Rainbow Tarts: A Fun and Colorful Cooking Guide

Add fun, flavor and color to your spring meals with recipes from Emilie Guelpa's cookbook, Rainbow Tarts.

Few things get a true food lover’s blood pumping like the return of ripe, vibrant spring produce to supermarket shelves and farmers markets. As strawberries start to creep back into their lush glory, the mind wanders to one of the kitchen’s simple pleasures: the tart. Simplicity doesn’t have to mean flat flavor, though, as evidenced in Emilie Guelpa’s Strawberry Sugar Tarts from her cookbook Rainbow Tarts (recipe below for you to try at home).

Guelpa’s approach to tarts is simple and clean but stunningly beautiful. The book is written and assembled with a designer's eye, featuring beautifully represented flavor combinations leaping off the page and tickling your hunger for more. The recipes are easy to make, pairing a base dough with a color topping and then a white topping. The book offers recipes for four different types of base dough (chocolate shortcrust, salted hazelnut, shortcrust and salted Parmesan) and then four different kinds of white cream toppings (chantilly, Italian meringue, French meringue and panna cotta), plus an assortment of other white topping options (like shredded coconut, rice pudding, mascarpone and more).

The real artistry comes to life when she plays with flavors, pairing everything from peas with bacon to beets with goat cheese. There's a fantastic balance of sweet and savory ideas, ranging from orange with chantilly to beef with aioli. The flavor possibilities are as fun as they are endless, and Guelpa includes a culinary palette section that will leave you inspired to dream up flavor combinations of your own that fit your fancy long after you've tried all 50 recipes in the book.

Dig into Rainbow Tarts, bearing these helpful tips from Guelpa in mind:

1. Feel free to make your own creations using fruits, vegetables, candy — or anything else you can think of. The important thing is to combine a white base at the bottom with a (more-or-less uniform) color at the top.

2. The recipes in Rainbow Tarts are given for two tarts of approximately 4 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches (11 centimeters by 14 centimeters). If you don’t have a baking tin that is the correct size, you can use a larger tin and make an aluminum foil lining to adjust the size.

3. When cutting pastry to size, you might like to cut a piece of cardboard to use as a template (cut the pastry a little larger than the desired size, as it will shrink while cooking).

4. One tablespoon is the equivalent of four teaspoons.

5. The most important thing is to have fun! The kitchen should be a place of sharing, experimentation and relaxation.

You can order a copy of Rainbow Tarts here.

Strawberry – Sugar Tart
Base:
1 quantity Shortcrust pastry (recipe below)
Color topping:
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
35 grams (1 1/4 ounces) caster (superfine) sugar
A few mint leaves
15 strawberries, trimmed and halved
80 grams (2 3/4 ounces) strawberry jam
White topping:
70 grams (2 1/2 ounces) icing (confectioners’) sugar

To make the base, follow the recipe for Shortcrust pastry below.

To make the white topping, mix the icing sugar with about 1 tablespoon of water (the mixture needs to be thick enough to not spread but not be too dense).

To make the color topping, combine the vinegar, sugar and a few mint leaves in a small bowl. Add the strawberries and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Spread the strawberry jam onto the upper part of the base and arrange the marinated strawberries on top. Spread the sugar icing on the lower part and decorate with a few mint leaves.

Shortcrust Pastry
160 grams (5 1/2 ounces) flour
25 grams (1 ounce) icing (confectioners’) sugar

50 grams (1 3/4 ounces) unsalted butter, coarsely chopped into small pieces

Pinch of sea salt
1 vanilla bean
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk

Line a tray with baking paper. Combine the flour, sugar, butter and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the vanilla bean lengthways, and scrape the seeds into the bowl using the tip of the knife. Add the egg and milk, and roughly combine using your hands. Tip onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and forms a ball. Add a little flour if the dough sticks. Roll the dough and cut into four 12 centimeter by 15 centimeter (4 3/4 inch by 6 inch) rectangles. Place onto the prepared tray, prick with a fork and then chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Recipes and photography from Rainbow Tarts by Emilie Guelpa. Copyright © 2014 by Emilie Guelpa. Used with permission of Hardie Grant Publishing. All rights reserved.

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