Showing posts with label Tarts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tarts. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alice Medrich's Plum and Almond Tart


Oven and Camera Ready! 
Vanilla Ice Cream on the side
is highly recommended
When you have a blog to write, you tend not to repeat recipes once you have made them.  You’re pretty well under the gun to cook something you’ve never tried before simply to create content for your readers.  Most of the time, this isn’t all that difficult to do, especially when you have literally thousands of recipes at your disposal.  But then once in a while you come across something that rings all the bells.  It not only tastes phenomenal, it uses the season’s best ingredients and, if they’re locally grown so much the better.  And then there are those gems that not only meet those criteria but they’re incredibly easy to make.  At that precise moment, you have to assert great discipline in not running out and making the dish on an everyday basis.  With this tart, the invention of one of California’s greatest bakers, all that discipline went out the window.  The tart appeared three times in a week, breaking all previous records for recipe repeating in the shortest amount of time.  But one bite of Alice Medrich’s superb invention, I can almost guarantee you’ll put this on your repeat list too.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

John Barricelli's Lemon Meringue Tart from his SoNo Baking Company Cookbook


As you can see, this is one gorgeous dessert.  And it gave Andrew an opportunity to use a 13 ¼ inch rectangular tart pan.  But don’t put off it you lack one of this size and dimension.  John Barricelli’s original recipe gives the green light to a 9 inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.   You may remember Chef Barricelli’s most recent appearance here as the author the Coconuttiest Cake of all time.   Here he has re-invented traditional lemon meringue pie.  Instead of using lemon-flavored pastry cream, he has created a filling that’s richer and even tangier—it’s lemon curd.  This means a much more intense lemon experience.  And John gives the credit for the curd to none other than Martha Stewart with whom he worked for several years, appearing as her pastry maven on TV.  Martha’s curd is distinguished by its use of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to which butter is added at the very end of the cooking process.   This is another instance where you need to bake in some time, pardon the pun, for chilling the Pâte Brisée for an hour.  Then, once the crust is in the tart pan, it needs another half hour firming up in the refrigerator. Finally, the glorious meringue was browned using our in-kitchen blowtorch. The original recipe said to run it under the broiler for a minute or two which I how I transcribed the recipe here.   Here’s the recipe:
John Barricelli’s Lemon Meringue Tart from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2010)

First make the Pâte Brisée:
The pastry for this recipe needs to rest in the refrigerator a minimum of an hour.  So add that timing to this recipe. Once that’s been done, the Tart comes together quickly. First make the pastry, a pâte brisée.  This recipe makes enough for one double crust pie of two single crust pies. Make the whole recipe and  you can freeze the second crust for up to a month.  And this crust can be used in both sweet and savory incarnations.  The trick here is make sure all your ingredients—wet and dry—are cold.  And not just the ingredients…you should chill the bowl and blade of your food processor or the bowl and attachment of your standing mixer. 

2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1⁄4 cup ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.

2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream until the dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in two and wrap each half in plastic wrap, shaping them into flattened disks. Chill at least 1 hour before using.

Now make the Lemon Curd:

2 tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
6 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 4 lemons
½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
1/8 tsp. coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes.

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the cold water over the gelatin. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt and whisk to combine.  Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.  Do not boil. Whisk in the gelatin.

2. Strain the curd through a fine sieve into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until cool about 5 minutes. Beat in the butter a little at a time, until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. 

3. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7 by 17 inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. 

5. Fit the dough into a 4 x 13 ¼ inch fluted rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom, and trim the dough so that it comes slightly above the rim of the tart pan. The press the excess dough against the sharp edge of the rim of the pan with the heel of your hand to cut it level with the pan.  Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

6. Set the over rack in the bottom third of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat. Set aside. Place the chilled tart shell on the prepared baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch overhang.  Fill with pie weights. 

7. Bake until the edges of the tart shell are firm and are just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the parchment paper and the pie weights.  Return the tart shell to the oven and continue to bake until the surface is golden all over, about 10 more minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

8. Whisk (or beat in a standing mixer) the lemon curd to loosen.  Spread the curd over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate.

9. Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine the egg whites, sugar and alt in the top of the double boiler, set it over, (not in) the simmering water and whish to dissolve the sugar just until it melts, 1 to 2 minutes.  (The mixture should feel just warm to the touch and not gritty.) 

10. Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until the meringue is glossy an stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk.

11. Preheat the broiler and arrange an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element.  Spread the meringue over the lemon curd. 

12. Place the tart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil until the meringue is nicely browed, 1 to two minutes.  Serves 8. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Toad in the Hole, British Comfort Food at its best.

