Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Presidential Race Tartelettes

I would estimate that I spend up to one third of my waking hours on the computer each day, and one of the most engrossing ways in which I procrastinate or avoid impending work, not including this blog (which, it appears, I have not been very engrossed in at all recently), is reading news and political blogs. This isn't really any more enjoyable than actually completing my work; in fact, it is ultimately less so, because my sense of a looming catastrophe is made even more strong, and I achieve no feeling of accomplishment from fretting over politics. Sometimes we all need a break. This recipe is a break from my break. I don't get much done. Have you noticed?

The title of this post is a stretch, I'll admit, but! These berry tartelettes feature red and blue berries, coexisting peacefully, and making everyone happy. While we watch speech after speech of politicians claiming to have our best interests in mind, these delicious desserts are just WAITING to please.

I baked these over a month ago, and I know that berries like these are no longer in season, and some of us might be disgusted by the artificial, overpriced fruits in the produce section nowadays. The good news is that I'm almost certain that frozen mixed berries would serve just as well!

Also, I will be honest with you--I did not intend, originally, to make tartelettes. I wanted to make turnovers. However, as usually occurs in my kitchen, mistakes were made. I miscalculated how my many changes to this recipe would factor in to the consistency of the dough. And so, I pressed it into muffin tins, filled it with berries, and voila! Still delicious, if slightly less beautiful (than the turnovers, which were hypothetical, anyway).

Nothing is perfect. Except Tina Fey's Palin impression.

Rustic Chocolate Berry Tartelettes
(These are whole grain, and vegan, too!)

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup Earth Balance, chilled
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
2 tsp. salt
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1 cup ice water

1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blackberries
1 pint blueberries
(OR 3 cups frozen mixed berries)
3 tbsp. sugar

1. Mix the berries with sugar in a bowl, and place in the refrigerator. This is called "macerating!"
2. Combine flour, salt, cocoa, and sugar.
3. Cut small pieces of the Earth Balance and shortening in with knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers. (TIP: For any pastry or biscuit dough, the fat needs to be super cold to keep it from melting. I put my EB & shortening in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand! Also, you can use cold water to keep your fingers cold if you're using them to mix.) I have heard that a food processor works for this, but unfortunately I do not own one.
4. When your mixture is a coarse meal with pea-sized chunks, begin to pour ice water (by the tablespoon) into the bowl, kneading until a dough is formed. You may not use all of the water.
5. Cut the dough ball into two equal parts. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, grease a muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
7. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a floured surface. Cut into squares, and press into muffin tins. Fill with berry mixture.
8. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
9. Allow to cool COMPLETELY (several hours) before removing from the muffin tin. Alternatively, you could bake these in individual molds, and eat them warm straight from the molds.

This makes about 12 tartelettes (enough to fill a muffin tin) if you taste-test the dough, as I did!

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