Sammy the Seal

Posts Tagged ‘tart’

Fresh fruit tart with lemon pastry cream

In delicious on Sunday, 21 July, 2013 at 9:23

lemon fresh fruit tart 2

Blackberry, kiwi, peach, plum, blueberry, Rainier cherry sitting on top of lemon pastry cream inside of some kinda short dough. I flavored the cream with zest and juice, but my instincts tell me I may have erred in putting the juice in it because the pastry cream didn’t set up all slice-able like it was supposed to (acid). That or I didn’t cook it long enough, but it did get to a boil, so I don’t know.

Oh, and it got apricot glaze, of course:

lemon fresh fruit tart glazed

This was the night before. By the time I served it 18 hours later, there was a little bit of oozing, not too attractive. Maybe too much sliced fruit? It was only a few slice of peach, plum, and kiwi, but combined with the pastry cream not being set, it combined to make messy. I think I’ll enjoy it in its pristine state:

lemon fresh fruit tart 1

It tasted great, though. I stole a slice of a photo from someone not me which actually doesn’t look too bad. Slicing into it looked sloppier than this. Although maybe that’s how fresh fruit tarts are. I mean, fruit is bound to tumble about when it’s piled up. I think I actually prefer this shot to those of the whole.

lemon fresh fruit tart slice


Red vegetable tart

In delicious on Monday, 11 March, 2013 at 17:02

red vegetable tart 1

This one is from a couple of weekends ago, I forgot how pretty it looked until I was cleaning out my camera. The  “red” tart is: red potato, red pepper, red onion, with feta above and below, in a pâte brisée shell. Much more appealing before baking. Cooking takes out the vibrancy of the color, of course. I heard it was good though, savory (not a dessert!) and loaded with vegetables.

red vegetable tart 2

Not pictured but made at the same time, were two types of flatbread pizzas that I didn’t eat but was warmly complimented on– one with red onion, broiled garlic and halved grape tomatoes, and red pepper; and the other with squash, apple, and red onion (there was a lot of vegetables prepped). I didn’t want to deal with activating yeast (I don’t have instant or fresh yeast) so I made flatbread, which is quite simple. I should have some of my own next time. For those not familiar with the baker’s percentage, it’s a way for comparing, by weight, the most abundant ingredient (usually flour), which is set at 100%, in relation to all the other ingredients. The flatbread was:

flour 100%
water 42%
olive oil 14%
sour cream (or yogurt) 14%
sugar 7%
salt 2%

I used 18 ounces of flour, then calculated the rest. Developed and rested like a normal dough, rolled out to 1/4″ – 1/8″ thickness, baked at 450° for 12-15 minutes, however long pizza takes. You can added spices or other inclusions to the dough, though I just brushed olive oil and herbs on it before adding the mozzarella and toppings. Instead of pizza, maybe just season, then bake half the time for flatbread strips or chips. Maybe one weekend when I haven’t procrastinated on my homework.

(Note: I just made some dough using 21 oz. flour, and the re-calculated amounts of the other ingredients, and came up with a very wet dough, so I added an ounce or two more of flour. My guess is that either my new bag of flour sucks, or else I measured incorrectly/my scale was off, because I followed the percentages exactly last time, and came up with a much more workable dough, as far as I can remember. Can’t wait to get a stand mixer.)

Pear normande tart

In delicious on Saturday, 2 February, 2013 at 6:18


Up late baking on a school night leads to little sleep, which leads to falling asleep early the next evening, which leads to waking up at 4am, which is why I’m here. But I did change some filters on my auto, so it’s not like I was goofing off. Still, it was a school night. This formula was cribbed from school, except it’s my tart dough recipe, which doesn’t have hazelnuts, which cost money anyway. I did make the frangipane filling according to specifications though. And since it only needed a couple T of dark rum, and you can only buy a whole damn bottle, I used half of it to macerate the pears in. Only for a few hours though, it wasn’t terribly boozy, unfortunately. I’m not including recipes on here any more, hell no. No time. Just pretty pictures, which is all people really have patience for anyway. If you’ve ever been to a more established baking blog or website, almost all the comments are akin to “that looks so yummy!” or “omg, I want to eat that!” or “I want to make that”, and cynical me says no one ever does. Even though baking is mostly about following established directions.

