Seafood Tarte Soleil

Tarte Soleil or sun tart, is a stunning example of how the simplest recipe can be turned into an artistic creation. I’m forever looking for a new idea to incorporate seafood into our meals. I’ve never been a huge fan of puff pastry but it certainly does have its place. A flour, water and butter based preparation that has a neutral flavor makes puff pastry perfect for either sweet or savory dishes.

You have probably heard the phrase ‘laminated’ dough. This refers to the process of folding butter into dough multiple times to create very thin alternating layers of butter and dough. The gluten in the flour also gets developed during the folding and rolling process. This is unlike other baked goods where butter is creamed in with the sugar and flour. The laminated dough, when baked, results in a pastry with hundreds of flaky, airy layers.

The three original laminated dough’s are puff pastry, croissants and danish. Croissants and danish contain yeast, puff pastry does not. In addition, danish contains egg which the others don’t.

Whether you like this type of pastry or not, there is no denying, it has lent itself to many ‘creations’, giving them a unique taste, that most will enjoy.

With a nice combo of wild salmon and baby scallops inside my sun tart, it was not only a pretty presentation but had a great taste.

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Seafood Tarte Soleil
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Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine salmon, scallops (or shrimp), cream, onions, parsley, dill, garlic, pesto, salt & pepper. In another bowl, beat egg white on medium speed until soft peaks form; fold into seafood mixture. Set aside in refrigerator.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit a baking sheet at least 12 X 12-inch in size. Remove 1 sheet of thawed, puff pastry from refrigerator & roll out on 1 of the sheets of parchment to form an 11 1/2-inch square. Using a pot lid or bowl, cut the largest possible circle from the pastry. Transfer the pastry (on parchment) to baking sheet & place in refrigerator. Repeat procedure with the second piece of pastry.
  3. Remove the first pastry circle from the fridge. Spread the filling mixture on the circle, to within 1/4-1/2-inch of the outer edge. Use a pastry brush to lightly wet the edge of the pastry. Top with the second circle of pastry, using your fingers to lightly press the pastry together.
  4. Place a 2 1/2-inch diameter glass or jar lid in the center of the pastry. Use a ruler & the tip of a sharp paring knife to score the pastry from the edge of the glass to the outer edge of the pastry at 12, 3, 6 & 9 o'clock. Score each quarter in half, making 2 triangles. You will have 8 triangles when your'e done. Place tart in freezer for NO MORE than 5 minutes before continuing.
  5. Use a sharp scissors to cut each triangle cleanly along the score lines from the outer edge of the glass. Remove the glass. Place your index finger of your left hand at the top of a triangle (where the glass was). Use your right hand to twist that triangle 3 times. Go around the circle, repeating with each of the remaining triangles. Refrigerate tarte for at least another 5 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare egg wash & brush it over the tarte. Bake about 20 minutes. Rotate the tarte 180 degrees & lower the temperature to 375 F. Bake another 10 minutes or until a rich golden brown color. Remove from oven & transfer to serving dish. Nice to serve with a dill cream sauce & fresh steamed broccoli florets.

Dinner ‘En Croute’

Today, November 24, our neighbors to the south are celebrating Thanksgiving. Over the years, Brion and I have been in the USA numerous times on this occasion and enjoyed the food and holiday atmosphere very much. Today’s blog post acknowledges the American holiday with some special meal choices.

At the heart of a memorable dinner is the main entree, so why not make it just a bit more special by serving it  ‘En Croute’.  In the culinary arts, the term en croute (pronounced ‘on Kroot’) indicates a food that has been wrapped in a pastry dough and then baked in the oven. Traditionally the type of pastry used was a simple dough called pate pastry. Today, puff pastry  is frequently used for most en croute recipes.

The key to preparing items en croute is that however long it takes to cook the pastry until it is golden brown is how long the item will spend in the oven. Some of the best choices are beef tenderloin, salmon or a brie cheese, due to the fact they require less time to cook.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, Beef Wellington or as the French called it, ‘Boeuf en Croute’, became very popular. It was an elegant meal, using a beef tenderloin covered with liver pate and wrapped in pastry. My first introduction to this meal was a much more low key  version. It was simply achieved by making a nicely seasoned meatloaf, wrapping it a basic pastry and baking it. My mother would serve it with a tomato soup sauce. Definitely good but not quite the elegance of the true en croute entrees.

Two favorites of mine are variations of the classic ‘boeuf en croute’. One uses boneless turkey breast topped with a cranberry, hazelnut stuffing and baked in a tender puff pastry then served with a citrus-fig cranberry sauce. The other one is a seafood en croute using fresh salmon. The salmon is topped with shrimp or scallops in a seasoned egg/cream mixture and baked in puff pastry. A dill cream sauce is served to compliment this entree. Having a few alternatives to change out your traditional holiday meals always keeps it interesting.

 

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Turkey / Seafood 'en Croute'
Alternative ideas for those special occasions.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
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Instructions
Turkey en Croute
  1. Saute garlic & onions in olive oil & butter 1-2 minutes. Add bread crumbs; toss until they begin to brown slightly. Add hazelnuts, thyme, cranberries, salt & pepper. Add only enough turkey stock to make stuffing hold together.
  2. Place the first pastry sheet on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place turkey breast along the center line of the pastry sheet. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Place stuffing on top of the turkey. Place the second pastry sheet over the turkey & stuffing. Trim the edges to form an oval shape. Save the trimmings in the fridge.
  3. Bring the edges of the dough together & seal by pinching them. Roll the dough from the bottom layer over the top layer & press down all the way around the perimeter of the pastry. This creates a tighter seal. Brush egg wash over the entire surface of the pastry. Decorate, cutting leaf shapes from trimmed pastry & score leaf veining into them with the tip of a sharp knife. Cut four 1/2" slots in the top of the pastry to let steam escape. Chill for 20 minutes or longer in the fridge before baking. This helps the pastry to puff.
  4. Bake at 400 F. for about 15-20 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 F. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the center has reached at least 170 F. to be sure the turkey is completely cooked, about 35-45 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into servings.
Citrus - Fig Cranberry Sauce
  1. Simmer all ingredients together slowly for 30-40 minutes or until the cranberries are fully cooked & the mixture reduces & thickens to a jam-like consistency. Stir the sauce often as it simmers. Remove the star anise (if using). Store in a plastic container in refrigerator until serving time.
Seafood en Croute
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll each pastry sheet into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Cut each sheet into four 6 x 5-inch rectangles. Place a salmon fillet in center of four rectangles.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the shrimp (or scallops), cream, onions, parsley, dill, garlic, pesto, salt & pepper. In another small bowl, beat egg white on medium speed until soft peaks form; fold into shrimp mixture. Spoon about 1/4 cup over each fillet.
  3. Top each with a pastry rectangle & crimp to seal. With a sharp knife, cut several slits in the top to let steam escape. Place on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch parchment lined baking sheet; brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 F. for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 F.
Dill Cream Sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients & refrigerate until serving time.
Recipe Notes
  • The original recipe source for the Cranberry Hazelnut Turkey & Citrus Fig Cranberry Sauce can be found at rockrecipes.com
  • The cranberry sauce uses star anise or extract but feel free to omit it if you do not care for that flavor.
  • The Seafood en Croute recipe is one that is featured on tasteofhome.com  which has always been my favorite 'go-to' recipe company forever.