Posted by Jo W. in , , , , | 6:33 PM 1 comment
For our picnic, I contributed two loaves of rustic bread and fruit tarts. The bread dough gets a long, slow rise in the refrigerator, which develops flavour and a beautiful crumb. If you want to make the bread in a day, skip the rise in the fridge and place it in a warm spot to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours. For the fruit tart, I made a lime curd and added strawberries. You can use different berries and other fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, peach slices, etc. I just used what I had.

Rustic Bread  
adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice
makes 3 loaves


4 1/2 cups all purpose flour or high-gluten bread flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 3/4 cup ice cold water
cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

Making the dough
Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. With a spoon, stir in the water a little at a time until it is absorbed. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook on medium speed until the dough become smooth and sticky. If kneading by hand, knead vigorously for 5-7 minutes while moving the bowl in a circular motion with your other hand until the dough becomes smooth. The dough should be sticky, but able to clear the sides of the bowl. If it's too sticky, knead more flour into it. If it's too dry, add a teaspoon of cold water at a time to the dough.

Resting the dough
Place the dough on a well-floured work surface and cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Flour each piece and gently round them into balls. Wrap loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours) or up to 3 days. If you want to bake the loaves on the same day, place the covered dough in a warm spot and let it rest for 1.5 to 2 hours.

2 hours before baking the bread, remove the bread from the fridge and gently press the dough down to distribute the air bubbles. Cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap and let it rest for 2 hours. If your dough is already room temperature, skip the rest and shape your loaves.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a baking pan on the top shelf, and if you have one, a baking stone. Have a cup of hot water ready.
After letting the dough rest, shape your loaves into either a long baguette shape or a round boule (ball). For the baguette, use a sharp knife to cut 3 diagonal slits. For the boule, cut an X on the top. Sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina flour on the baking peel, or on a pan if you aren't using a baking stone. Gently place the loaves on the peel or pan, and slide the loaves in the oven. Immediately pour the cup of hot water on the empty baking sheet on the top shelf. Be very careful of the steam and don't get water on the glass door.
Lower the temperature to 425 F and bake for 25 minutes or until the loaves are a nice golden colour.  

Fruit Tarts
 Lime curd

1/3 cup lime juice
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp lime zest
4 Tbsp butter,cut into pieces

Place lime juice, sugar, and eggs in a medium metal bowl and whisk until combined. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water so that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir constantly while the curd is cooking until it becomes thick, like sour cream. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer to remove lumps. Add the butter and zest and stir until butter is melted and combined. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Fruit Tarts

You can make one large fruit tart or many individual tarts with this recipe. I made 6 individual tarts about 3 inches in diameter. 

6 Tbsp (one stick) butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp ice-cold water
lime curd
assorted berries and fruits

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Cut butter in small pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt, and with a fork, cut the flour into the butter until the dough resembles small pebbles. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass. It should not be very sticky, and should hold together when squeezed into a ball.
Generously flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 1/3 inch thick. Cut circles slightly larger than your tart pans. Gently press the dough into your tart pan, making sure that it is molded into the pan. With a knife, trim off the excess dough at the edges. Poke a few holes on the bottom of the tarts with a fork. 
Bake for 20 minutes or until the crusts are a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and let the crusts cool completely in the pan. 
Remove cooled crusts from the tart pan and fill with the lime curd. Arrange fruit on top of the curd. I used sliced strawberries and lime wedges.

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