Still though, wouldn’t recommend baking after midnight when you have to be somewhere at 7a.

mother normande

1st little normande

2nd little normande

3rd little normande

4th little normande

These are just for presentation. On a whim, I bought a cheap case of cake boards (while shopping for other things, of course). I have dozens more to burn through anyway. They’re not gold board, but it’s still a bit nicer than a grimy cookie sheet, surely:

presentable mother normande


little normande group

Nectarine tart, plum tart, squirrel cat

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 at 12:22

nectarine tart plum tart

Like I said, I just wanted to feel like a success again, even if it was easy and I’ve done it before. I added a vanilla bean this time though. And obviously, I used nectarines and red plums. I had at least a pound of nectarines, and about 3-4 plums. I wanted to overlap the fruit because it was so sparse on the last one. I sliced it all, then placed them cut side up in a casserole dish, sprinkled some brown sugar on top, and roasted them at 350º (or was it 375º? Oops.) for 25-30 minutes. All done the day before, of course. The nectarine looks a lot nicer below, the color comes out better at this angle, especially the first one.

nectarine tart 1

nectarine tart 2

The plum one turned out a bit mushy, so it’s not as attractive. They could have been cooked separately, and probably for less time, but I’m pretty sure I did this late at night, so I wasn’t going to wait another twenty or so minutes.

plum tart

And just because she hasn’t been around much lately:

squirrel pose

The squirrel imitation. The body is going two different directions on two different surfaces because it’s more comfortable that way.

all alone

All alone.


Red plum tart, almond frangipane filling

In delicious on Wednesday, 13 June, 2012 at 23:22

plum frangipane tart slice dusted

My first plated dessert! I should bake during the day only so that I can photograph with natural light. The nice thing about not being completely successful with a recipe is that since it’s off, instructions are pointless. (Also, I don’t want to write them, it’s late.) If it were a complete success, I also would’ve brushed the extra sugar off the crust and the rim of the plate. I might want to check the prices for a mini food processor– I ground the almonds in a blender, which was kinda vexing. Also, the skin didn’t come off the almonds after roasting, which is why the filling is so dark. I should get a spreader too. That aside, it came out okay. I used a basic pastry crust as opposed to a sweet one, which I thought would help offset the tartness of the fruit, but it didn’t really need it (and, I had a lump of the basic dough to use up). Another thing for next time is a couple more plums, I would’ve liked to pack them in tighter. They’re leaning slightly, I would’ve liked them to be standing. At least seven, instead of five, should do the trick. More plum, more tart. Extra fruit is always a good idea.

The plain slice didn’t look so hot in person, but it sure does look pretty photographically represented. The power of natural light….

plum frangipane tart slice plain

Good lighting makes a hell of a difference in photography, doesn’t it? Thank goodness for the daylight slices, go back and look at those.

plum frangipane tart

Fig tart, honey cream cheese Greek yogurt filling

In delicious on Monday, 23 April, 2012 at 14:11

fig tart whole

Then, in the morning, it was time for dessert. (Dangling fig skin, 5 o’clock!) Cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and honey were whipped together for the filling, and figs were placed on top. The day before, some dried figs were re-hydrated in a small pot of boiling water (the heat was off once the boil was reached) and covered for a few hours, then sliced in half on the flattest axis and dabbed off and left to dry a little before placing on the chilled, set tart filling. This was so good, it’s been a while since I’ve made anything period, let alone something so delicious satisfying. And it was terribly easy.

The crust was the sweet one I’ve done before, but with more whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, hence the color. I was going to do a half batch, but forgot, then I felt fortunate when I damaged the crust, and had enough to make a new one. I suppose that’s a common rule with food, to have more than you need than less. I’m pleased to say it came out splendidly. It was light yet very supportive of the toppings.

sweet tart crust

The filling was:
8 oz. cream cheese
2 c plain Greek yogurt (add a few extra T to counteract the honey, if desired)
4-5 T honey

It was whipped together by hand for a few minutes, then spread around in the crust, then chilled. Great flavor and texture, perfect dense, creamy consistency, with a little sheen as well. Barely sweetened, with the yogurt wonderfully complementing the figs. And a noticeable, but subtle honey flavor. Great in a tart, or for dipping stuff in, or eating with a spoon. Very pleased I was.

fig tart slice

Red plum tart, sweet cream cheese filling

In delicious on Wednesday, 28 March, 2012 at 11:57

plum tarts cream cheese

(Is that a jar of gooseberry preserves in the background? It sure is!)

Ah, the joys and possibilities of leftover dough. Miniature pies don’t use up much dough, so with an extra lump, there was more pastry to be had. So versatile, just whip up some kind of paste or creamy filling, then toss in fresh fruit. And even then, you can top it off by glazing, dusting, or flambé, if you have the tools. And, I had a couple of red plums lying about. The filling was pretty much a cream cheese icing, but with a tablespoon less butter and 1/2 c less powdered sugar:

8 oz. cream cheese
3 T butter
1 t vanilla
1 c powdered sugar

I whipped up the cheese and butter pretty good, blended in the vanilla, then sifted and whipped in the sugar. I probably could’ve used only half a block of cream cheese, as I only had enough dough for two small shells, but maybe I’ll make cake or muffins or something with the rest of the icing. Or more dough. Then I put it in the fridge for a couple hours so it would set/firm up.

