I love tarts and I love tarts made with really yellow butter. But you already know that. I also love cream, cheese, ice cream and any milk derived products.I know you do too. So when I was invited by the Washington Dairy Commission to learn more about our state’s dairy farmers, I jumped on the opportunity. And while at it, I made some summer fruit and hazelnut frangipane tarts for you.
Dairy foods constitute the second largest agricultural commodity in Washington with about 437 dairy farms in Washington and an average of 625 cows per farm. Holsteins are the most common breed of cows in Washington but there are also Jerseys, Guerneseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns and Dutch Belted.
We visited the Werkhoven Family Dairy Farm in Monroe, which has been in the Werkhoven family since 1959. Fields, trees and the beautiful landscape of the Pacific Northwest surround this farm. There was absolute transparency as we were taught about milk production and how the herd is treated throughout the process. We met Andy, the second generation farmer who inherited the family from his father and now his three children and their families are also working alongside him on the farm. This farm follows conventional management methods and what I witnessed was that cow comfort, as they like to refer to, was priority. Cows are the starting point for an entire way of life for these families. The success or failure of every dairy farm depends upon the good health and contentedness of its cows. We all know that when cows are stress-free, well-fed and living in pristine conditions, they produce more and better milk.
The Werkhoven farm has become a sustainable dairy farm with their own complete cycle from growing feed (600 acres of corn, 400 acres of grass and 330 acres of pasture), a seamless milk harvest and also, what was one of the most interesting points for me, the recycling of cow manure. In 2003, Werkhoven Dairy entered into discussions with the Tulalip tribe and the NW Chinook Salmon Recovery Program to figure out how to help preserve sensitive salmon spawning reaches in the nearby Skykomish River. As a result, an anaerobic digester was built in 2008 as a non-profit organization that provides compost for the Werkhoven Farm (as well as donated to the community), produces energy for over 300 customers in the Puget Sound and valuable biosolids while reducing manure applications to the soil. The digester processes all the manure from the dairy, plus uses food waste from restaurants and food processing plants. It was a fascinating process with a brilliant outcome supporting sustainability in the area.
Thank you to the Werkhoven family for opening their home to us.
Summer fruit and hazelnut frangipane tarts
makes one 9-inch round tart or six 4-inch tarts
For the pastry crust:
3/4 cup (105 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/3 cup (45 g) amaranth flour
1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 egg yolk
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
1. In a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients. Add the cold butter and pulse until there are small visible pieces cut into the flour.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water. Add to dough and pulse until it comes together. Add more water if needed.
3. Transfer dough to your work surface, knead a couple of times and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until cold but still pliable.
4. Dust your surface with a little bit of superfine brown rice flour, roll the dough to about 1/8″ thickness and fill the tart molds. Cut off excess. Return tart to refrigerator and chill for another 15 minutes while preparing the filling.
For the hazelnut frangipane filling:
3.5 ounces (100 g) raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup (100 g) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (70 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces assorted stone fruits and berries, for topping
1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
2. Combine the hazelnuts and sugar in the food processor. Pulse until it is a fine powder. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and process until it comes together into a paste. Spread the filling over the cold pastry crust. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet (there might be some butter that oozes out of the tart pan). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Let that tarts cool for 15 minutes and then top with sliced fruit.
This post was sponsored by Washington Dairy and as always, photos and words by me.