Ah, rx4foodies’ 32nd birthday. A time for fun, celebration, and piles and piles of good food! If only birthdays were not so fettered with emotion at my house. Yes, rx4foodie and I each have our own uniquely complicated relationship with getting older and celebrating birthdays. This year, for rx4foodie, it came in the form of critical self examination. It was the year of “what now?” and “is this all there is?” The days leading up to her birthday were filled with the sounds of Dr. Chang’s own unsettling version of an existential, quarter-life crisis.
So, as her loving and doting partner what was my answer to ease her pain you ask? What else, lots and lots of food. Food for days. We invited a friend over for dinner Friday night, went out with another couple for sushi Saturday night, shared breakfast at a favorite local spot Sunday morning, and then the coup de grace. Birthday night dinner. Like most households, our most steadfast tradition for holidays and events is a very large and laborious meal. For obvious reasons, this time around I opted for comfort food.
The menu: roast beef with a garlic and herb rub, mushroom risotto with truffle oil, roasted broccoli, and a berry tart equip with burning candle on top. I won’t bore you with the gory account of my day in the kitchen. Unlike you dear, rx4foodies reader, I am not adept in the culinary arts and limit my time in the kitchen exclusively to sous chef duties as needed. Below is the recipe for my berry tart, the only part of the meal that is my own and not followed line by line from a recipe, enjoy.
1 cup whole wheat four
1 and ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter (chilled)
2-3 tablespoon ice water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a food processor combine flour, butter, salt and sugar and pulse until combined into pea sized balls. Slowly add in the ice water until the dough forms into a large ball. Remove from the food processor and refrigerate in a glass bowl for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut into 12 inch circles and pat into tart pans, leave some excess dough around the edge as the dough will tighten and shrink in the oven. Put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and then bake frozen for 12 minutes, or until it is a light golden brown.
Pastry Cream Filling
8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese (you can use cream cheese, but we prefer the taste)
4 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (we like it less sweet, so add to taste)
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 bar of dark chocolate
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until melted and then spoon a thin layer on the bottom of each cooled tart shell and set to cool in the refrigerator. In a food processor or electric mixer, beat the tofutti, whipping cream and sugar until the mixture is aerated but still firm (like loose pudding). Scoop the mixture into the tart shells and top with fresh berries. I suggest that you let them set in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes before serving.