Rather than baking the shells at 380º for 13 minutes, then the same after removing the weights (dry beans) last time. I baked the shells at 400º for the first 13 minutes. Honest mistake. Is that why they shrunk? The shells came out no more than a centimeter or so tall. Hm. Very light though. They didn’t char or brown excessively, they were just smaller than I’d hoped. I let them cool to room temperature, then spread in the cold frosting, then sliced a red plum into wedges and arranged them as above, while spattering a little filling. The sweetness of the icing offset perfectly the tartness of the plum, specifically the skin, of course.

Cold fruit is good, and so is cold dessert– non-messy, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand, cold dessert.

Banana cream tart with honey-glazed pecans

In delicious on Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 at 23:11

banana cream tart with pecans 2

Ah, creation and food, a great way to fight the drabs. Marit Week has been temporarily suspended, as I’ve been dying to bake something. Not since the valentine ganache tarts more than two weeks ago had I done something worthwhile. (Banana bread doesn’t count, I can do that in my sleep.)  Since I’m going away for a few days and don’t want to shop, I threw something together with what I had lying about. It’s amazing how far the basic elements of food can get you. In order of preparation, I toasted the pecans, then made the pastry cream filling, then made the tart shells.

Since pecans are expensive up here (hell, back in TX we had a pecan tree in our front yard, still do, as long it’s still healthy– sigh, cheap nuts…), I only got 1/3 or 1/2 cup. I toasted them for 15 minutes at 300º, then set them aside on a sheet of wax paper, to be glazed with honey later.

Then it was time for the pastry cream:

2 c milk
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 whole egg + 3 yolks

Over medium heat, I brought the milk to a simmer. While waiting for it do that, I put the sugar, cornstarch, and all egg-ness in separate bowl and whisked until smooth. Then I stirred the vanilla into the milk. While the milk is coming to a simmer, I added half (1 cup) to the other ingredients and stirred (to temper), then added it all back to the saucepan with the rest of the vanilla milk. Then, still on medium heat, I whisk-stirred thoroughly and constantly until the mixture thickened, which was very quick, less than a minute. Then I transferred it to a separate bowl and added about 1/2 teaspoon or so of ground mace (because I can’t let well enough alone), then whisked periodically throughout the entire process to cool, to prevent any skin or crust from forming, and to smooth out lumps.

The dough was pâte sablée, the same one I used for the animal cookies, just rolled out and draped over the mini-tart pans. I rolled the dough out to about 1/4″ thick, not too thin though, then lifted the dough and spaced the pans underneath about an inch or so apart. I then molded the dough into the pans, and ran the rolling pin over the top to smooth the edges. I then pressed down on the overhanging dough and tore it away, balling up the dough, wrapping it in plastic wrap, then refrigerating it. I filled the empty shells with small dry beans, placed them on a baking sheet, and baked them at 380º for 13 or so minutes, until the tip of the crust browns ever so slightly. At that point, I took them out, emptied out the beans, pricked the bottom and sides of the crusts with a fork, then returned them for another 13 minutes. Since I only have two of these mini-pans, I had to repeat this a couple of times, cooling the empty pans in the fridge while rolling out the next round of dough. So this took a while.

While waiting for crusts to cook, I glazed the outside (the rounded side) of each pecan half with honey and a pastry brush. It sounds tedious, but it wasn’t too precise a process, and I didn’t have that many pecans anyway. Some of the honey ran down onto the paper, but oh well. I just thought it’d be better than plain pecans. “Honey-glazed” sounds cooler.

Finally, the easy part. I sliced a couple of bananas into coins, then spread a layer of pastry cream into each shell, arranged banana slices on top, followed by the pecans in a cute little flower shape. The trick to eating them is to take one slice of banana per bite. It’s surprisingly filling. I’m pretty proud of these, no complaints from myself, for once, if I’m to be believed.

They looked pretty with just banana, even before the pecan flowers:

banana cream tart

Strawberry ganache tart

In delicious on Monday, 13 February, 2012 at 14:47

strawberry ganache tart family

First, it should be noted that if you’re going to put fruit in or on melted chocolate, especially if the fruit has been sliced (allowing for osmosis of water), you should be serving it soon. Otherwise, hold the fruit until that time. (Or learn how to temper chocolate properly, which I can’t.) These are nice and shiny, but I made these yesterday and am serving today. Hmm….

I might be confusing my doughs, but I’m pretty sure this is the pâte sucrée, which I’ve done before. The ganache filling was pretty simple, I simmered a cup of cream, hot enough to melt the seven ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips and one ounce of chopped unsweetened chocolate, then poured it into the cool tart crusts. Then I put the hulled, halved strawberries on top.

