Whether Arley Arrington is frying donuts at Brookville or whipping up macarons in her home kitchen, we just can’t get enough of her sweets. We asked the owner of local baking company Arley Cakes a few questions—from her guilty pleasure food to how to make her strawberry tart at home.
Knife & Fork: What’s your favorite kitchen utensil or tool?
Arrington: A good friend of mine loaned me her KitchenAid mixer on a long-term basis, since she never used it. I’ve had it for about a year and a half now. Sometimes, I try to imagine my life before the mixer was in it, and it just doesn’t make sense.
Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to food?
Utz Cheezballs. My 2016 New Year’s resolution is “eat more food,” which mostly means “Stop eating a giant bowlful of Cheezballs and calling it a meal.”
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a professional baker?
Go for it! You might have to put in a lot of hours being paid not a lot of money (or no money at all), doing some less-than-glorious work (or volunteering), but it’s attainable. I’ve been baking my butt off and working in the food industry here for five years, but it’s only been in the most recent one that I’ve actually been able to make money off of baking. You have to stick to it. Also, get good shoes. And by good, I mean very ugly, but very supportive.
STRAWBERRY MINT AND CREAM CHEESE TART
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
Combine the first three ingredients. Add the cubed butter, cutting it into the flour until it resembles coarse sand. (You can use a pastry cutter, or two knives if you don’t have one.) Beat the egg, and mix it into the dough until it just starts to come together. Quickly knead the dough by hand to finish combining all ingredients. Shape it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it for about an hour. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface to about a 10″ diameter (for a 9″ tart pan). Press it into the tart pan. Poke it with a fork in several places. Cover it in foil and chill for 30 more minutes. Fill tart pan with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 10 minutes longer or until the crust is golden. Allow the crust to cool.
Cream cheese filling
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. butter
1/4 cup super fine sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 cups strawberries,
hulled and sliced
2 tbs. fresh mint
Beat first four ingredients together until stiff and completely smooth —there should be no sugar grains remaining. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Beat well, making sure all ingredients are combined. Pour filling into cooled crust. Arrange strawberries on top of filling. Sprinkle with mint. Tart is best served the day it has been made.
Berry good times
Want to pick your own? Strawberries have a short season (mid-May to June), but you can find them at Chesterfield Berry Farm, Chiles Peach Orchard, Critzer Family Farm, Middle Fork Farm and Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchard.