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Archive for the ‘Sweet Tarts’ Category

Greetings to the two faithful readers I still have left! (Hi Mom!) I have taken an unintended hiatus from blogging, but I am back baby! I’ve still been cooking, so have a back log of recipes to post and I am starting with this gem. I tore it out a (typically) underwhelming issue of Bon Appetit because, well, just look at the ingredients. Rhubarb and creme fraiche? Check. And in galette form? Sign me up!

This easily the best thing I’ve done with rhubarb all summer. It is a very simple recipe – as the Resident Frechman said, “this doesn’t have enough ingredients for you to make it. Where is the heavy cream?” But the result is very delicious and really allows the rhubarb to shine. I think it was totally worth leaving the oven on for an hour when it was 90 degrees this weekend in a barely air conditioned house, which for a summer recipe is the highest possible praise.

I feel that it is my mission in life to make everyone eat this crème fraîche. It is so much better than your average whipped cream. Honestly, I don’t even want to eat whipped cream after this. You have to try it. If you don’t have a full vanilla bean, sweetened crème fraîche still tastes amazing, but the vanilla really elevates it to another level.

My usual end tips: as I’ve said before, galettes are extremely forgiving. Don’t worry about rolling out the dough perfectly. It is supposed to look rustic (and therefore charming). My dough was somewhat shaped like France. Remember when you are adding the water to the dough that you may need more or less water – it depends on the humidity of your kitchen. The recipe calls for the rhubarb to be sliced into match stick strips, which I know sounds unforgivably picky. Don’t worry about getting the pieces super thin, these can be thick matchsticks. The important part is to keep them all the (relatively) same size, so they cook evenly. Finally, Bon Appetit directs you to arrange the rhubarb in concentric circles. How that is possible with strips, I am not really sure. So make up your own pattern! And if you get neat circles, let me know how you did it!

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My mom bought me the last (sob) Gourmet cookbook and it is amazing. Seriously. This is why I miss Gourmet. I have been reading through it and literally marking down every other page. This is the first recipe I made from the book and now, I want to marry this cookbook.

This tart is delicious. The berries get soft and delicious, but not mushy. The crumble topping adds a satisfying crunch of pecan and sugar sweetness. And the contrast of the tart berries to the sweet topping is out of this world. It took way too much effort not to sneak extra bites of berries topped with extra crumble raked from the top. If this recipe is representative of Gourmet Today, this blog is going to evolve into one of those annoying (well I think so) blogs where an entire cookbook is cooked through.

The crust calls for shortening, which I have never actually used before. I substituted butter, but have any of you gentle readers used shortening in a crust? Leave me a comment and tell me why I should be using shortening! And where does one purchase it? I did use a pastry blender to make the crust. I have become a devoted fan of pastry blenders since I purchased one about a year ago. The Oxo is nice, but I purchased mine at TJ Maxx and it is perfectly fine. The beauty of the blender is that you can get perfect pea sized clumps of butter, but with a lot less work than doing it by hand and with a lot more precision than if you used a food processor.

P.S. Since this cookbook was a Ruth Reichl production, Aushak made it in! Check it out!

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Okay, I promise this is the last puff pastry recipe for awhile. But I’ve saved the best for last, as this was beyond delicious. All this started because CristaBear requested a very specific dessert for her birthday party: layers of phyllo with strawberries, whipped cream and powdered sugar. Of course, me being me, I had to deviate slightly. I knew that whipped cream wouldn’t hold up for very long and would separate. So I made a whipped mascarpone cream, which is absolutely delicious. It tastes like a thicker, more flavorful whipped cream. Winter strawberries are a little sad, so they are doctored up with some sugar and lemon. Finally, I substituted puff pastry for phyllo because I knew it would be easier to work with.

I made two variations on this. For Crista’s birthday, I made strawberry Napoleons. Sadly, I only have one photo of them because my camera punked out and it is from my camera phone. They don’t look too great, but they were delicious and very pretty looking.

Because had I had tons of leftover cream and strawberries, I made a flat tart version which was just as delicious, if not as impressive looking. The recipe for the flat tart is below, as I have to admit it is much much easier than putting together Napoleons that constantly were trying to tip over (I was a little overambitious and made them slightly too tall). Either way, strawberries on cream on puff pastry is irresistible.

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Meh. I hate to say it, but meh. I really wanted to love this. But I have a cranberry tart recipe that is way better and I should have made that for Thanksgiving instead of experimenting. I also forgot my camera so I don’t have too many photos either. If I were to make this again, I would definitely add more cranberries than I did, this tart needs more tartness (I love that sentence). I also would not blind bake the crust for as long as I did – I think 20 minutes, perhaps even 15 depending on the oven, should do it, since the tart is baked for quite a while with the filling. As a result of the long baking time, the crust was pretty dry and very brown (and it shrunk a ton). I am going to experiment with this one a bit though – it isn’t bad, it just needs a little something. Any ideas?

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Apple Tart

This is a simple fall tart that really showcases apples. I love to make it for Rosh Hashannah for a sweet new year.

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

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Sweet Pastry Crust

This is the best and easiest tart crust I have found. Tart crusts are actually very simple and look very professional, so don’t be afraid!

Sweet Pastry Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup unsalted COLD butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside
In a food processor, stand mixer or using a hand mixer with a large bowl, cream butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in egg gradually, beating until just incorporate. Don’t over do it!
Add in the flour mixture and beat just until mixture forms a ball.
Form dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out dough so that it fits an 8-9 tart pan with a removable bottom. Be sure not to overflour the counter. Roll the dough out from the center and do not pull on it.
Either fold the dough into quarters or roll onto rolling pin to place gently into pan. Gently push into place, without pulling. Press dough into the pan with your thumb and use the rolling pin over the top to remove excess. Prick bottom of dough several times and put into the freezer for 20 minutes again.
For a blind bake, bake at 400 degrees, with the unbaked shell lined with foil and weighed with pie weights or beans. Bake for about 20-25 mins until crust is dry and lightly golden brown.

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I foolishly thought that this was not a common recipe.  Then I went to a baking class sponsored by King Arthur Flour and learned that this is just a ganache tart.  *Smacks head*

Regardless of how many people are making this, you should!  It is very simple and looks very professional.  And did I mention that this is basically all chocolate?  Delicious!

Chocolate Tart with Raspberries

Chocolate Tart with Raspberries

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