I hope you enjoyed my last blog post, where I shared with you the recipe for Spicy Sunshine Tear & Share Bread – the first of the musical bake series. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can catch up with it here!
As I said in that post, musical theatre is very important to me – from the music and the stories they tell to the effect that the shows have on my day-to-day life. ESB Musical Bakes are a way for me to share my favourite shows by creating a recipe inspired by the show and the world it created for me. And for every recipe, I will also cover a song from the show to hopefully whet your appetite to find out more about the show yourself!
In this post, I am going to share with you the ‘swellegant, elegant’ old time musical favourite, High Society.
I got the chance to see the show at London’s Old Vic Theatre in 2015. With music by Cole Porter, the show was directed by Maria Friedman and blew me away with the staging and cast, led by Kate Fleetwood as Tracey. It was performed ‘in the round,’ with the stage in the middle of the auditorium, surrounded by seats, which meant all of the action happened right in front of you, sweeping you into the story with the cast.
The story follows the life of the socialite Lorde family preparing for the coming second marriage of their eldest, spoilt daughter, Tracey. The night before her wedding, Tracey’s Uncle Willie throws a party to celebrate the occasion and the guests gather. Amongst whom are a couple of news journalists undercover to get the story of the century to secure themselves a job, Tracey’s mother and father who are separated but still in love, and Tracey’s ex-husband, CK Dexter Haven, who arrives to make amends with Tracey and make her re-marry him properly after their failed marriage. We follow their entwined stories through the party and beyond, to see whether Tracey will get back together with her true love, Dexter, or will go through with marrying her self-made commercial fiancée, George Kitteridge.
In addition to the songs made famous by the original film, such as ‘Well did you evah?’ and ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?,’ this staged version of the show, first premiered in 1998, includes a number of songs from Cole Porter’s extensive back catalogue, some of which I hadn’t heard before. These include ‘Once upon a time,’ ‘She’s got that thing’ and ‘Just One of those Things’ among others.
Inspired by the show, I have come up with ‘True Love Tarts’ – blueberry tarts made with homemade rough puff pastry. In the show, ‘True Love’ comes at the end of Act 1 when Tracey, having been given a model replica of the boat she travelled in for her honeymoon by her ex-husband, Dexter, sits beside the pool and reflects on the love she felt for Dexter and possibly still feels. The boat, the True Love, encapsulates all the love that Dexter and Tracey feel for each other and therefore it makes complete sense to pay homage to it in this recipe.
Although puff pastry can be complicated, I have always had a yearning to make it. So I was delighted to find a recipe for rough puff pastry that required half the time to make than the original. The recipe I have based mine on is The Flavor Bender‘s recipe and I would suggest having a look at her step by step recipe first to get an idea of how to do it.
The difference between puff and rough puff is that you use grated butter, not a block as well as very cold ingredients to allow you to make the pastry quicker (without resting in between) but get a very similar effect. You can, of course, buy good quality all butter puff pastry to make it easier, but I do think it’s worth giving it a go if you have the time, as it tastes so much better than shop bought and is lighter too. Also, using good quality French butter (like President) is preferable to unbranded alternatives as it has a higher fat to water ratio and therefore makes the bake even more flaky and delicious!
Here is my cover of ‘True Love’ so you can listen while you bake!
And so without further ado, let’s raise the curtain on ‘True Love Tarts’
True Love Tarts
Inspired by High Society
Makes 8 individual tarts
For the rough puff pastry
350g plain flour
60g butter, grated and frozen
200g butter, grated and frozen
8 – 10 tbsps. ice cold water
1 tsp salt
For the filling
200g full fat cream cheese
2 tbsps. icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 packets of blueberries, 125g each (with a few leftover!)
An egg yolk
A large mixing bowl
A rolling pin
2 baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper
A sharp knife
A table knife
A pastry brush
A fish slice
A Wire Rack
How to make the bake
- A couple of hours before making a start on this recipe, grate the two blocks of butter and freeze them in individual sandwich bags. At the same time, weigh the flour and freeze in another sandwich bag. (ESB Top Tip : Freezing flour may seem odd but it does make a difference to the finished result if all the ingredients are freezing cold!)
- To make the pastry, combine the flour, 60g butter and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter in as much as you can and then add the water till it comes together as a dough. (ESB Top Tip : It’s important that the ingredients are very cold as it makes the dough easier to make quickly!) Knead the dough gently for a minute or so and then leave to rest in the fridge for 5 – 10 minutes.
- After the short rest, take the dough out of the fridge and roll out into a long rectangle. Put half of the butter onto 2/3 of the dough and then fold the dough end without the butter into the centre and then fold the other end over the top. (ESB Top Tip : I would recommend reading Flavor Bender’s recipe to see how to do it as it takes a bit of thought but once you understand, it’s simpler than you think!) Turn by 90 degress and then roll the dough out again into a long rectangle. Repeat the first step with the second lot of butter and turn 90 degrees. Re-roll and fold the dough 3 more times to laminate with the butter and then leave to rest for 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200’C and line the baking trays with greaseproof paper. Take the pastry and cut in half. Roll it out into a rough rectangle, and cut into 4 smaller rectangles. Put them on the prepared trays and use the sharp knife to cut a border on each tart. Use the remaining pastry to make the boat to float on the top – reroll into a square and cut into 4 small squares and use the sharp knife to cut a rough ship shape – by cutting off the top corners into a triangle and doing the same at the bottom and cutting an indent to make sails.
- Prick the middle of the tarts with a fork and then make the filling by mixing together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Put a tablespoon of the mixture onto each tart and spread out with a table knife.
- Wash the blueberries and arrange in rows on top of the cream cheese mixture. Then brush the outside border of the tart and extra boats with egg yolk and bake in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. (ESB Top Tip : The blueberries will bleed but it just makes the tarts look more like a swimming pool!)Leave to cool on a wire rack before putting on the pastry ships on top of the tart at a jaunty angle to look like it’s bobbing up and down on the water. Perfect for a socialite breakfast or as an impressive dessert for a dinner party for your upper class guests!
Thank you for popping by. I hope you enjoyed my second in the ESB Musical Bakes series. If you recreate this recipe, I’d love to see your pictures so do tag me in any pictures on Instagram @englishsingingbaker #esbmusicalbakes!
See you soon for another tuneful bake but in the meantime,
English Singing Baker x