Although I am not hosting Christmas dinner this year, I am helping cook it with my son, who has decided that herb-rubbed and roasted beef tenderloin served with creamy mashed potatoes and root vegetables will anchor the menu. We haven’t discussed desserts yet, but I know what I am going to suggest– a scrumptious hazelnut and coffee tart that can be baked a day ahead. And, it is also easily transportable by car.
I first sampled this special tart a few weeks ago when my friend, Sigi Schutz, served it at a dinner. One bite and I was smitten. Of course, I asked for the recipe, and was surprised to learn how simple it was to prepare. She didn’t specify ingredients for the crust so I used a favorite dough of mine, first baking it blind (without the filling) as she directed. For the filling, Continue reading
When I was a young, beginning cook (several decades ago!) one of my first kitchen triumphs was learning how to make a Sachertorte—a celebrated Viennese chocolate torte with an apricot filling, coated with a rich chocolate glaze. Recently the memory of this cake served as inspiration for a new recipe. If the pairing of chocolate and apricot was so successful in a cake, why not try it in a tart, I reasoned! It took several tries and quite a few hours in the kitchen to work out the details, but eventually I pulled a glorious shinny dark chocolate and apricot tart from the oven.
The crust, made with butter and cream and no water, is rich and bakes to a light golden brown. It will take a little extra time as the pastry crust gets baked first with foil and beans, and again without the beans, and once more with a thin layer of apricot preserves spread over the bottom of the tart. Once the crust is pre-baked more apricot preserves are Continue reading
Sadly, this year’s peach crops in Massachusetts were lost because of bad weather, so I’ve purchased ones that have arrived in our local markets from other parts of the country.
I’ve used them in smoothies or as garnishes for grilled meats, and added slices to my morning cereal bowl. But, my favorite creation has been to feature them in a glorious French tart.
Prepared with an extra-rich pastry dough (the recipe for which was shared by talented baker and caterer, Barb Morse), the tart shell is pre-baked and then filled with sliced peaches coated in a thickened peach puree mixture scented subtly with cardamom.
Peach Tart ready to go in the oven in its pre-baked pastry shell.
Once baked, it is best to let the tart stand a while at room temperature so that the juices have a chance to cool and thicken. Then you can slice this confection easily and gild the lily by garnishing each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche and a drizzle of rosé syrup. The latter is made by simply reducing leftover rosé (plentiful around our house in the summer!) with sugar. Nothing says summer like a peach dessert! Continue reading
In Paris, my local cheese store, Quatrehomme, always has an array of savory tarts ready to be sliced and taken home for reheating. Recently, I noticed one made with mild, lovely Cantal cheese topped with sliced tomatoes, another prepared with extra creamy Reblochon cheese and ham, and a new combo of brébis (sheep’s cheese) with smoked ham. A few steps away at La Grande Epicerie, a spinach and fresh salmon torte encrusted in a rich golden pastry shell was equally tempting. All were inspiration for the mushroom and scallop tart I made for lunch a few days ago.
Baking this tart was a breeze because I used plenty of convenience ingredients. For the crust, I bought puff pastry sheets already cut into circles so that all I needed to do was mold one into a tart pan. The cheese store sold grated Gruyère, and it wasn’t a problem to find a box of fresh, sliced mushrooms. On the other side of the Atlantic, puff pastry is sold in most markets, but you will need to cut a sheet to fit your pan. Pre-sliced mushrooms are common too, but you may have to take a few minutes to grate the cheese. Continue reading
I’m delighted to feature a special recipe from the just published Sunday Brunch here today. This tart is simplicity itself to prepare and has been a long-time favorite with students in my cooking classes. The recipe (like all those in the book) includes metric equivalents—a help, I hope, to those cooking abroad. Continue reading