A deeeeeelicious tart that is actually really simple to make!
I'm that person that have always been quite shy about my birthdays, believe it or not.
Even though I always have a celebration every year, it really is more of an excuse for me to gather my friends/family together to share a meal. Just saying that it's for "my birthday" makes me kind of uncomfortable already. Maybe it's because I feel like it puts me under a really awkward spotlight for the day that I don't even know how to react to it. Same when people IRL ask me about my food blog. That said, I care about people coming together for the meals very, very much. Also, I am more than grateful for the great friends and family I have in my life. I appreciate every single one and me throwing a "birthday party" is more a celebration of the people I am blessed with in my life than anything else.
So this year, I thought I'd invite my friends over to a picnic at the park. Chilling out at the park is one of my favourite things to do. Ever. And with food, friends and kickass weather involved, it really was my ideal "birthday celebration" to have. Although, my real birthday is actually on Monday and I'm looking forward to another get together then.
The menu is actually a reflection of food that I have come to LOVE to eat. The local food, cuisines and fresh produce that I have fallen madly in love with ever since I moved to Australia. Very different from the heavy, Asian and rice-centric (lol) meals I've grown up with in Malaysia. I don't prefer one over the other, but I must say that I do love my salads and Italian cold meats with good quality bread. Maybe it's because I've been having it so much with my colleagues at our weekly Friday lunches =)
To be honest, the past year has actually been the best year of my life. Got my PR. Graduated from Masters. Got a job that I love. Great friends and family. Really does feel like I'm rich in the things that matter. Counting my blessings each day and definitely going to look back on the year that I was 22. I know, I'm much younger than most people think.
As much fun as it was being 22, I'm sure being 23 is going to be even more AWESOME.
Here's a recap of what I prepared:
Bought 8 beautiful figs for $3 at Victoria Market
Still very new to figs but absolutely LOVEEE it. Whether it's in a salad, tart or just on its own, I've just loved every experience I had with it. YUM
Love this photo that my friend took!!
Spread of food before us but whole party standing aorund and waiting for me to finish taking the photos one by one hahaha...
Sun-Dried Tomatoes Hummus using Yasmeen's recipe
It's so pretty and yummy. Thanks for that, Yas! Loved it and went so insanely well with the Turkish pide bread!!
Tuna Pasta Salad...
...Using the filling from my previous Tuna Melts Recipe
Love that there's this awesome Italian deli near my workplace!
Mortadella with Black Pepper
Rustic Ciabatta with Italian Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
This Ciabatta from Victoria Market was soooo good I couldn't get enough of it!
Also bought some delicious Turkish Pide and Olive Baguette (not pictured) for the day
Smoked Cheese and Gouda
Actually bought some delicious Jarlsberg cheese too, but I left them at home. Argh!!
Super easy and refreshing Fizzy Passionfruit and Mint Punch
Personally love this so much
My homemade Fig Frangipane Tart with Sour Cream Pastry and Creme Anglaise!
With frangipane filling made with my buddy Elliot's recipe
The frangipane was a huge hit thanks for your recipe dude!
Shameless selfie! Lol
Fig Frangipane Tart with Sour Cream Pastry and Creme Anglaise
The reason this was the PERFECT dessert for me was:
1) One of the best pastries I had was the sour cream pastry I had at Maggie Beer's farm in 2010, so I re-created it
2) I love love love any baked goods with almond meal, hence the frangipane
3) Figs, figs, figs!
4) Don't have a sweet tooth but boy do I LOVE my custards...
A) For the pastry
(adapted from this recipe by Maggie Beer)
200g butter (chilled and cubed)
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
125 ml sour cream
1) Preheat oven to 180degC. Pulse the butter, flour and salt in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Alternatively: press the cubed butter into the flour with a fork until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
2) Add the sour cream and pulse until dough is incorporated to a ball.
Alternatively: add the sour cream and knead with hands until mixture is incorporated
3) Wrap dough in cling wrap and chill in fridge for 20 minutes.
Note: Butter in the dough melts at room temperature and chilling it makes the dough easier to work with. Otherwise, pastry will be too soft and difficult to use.
4) Remove dough from fridge and roll out until 3mm thick
5) Line dough carefully into springform tart pan and remove excess from the edges. Poke holes all around the base of the tart with a fork (almost to the bottom)
Note: This helps prevent base from puffing up due to the pent up steam during the baking process
6) Line with baking paper and fill with rice or baking weights.
Note: Helps retain its shape
7) Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, before removing paper and rice/weights. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove from oven and set aside to chill at room temperature until needed.
Note: Tart will shrink from the sides a little. It's normal because liquid in the tart is evaporated during the baking process. Removing weights halfway helps the base of tart to dry up
B) For the frangipane tart
(adapted from a recipe given to me by Elliot from Musings of a Young Gourmet)
125g butter (softened)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup plain flour
6 - 8 ripe figs (sliced in half)
1) Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy
2) Add the egg yolk, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined
3) Add the flour and almond meal and beat until well combined
4) Spoon into par-baked pastry case and press figs into the filling
5) Bake in pre-heated oven at 180degC for 35 minutes or until golden brown
6) Remove from oven and let it chill at room temperature until ready to serve
C) For the creme anglaise
(adapted from this recipe by Food Wishes)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1) Place the cream, sugar and egg yolks in a small pot.
2) Use a knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape the seeds into the pot. Whisk mixture together with a fork until well combined.
3) Heat the mixture at low heat and stir constantly (while scraping the bottom) with a spatula until mixture thickens
Note: You will notice mixture will thicken when the volume starts to increase slightly and the waves you make from stirring move much slower than when you started
4) Strain mixture through fine mesh and chill in the fridge until required
Sounds like a lengthy recipe but if you read it carefully it's actually really quick and simple to do! It's just that I added lots of notes to help you guys along the way =)
Super yummy and delicious dessert... Perfect combo of flavours all round. Really good if I do say so myself!
Fizzy Passionfruit and Mint Punch(an original recipe)
3 (1.25L) bottles of Schweppes Lemonade
2 handfuls of mint leaves
1) Slice the passionfruit in half and scoop out the flesh.
2) Mix everything together in a big container/pitcher
3) Chill in fridge until ready to drink and ENJOY!
Thank you also to my friend Grace for being such a nice model for the drink =)
In the end, it was a really fun, relaxed and enjoyable time spent. Looking forward to my dinner tomorrow night too! Take good care, everybody.