Ever notice how cooks aren't bakers and bakers aren't cooks? Well, I'm out to erase that distinction.
I was lucky enough to attend a pastry lesson at one of our favorite local bistros, A Toute Heure. Chef William Mauceri, the Executive Pastry Chef, is one of the most talented, humble and likable pastry chefs I have ever met.
His pastries are delicate, sweet (and sometimes savory), beautiful creations that are a delight to everyone of the senses.
On Monday, along with tasting the blueberry tart and berry cobbler we students created in class, Chef William presented us with two gorgeous savory tarts for tasting. The one I chose to sample was a carmelized onion and blue cheese creation that instantly took me back to Bayonne, France - land of the most amazing tart I'd ever eaten. He very humbly accepted my praise.. a lovely man and a lovely way to spend a Monday, learning, making and sampling pastries..
It's berry season in New Jersey and I suspect in many other parts of the world right now. Take advantage of the bounty and bake this up for yourself and anyone you love (or anyone you want to love you!)
Chef William Mauceri's Fresh Berry Cobbler: (makes about 6 depending on the size of your ramekins)
For the filling:
2 cups mixed berries (I'm using blueberries, blackberries and cherries)
3 tablespoons sugar
Wash and drain the berries. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. This will bring out the natural juices. Set aside (at room temperature)
2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup whole milk - cold
1/2 cup heavy cream - cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and stir with a fork to blend. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or pulsing a few times with your food processor. DON'T CUT THE BUTTER TOO SMALL. YOU WANT SOME CHUNKS
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, FOLD the milk mixture into the flour - gently. The dough should be very wet and sticky with visible lumps of butter.
Place a little butter cube in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon berries over. Tear off tablespoon size pieces of dough and place several on top of each ramekin full of berries. It's okay to not cover completely. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet (preferably with a rim - for cook-over)
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and berries are bubbling. Serve warm.
Thank you Chef William. Please save me some of that Mint Ice Cream you were making. I'll be in for dinner on Friday night.