One evening over the 4th of July holiday weekend, I found myself with an unusual episode of insomnia. As I clicked through the channels on my remote control, I came across a familiar TV personality on PBS: it was Martha Stewart! I settled on her cooking show, that was just getting starting, and watched her detail the makings of a perfect dessert tart. At nearly 1:30 in the morning, this was not helping me to fall asleep. Instead, I grabbed pen and paper and took notes while drooling over her beautiful creations. Fast forward to a couple weeks later, I was in need of a dessert for an upcoming dinner party. I remembered my desire to make a tart after watching her show. That’s when I decided this would be a great opportunity to make Martha proud with one of my creations.
I knew I wanted to make a butterscotch tart of some kind right off the bat. (You may remember Chrystal’s marvelous Lemon Coconut Meringue Tart from a few years ago.) Tyler Florence has a fantastic homemade butterscotch recipe in his Family Meal cookbook. This would serve as my jumping off point for the filling. Martha, on the other hand, was my main inspiration. I used her tart crust recipe, only adding in a dash or two of cinnamon, as is, and got to work. Thanks to our combined handy work, I’m happy to say the finished product was a smash.
Her recipe yielded one of the most perfect and easy to make tart shells to ever grace my fork. The tart as a whole was an awesome mix of a salty and sweet, with the cinnamon topped whipped cream balancing it all out. Thanks Martha for the motivation and enthusiasm to tie on my apron. Hopefully, this will inspire you to do the same. Bon appétit!
Butterscotch Tart – Serves 8 (Adapted by Martha Stewart and Tyler Florence)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for topping
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into small pieces and chilled (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes and chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon scotch whiskey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or extract
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Make the crust: In a food processor, add flour, cinnamon, and salt. Next, add chilled butter pieces. Process until mixture resembles a course oatmeal, about 10 seconds. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, processing the mixture as little as possible, about 10-15 seconds total. (The dough should hold itself together but not be wet or sticky.) Dumb onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a large ball, cover completely and chill for at least one hour to overnight.
2. When ready to make the tart, very lightly butter a 10 inch tart pan and set aside. Roll out dough to a size about an inch larger than tart pan. Cover pan with dough and gently press down completely into pan, cutting away any excess dough. Poke several holes around bottom of the dough with a fork. (This helps prevent the dough from bubbling up in the oven.) Then, cover with parchment paper and fill pan with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.
3. Bake in an 375 preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven. Remove parchment paper filled with weights, beans, or rice and return uncovered pie crust to the still hot oven. Let dry out for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until there is some coloring around the edges (do not brown crust). Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 1/4 cup of the half and half until fully dissolved. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat remaining half and half and heavy cream over medium heat. Mix in all remaining ingredients, except for the eggs, continuing to stir until fully incorporated (do not let the cream mixture come to a boil). Whisk in corn starch slurry and continue to whisk until the cream mixture is slightly thickened and reaches the consistency of a thin pudding, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit cool completely to room temperature.
5. Stir in beaten eggs, and pour butterscotch mixture into the ready tart shell. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until completely set. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing tart from the pan. Refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.
6. When ready to eat, whisk whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until a thick whipped cream forms. Serve the tart cool with piped whipped cream and sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon and sea salt flakes.
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