Shortbread Pastry (make a day in advance & rest in fridge)
Castor sugar – 81 grams
Unsalted premium butter, softened (plus more to butter your tart ring) – 127 grams
Large egg – 50 grams
Vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped – 1 unit
All-purpose flour (plus more as needed for dusting) – 186 grams
Corn-starch – 47 grams
Kosher salt – 1 gram
For Italian Meringue
Egg white – 2
Castor sugar – 130 grams
Water – 70 ml
Cream of tartar – 1/4 tsp
Lime juice from bottle – 134 ml
Fresh lime juice, strained – 6 ml
Maldon salt – 1 gram
Orange juice – 6 ml
Gelatine leaf, soaked in ice water – 1
Soft peak whipped cream – 220 ml
Italian meringue – 134 grams
Gianduja – 224 grams
Dark chocolate – 112 grams
Whipping cream – 160 ml
Frangelico liqueur – 25 ml
Chopped pistachio (for rolling centres) – 150 grams
Dark chocolate (for dipping) – 450 grams
Citrus salad for Garnish
Whole orange segmented, fillet – 3 units
Whole grapefruit segmented, fillet – 3 grapefruit
Baby basil leafs, picked – 8 tiny heads
Baby fennel leafs, picked – 8 tiny heads
Candied Orange (this must made two days in advance)
Peeled orange skin, cut in quarters lengthwise – 3 units
Sugar – 3 cups
Water – 3 cups
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the confectioners’ sugar and butter for 30 seconds on low speed. Add the egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and mix on medium speed until evenly combined.
- Working on a cutting board, press the vanilla bean flat, then use the tip of the paring knife to halve it lengthwise, from tip to tip. Turn the knife blade over and use the back of the blade tip to scrape the seeds from the centre of each half.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn-starch and salt with the mixer on low speed, stir in the flour mixture and vanilla bean seeds until just combined and no more dry patches are visible, about 10 seconds more. Finish mixing the dough by hand to ensure it is not over-mixed. The dough should be creamy, smooth and have the consistency of cookie dough.
- Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface and sandwich it with another sheet of parchment paper, flattening it into a 1-inch thick disk.
- Transfer the dough disk to a sheet pan or baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Liberally flour the work surface and rolling pin. Unwrap the dough and transfer it to your work surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. (Make sure to work fast so the dough doesn’t get too warm.) Place on a sheet pan and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (If you feel your dough is still cold and easy to work with, you can proceed directly to the next step without chilling the dough sheet.) Tip: You can also roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment, if you find that your
rolling pin is sticking to the dough. It also helps when transferring the rolled-out dough onto the sheet pan before chilling in the fridge.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slide the dough sheet to a work surface. (Peel off the layers of parchment paper, if used.) Using the tart ring as a guide, cut a circle from the centre of the dough sheet that is 1 inch (2.5 cm) wider than the outside of the ring, so that the dough round will be big enough to come up the sides of the ring.
- Now: the fun part. You’re going to “fonçage” the tart dough or form it into a tart shape in the tart ring. First, butter the inside of the tart ring. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the tart ring at the centre of the pan. Place the dough round on top of the ring. Push down gently with your fingers and press the dough along the inside of the ring, making sure to get into the inside edges. It is important here not to press too hard and to keep the tart shell an even thickness so that it does not bake unevenly. Use a paring knife to trim the excess dough hanging over the edge of the ring. Return to the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Tip: If your dough starts to feel warm and lose its shape, return it to the fridge for 15 minutes. Chilling the dough allows the gluten to rest. Working with dough that is too warm or overworked will cause the finished product to shrink while baking.
- While the tart shell is chilling, place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) for conventional or 325°F (160°C) for convection.
- Blindbake the tart shell by lining it with parchment paper or a large coffee filter so the surface of the dough is completely covered. An easy trick to folding the parchment is like folding a snowflake, where you fold it in quarters and keep folding smaller segments to the point, cutting in a curve to form a circle. Press the parchment completely to the side of the tart dough. Tip: Since tarts are filled with creams or mousses (which cannot be baked), you will have to bake the tart shell in advance of filling it. This tart dough won’t rise too much, so if you do not blind-bake the tart shell in advance, it is still going to be ok. Some tart or pie crust recipes will tell you to “dock” (or pierce with a fork) the bottom of the dough before baking to prevent it from puffing up. You DO NOT need to dock this dough as it won’t rise too much, especially as it is being weighed down with pie weights during the blind-baking process. Fill with enough rice or dried beans to hold down as weights. Bake the tart on the centre rack for 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s a light golden, sandy colour and you don’t see any wet spots.
- Bake the tart shell on the centre rack for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for 8 more minutes or until the tart shell is a light golden brown. Unmould the tart shell while still warm. Let cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. Tip: Always make sure your tart shell is fully cooled before you start assembling any cream-based tarts. If the shell is still too hot or warm when you pipe in your pastry cream, you will end up with a soggy-bottomed tart.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat, brushing down sides of pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until sugar syrup registers 120°c on an instant read or candy thermometer.
- Meanwhile, combine egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; alternatively, wipe the mixer bowl with egg whites over medium speed and mix until soft peaks form (when lifted, the head of the mixer should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that very slowly collapse back into themselves), about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to high and whip until desired stiffness is achieved.
- Combine all juices in a pot and heat it up to 45°C, add the gelatine and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down slightly.
- Fold in half of both the meringue and whipped cream with a spatula, and then repeat the process with the other half to ensure you are left with a light fluffy mousseline.
- Fill a pipping bag with the mousseline and pipe directly into the baked pastry tart or tartlets
- Break the chocolate and gianduja into small pieces and place in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir frequently until melted. Heat the cream over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and slowly add to the melted chocolate. Stir until completely blended and smooth. Add the Frangelico and stir until blended. Wipe the bottom of the double boiler with a towel and pour ganache into another container to cool. It is best to let it cool slowly, but the refrigerator is ok. I place it in the garage overnight, where the temperature drops to
the mid 40s °F
- Once the ganache has cooled sufficiently, pipe or scoop into balls using a pastry bag or melon baller, depending on the method you choose. Set up workspace with a drop cloth and roll truffle centres using cocoa covered hands until round. Place in airtight container until ready to enrobe or consume.
- Let the chilled truffle centres approach room temperature since centres that are too cold will pull your chocolate out of temper more quickly and are more likely to crack the chocolate shells or ooze through holes. You can use a drop of chocolate under each corner of the wax paper to keep it sliding on the cookie sheet. Dip in chocolate and place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper to harden. If any truffles to crack or have other holes, you can just partially dip the offending portion by hand.
- Decorating is optional but is done very quickly and adds more “wow” factor to your candies. If can also aid in distinguishing between different truffle centre dipped in the same kind of chocolate. I prefer to decorate in a contrasting colour of chocolate, so that usually means white or milk chocolate, but you can also add colouring to white chocolate to come up with your own colours. Whatever you do, don’t think you can skimp on tempering the chocolate for decorating.
- Once the chocolate has been tempered, I usually just spoon some in a small plastic bag (one with sharp corners) and snip off a corner and start piping. You can do intricate designs, but I find that you get better results by not taking your time and working quickly rather than slowly and deliberately. My favourite decoration is also the fastest-repeated stripes in one or two directions across all the truffles.
- Cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Cook in large pot of boiling water 30 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.
- Bring 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat simmer until peel is incredibly soft, about 45 minutes. Drain.
- Toss peel and 1 cup sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to sheet of foil. Let stand until coating is dry, 1 to 2 days.
- Cut into any desired shape