be careful with the juices released in the base, you can end up covered in juice. It would be easier to eat bite-sized tartlets. I will do it next time. This is a wonderful way to use softish fruit, I look forward to making them with peaches or apricots.