Years back, I was introduced to Matt Lewis, of the now very famous Baked Bakery in Brooklyn. I wasn’t ‘actually’ introduced to him, but rather, I was tuned into the Martha Stewart Show the day he got his feet wet on national T.V. As he and Martha walked the audience through the process of making his over-the-top Sweet and Salty Cake, I knew without a doubt that Matt was someone to remember. At the first opportunity, I made his cake, and as anticipated, it was a big success and loved by everyone who ate it. I longed to visit Baked and vowed that if I ever got to New York I would do just that.
Little did I know then just how many trips to New York were to be in my future. Over a dozen would have been a good guess, and that only brings me to today. My little girl has been accepted to NYU’s grad school and so it seems that there will be many more visits to the Big Apple in the coming few years. You may find this as hard to believe as I do, but in all those trips, I still have not made it to Baked. I have eaten my way through many of Manhattan’s finest bakeries, but Baked hasn’t been scratched off the list as yet. There isn’t even a good explanation, other than the fact that Matt’s bakery is located SOMEWHERE in Brooklyn, not exactly a hop, skip, or a jump from where Jael lives.
So what does all this have to do with a Butterscotch Tart, you might ask. Imagine my delight when I found out (years ago) that Matt and his co-author Renato had written a cookbook. Finally, if not directly in my mouth, all the little goodies sold at their bakery would be in my hands. What a book! Far from the ‘same old, same old’, their recipes are all about taking the classics and adding a modern twist. Every recipe in the book is impressive and tempting, but one that has held my attention for years is their Butterscotch Pudding Tarts. The forward to this recipe says “tarts that are surprisingly easy to make”. Well, yes and no. Just the crust part alone required a half dozen steps, a decent level of skill, and a fair amount of time. I would debate their disclaimer that these tarts are ‘easy’ – but I took care of that.
With a desire to simplify this recipe, I adapted the crust to one that is pressed into the tart pan, no rolling required. Making it even less complicated, I made one 12-inch tart instead of eight individual ones. The tart’s filling is much the same as the original. Scotch would be the obvious whiskey in a true Butterscotch pudding, but given my Kentucky roots, I couldn’t help but go with Bourbon instead. You choose according to your whiskey preference. Let me just say, the pudding filling is incredible. The essence of both caramel and vanilla arrive assertively on the palate, and the creaminess of the pudding calls for lingering an extra few seconds on the tongue. The pudding nestled in a crust of whole grain oats further accentuates the complexity of the tart.
I am headed to New York in a couple of weeks. Guess where I will be going. Since baking this tart, I have re-ingnited my desire to visit Baked Bakery. Hum, should I go there before or after Dominque Ansel’s for a Cronut? Decisions! Decisions!
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons Bourbon (or whiskey of choice)
Have ready a 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Tart Shell: Put the rolled oats in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds, until ground but not powdery. Add the flours, brown sugar, and salt and pulse until combined. Add the melted butter and pulse just until the dough comes together. Break the dough into pieces and scattered them evenly over the bottom of the tart pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Chill the tart shell for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely.
Filling: Put the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water and stir gently with a heatproof spatula; do not splash the side of the pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the mixture begins to turn a dark amber color. Swirl the pan, if necessary, to create an even color, but do not stir. Remove from the heat, let stand for 1 minute, then use the heatproof spatula to stir in the cream. Pour the caramel into a small bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk.
Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and, using the tip of the knife scrape the seeds into the saucepan with the milk. Add the vanilla bean to the milk as well. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the caramel. Whisk together until combined, then whisk one-third of the mixture into the egg yolks. Keep whisking the egg mixture and add another third of the hot milk mixture. Transfer the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the milk mixture and, whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until very thick.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and the whiskey. Keep whisking for about 1 minute more to cool the filling slightly. Let the filling sit for about 15 minutes, then remove the vanilla bean. Pour the filling through a fine mesh strainer into the cooled tart shell. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Can be made a day in advance.
Yield: One 12-inch Tart
Source: Adapted from Baked