I went shopping for skinny jeans this week. I know you're wondering why on earth I'd bring up the topic of skinny jeans in a food blog, but skinny jeans shopping was a huge deal in my little world. You see, what I have been calling "skinny jeans" up until now are not actually skinny jeans. They don't really hug my curves in any way, and they are quite bulky at the knee. They hang off my hips in a way that offends my father, but I can't be bothered to wear a belt (sorry dad!). Enough said. I think you get the point.
So I went skinny jeans shopping with A and her sister V. We went to this place that's called "Jeans Jeans Jeans!" that carries so many brands/styles of jeans that they are hung from floor to ceiling. I went in with the attitude that I needed to try on a pair of skinny jeans to remind myself of why I don't wear them. Instead, I got served by a man (possibly the owner) who set out to prove me wrong.
The man even judged with a very serious "No." when I tried on pairs that were just wrong for me. Did you know that if a pair of jeans creates the dreaded "muffin top" on you that the jeans just aren't cut for your shape, and not (necessarily) that you should be hitting the gym a little harder? It's true! I learned this!
Within an hour, I left with two hemmed pairs of skinny jeans, and I even received a pep-talk on the way out from the man that helped me find them. I now own skinny jeans!
Okay, so I now own skinny jeans BUT I have yet to leave the comfort of my home with them on.
It's a process.
I've worn them in front of my mirror a few times. I'm mentally preparing myself to eventually wear them out in public.
These cranberry meringue tarts may or may not help me put on those skinny jeans and walk out that door.
When you make these, broiling (or blow torching) the meringue is a must. The burning turns a blah, one-noted sweet white blob into this dreamy, smoky, caramelized meringue. It's kind of like a toasted marshmallow.
I used Martha Stewart's pâte sucrée recipe for the crust. It made 6 regular tart shells (baked in a standard muffin tin) and 8 mini tart shells (patched together with scraps and baked in a mini muffin tray). Martha claims that you could squeeze out 12 tarts from this dough, but I don't see how unless you want them to have seriously thin crusts. In any case, this recipe yields crispy, flaky tart shells that aren't overly sweet. They are perfect vessels for curd and meringue.
I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light to make the cranberry raspberry curd. I used a combination of frozen cranberries and frozen raspberries because I'm moving so my goal is to empty the freezer. I changed the cooking method slightly and the end result was a tangy cranberry raspberry curd that set perfectly and was so delicious I ate more than I should have by the spoonful. The jewel-toned color is fantastic, and the tangy flavor can't be beat.
Cranberry raspberry meringue tarts
Makes 6 individual tarts + 8 tartelettes (or 12 individual tarts)
- 1 1/4 cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cups (115 grams) unsalted butter cold, cut
- 1 egg yolks (from large egg)
- 2 or more tbsp ice cold water
Cranberry raspberry curd ingredients
- 300 grams frozen cranberries
- 40 grams frozen raspberries
- 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup (188 mL) water, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks (from large eggs)
- 1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 egg whites (from large egg)
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch cream of tartar
To make the crust
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and the salt.
- Drop the cubes of cold butter into the flour and slowly work them into the flour with your fingertips. If the butter gets too soft, put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. You're aiming for the mixture to have a coarse texture.
- Add the egg yolk and 2 tbsp water. Mix it in with your fingers, being careful to not let the dough get too warm. Continue adding enough water (1 tbsp at a time) until the dough just comes together when pressed.
- Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough to an 1/8th of an inch. Cut the rolled dough into as many 4-inch circles as you can and carefully fit them into the cups of a muffin tray. Line the remaining standard muffin cups and 8 of the cups of a mini-muffin tray with the remaining dough scraps.
- Prick the bottoms of the crusts with a fork. Freeze the trays for 15 minutes before baking. Line each of the crusts with a square of parchment, and fill them with dried beans. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes, remove the beans/linings, and bake for an additional 5 or so minutes, until the edges are golden.
- Let the crusts cool, then carefully unmold.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, raspberries, 112 grams of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water. Heat the mixture on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the cranberries burst and soften.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, 113 grams of sugar, 1/2 cup water, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. While whisking constantly, ladle into the bowl a couple scoops of the hot cranberry mixture to temper the eggs. Then transfer the egg mixture to the saucepan.
- Continue heating, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 160°F.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl, pressing the leftover fruit to extract all the juices. Transfer the curd back to the saucepan with the butter, and heat on medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, and becomes glossy and no longer starchy.
- Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the cranberry raspberry curd to a jar to prevent any further cooking.
- Spoon the curd into the cooled tart shells, and refrigerate them for one hour.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to whisk together the egg whites and the sugar over a pan of simmering water. Heat the egg whites until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is hot to touch.
- Attach the bowl/whisk to the mixer and whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar, and then continue beating on medium-high speed until the meringue forms medium, glossy peaks.
- Turn the oven on to broil. Dollop (or pipe) the meringue over the curd-filled crusts. Broil them on a baking sheet on the top rack so that the meringue tops are nice and toasty. Serve immediately.
To make the cranberry curd