If I had served them when they looked like this, I’d be happy. (The brightness on the first photo is a bit exaggerated, I don’t think it’s possible for a strawberry to have such a hue.) The chocolate was shinier and hadn’t started sweating, the fruit hadn’t given off water that started pooling slightly, sigh…. Well, as D’Angelo Barksdale would say, “you pretty now.”

strawberry ganache tart mom

strawberry ganache tart twin #1 a

strawberry ganache tart twin #1 b

strawberry ganache tart twin #2 a

strawberry ganache tart twin #2 b

Lime custard tart with poached apple slices

In delicious on Saturday, 31 December, 2011 at 23:30

lime custard apple tarts

(Subject to editing, I just wanted to get the gist of it up before forgetting what I did.)

I like my new tart pans. So I used a different dough, instead of the flaky pie one. I’ve made it before, but into cookies. The dough process is quicker and easier than with standard flaky pie dough, and, being sweeter, it’s supposed to go better with tart (in both senses) fillings, like lime.

10 T butter, cold but slightly softened
½ c superfine sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
½ t salt
2 c flour

I cut the butter into ½-inch slices, whipped a couple of minutes until fluffy, then added the sugar and creamed them both for a couple of minutes. Then I beat in the egg mix, switching to a whisk as the mixture became more liquid, another couple of minutes or so. Then I sifted the salt and flour into the eggs/sugar/butter and stirred just until the flour was completely incorporated, and I kneaded and shaped it together just a little, before flattening, flouring, wrapping in plastic wrap, then refrigerating for at least 30 minutes.

(While the dough chilled, I went shopping, then, upon taking it out to thaw for half an hour, I made lemon pudding, which I won’t talk about just yet.)

Once thawed, I rolled the dough out, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and carefully draped it over the large pan, fitting the dough from the center out. The edge of a pan is fine, which acts like a knife in removing the excess dough. I pressed on the edge, which cut off the overhanging dough, and ran the rolling pin over the edge to smooth it out. I re-formed the rest of the dough, rolled it out, and repeated for the two small pans, doing the simultaneously. (There was a lot of leftover dough, so I rolled it into a log to make cookies out of later.) I weighed down the shells with dry beans, baked them at 400° for 15 minutes, then removed the parchment paper with beans, and baked for another 10-15 minutes. Then I sat them all on a rack to cool.

While cooling, I made the lime custard filling:

5 eggs
¾ – 1 c sugar
1 c whipping cream
zest and juice of 3 limes (about 2/3 – 3/4 c)

I whisked together the eggs and sugar until combined, then added the cream, zest and juice until well combined. Then I poured the custard into the shells. (The shells should still be a little warm, which is fine. Being empty shells, they’ll cooled quickly enough.) Since the mixture was still thin and runny, I filled the shells only partially to prevent custard sloshing out during the transfer. Then, once on the rack inside the oven, I used a measuring cup to pour the rest in the shells, filling as close as I could to the rim. Then I baked at 300° for 40 minutes. (I left the shells in the pan, I don’t know what happens if you take them out and place them on a baking sheet.)

While that was baking I poached some apple slices in a sugar syrup bath, which I learned is better than just water. Water alone causes the fruit to plump up and lose some sweetness, as water diffuses into the fruit and sugar out of it, also risking mushiness. The sweeter the sugar syrup/water, the sweeter the fruit will turn out, so adjust accordingly. Anyway:

3 c water
1.5 c sugar
3 small-to-medium-sized apples, unpeeled

I whisked together the sugar and water in a saucepan and put on medium heat, until the sugar dissolved. Then, with the aid of an apple corer, I cut and cored one apple at a time (to minimize oxidation) into 8 wedges, and cut each wedge into four thin slices (since their time in the oven will be limited) and place them in the bath. I simmered them for 10-15 minutes, then fished them out with a slotted spoon into a colander. By the time 40 minutes was up, I took the tarts out (the custard should be mostly set) and arranged the apple slices, then returned the tarts to the oven for another 20-25 minutes. Then I set them out to cool on a rack for a couple of hours, then covered them with foil and sent them to the refrigerator. They’re so pretty, I don’t want to cut into them.

The mother:

lime custard apple tart mother
lime custard apple tart mother 2
lime custard apple tart mother 3
The babies:
lime custard apple tart baby
lime custard apple tart baby 2
lime custard apple tart baby close-up
It came out pretty well, the only thing I’ll second-guess is that maybe I should have poached the apple slices immediately after the filled tarts went in, as I waited about 20 minutes or so. I wanted to give them more time to release steam and dry out more, as the finished slices looked too moist for my liking. Or maybe I should have increased the oven temperature for the last 20 minutes, though altering temperature is always a big move. But what the hell, I’m never completely satisfied anyway. Based on taste, though, I am. I’m pretty proud of this one.
Okay, so much for not cutting. We were hungry, plus this way I can photograph the cross-section.
lime custard apple tart dissected
lime custard apple tart slice