Bangers and Mash
I have a weakness for English dishes with picturesque names. Even the simplest of these is a riddle.  “Bangers and Mash”, or Sausage and Mashed Potatoes, is the simplest to understand.  The sausages used in the original recipe, which first came on the scene during World War I when times were tough, were so full of water that they sometimes exploded (Bang!) when they met the heat of the pan.  Other dishes are even
Bubble and Squeak
less descriptive.  “Bubble and Squeak”, a fried patty, is made with leftover vegetables that accompanied the Sunday Roast. It could likely form the basis of an interesting guessing game at the dinner table.   “Angels on Horseback” is completely oblique.  It’s an appetizer or savory dish that followed the main course at a formal British dinner. "Angels" are oysters, or sometimes scallops, wrapped in bacon, "Horseback". Try as I did to
Angels on Horseback
find out how on earth this name came about, I was stymied.  One British food historian simply gave up and suggested that the dish was actually French and called "Anges en Cheval". This might be the first occurence ever of the British conceding anything to the French. "Angels" are 
close cousins of “Devils on Horseback” in which dried fruit replaces the oyster.  Both “Angels” and “Devils” have made it to
Devils on Horseback 
North America even if their names have not.   Then we come to "Toad in the Hole”.  It may be the oldest of all these dishes and to me, it’s one of the most delicious.  It has no pretensions: It’s an inexpensive one-dish comfort food that makes a great one plate dinner.  And what exactly is “Toad in the Hole” ?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Claudia Fleming's Apple Crostata with Bacon Toffee

For such a relatively small corner of the world, the East End of Long Island is long on extremely talented chefs.  Proximity to New York has led many a city chef to, if not abandon the city, set up a second home out in the land of milk and honey.  One of these is the legendary pastry chef, Claudia Fleming.  Ms. Fleming is a Long Island native who originally pursued a career in dance.  To support her passion for it, she took the well-known route of working in restaurants, most particularly Danny Meyer’s immensely popular Union Square Café.  She worked in all parts of the operation but was drawn to pastry.  She took her calling seriously and in 1991 she went to
Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming 
Paris where she worked at Fauchon and perfected her skills.  In 1994, she was called back to New York to open, with Mr Meyer and his partner, Tom Collichio, the Gramercy Tavern.  Her farm to table philosophy was perfectly attuned to theirs. She loves seasonal ingredients and creating intense flavors. She eschews her contemporary’s use of architectural flights of fancy and focuses on honest, forthright desserts you’ll never forget. And this Apple Crostata with its Bacon Toffee topping is all you need to make to know how unforgettable Chef Fleming's pastry really is. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tate’s Bakery’s Fresh Blueberry and White Chocolate Tart

Tate's Bakeshop, Southampton's finest
         If it’s summer in the Hamptons, it’s time to head to Tate’s. This charming bake shop lights up the Village of Southampton with its incredible array of scones and muffins, cakes and cobblers. And then there are the pies!  Delicious fresh berries from farms all over the area are ladled into flaky pie crusts.  And in the case of today’s recipe, they top a white chocolate cream that’s a sweet foil for the tart taste of blueberries. Served cold, it’s also a very refreshing way to cap off a summer meal.  And to think, Tate’s got its start at a local farm stand.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fig-Almond Tart from Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California

         Andrew made this recipe not once but twice and it was big hit. He encouraged me to post it.  But for the life of me, I could not find it. I must have used every search word combination I could think of.  The truly pathetic thing is that Andrew keeps a log of everything he bakes. But that log was at the beach and we are in city most weekends this time of year.  I finally trekked out there on Monte’s Ham business and Eureka!  I found it listed in Andrew’s blue book.  Finally, I could post this wonderfully moist tart with its cake-like interior. Finally I could share its secret: Frangipane, a classic French pasty filling of almonds, eggs, butter and sugar.  At last I could give you a look at its beautiful fresh figs atop this perfect piece of pastry.  Or could I…

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Milky Way Tart adapted from Joanne Chang

       I’ve told you some of the story of Joanne Chang, the Harvard educated economist who threw in the towel and went on to open “Flour”, a Boston bakery and cafe that’s grown to three locations. That was between opening a marvelous pan-Asian restaurant called “Myers + Chang” with her husband, Christopher Myers.  But in case you missed it, Ms. Chang’s culinary education bears repeating; it is such an American story.  Ms. Chang grew up in a first generation Chinese American family in Texas.  Her introduction to American desserts consisted of visits to friends’ houses and the consumption of such great American classics as Wing Dings, Whoopie Pies, and Oreo Cookies.  Now, as one of the most inventive of bakers, Ms. Chang has re-invented some of her childhood favorites in recipes she shares in her cookbook “Flour” (Chronicle Books 2010). Here on Chewing the Fat, we’ve already shared her recipe for homemade Oreos (  That was such a success that it was just a matter of time before Andrew tackled another one: Her delicious caramel and chocolate confection called the Milky Way tart.  And when he did, I think he actually improved it.