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Archive for the ‘Pies and Tarts’ Category

Hi all! I am excited to tell you that I was invited to be a guest blogger on my friend, Luisa Ormonde’s blog– Tales of Three Bakers. It is my very first guest blog and I feel very honorable. The recipe I chose was chocolate hazelnut tart. I am only posting the pictures here, for recipe please visit her website 🙂

I met Luisa through the Nishihiras, close friends of our family. She is a very good cook, and runs a gourmet food catering business. We are always drooling over the pictures of delicious food that she made. If you have catering needs for any occasions, check out her catering website. I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

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My neighbor gave me some lemons, and I just happened to have a little sour cream leftover, so I decided to make a lemon tart. This is by far one of my best tart crust recipe (actually it’s same ingredients as in my Tarte aux Noix II). The crust has a much flakier/crumbly crunchy texture (even eaten the next day) than traditional pastry recipes that call for cold butter and cold water. Tips: don’t fork the dough too hard, or the filling will leak through the crust and the tart will stick to the pan. Also, always place a baking tray under the tart while baking to prevent leaked filling dripping down to the bottom of the oven.

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart Recipe (makes one 9.5 inch tart)

Ingredients:

for Crust:
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter– softened
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp beaten egg
1/2 cup toasted ground almond
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

for Filling:
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp sour cream
4 eggs– beaten

powder sugar for dusting

Method:

Prepare crust:

  1. Whisk butter with a hand whisk until smooth and creamy, add sugar and continue whisking until fluffy. Add beaten eggs, one tbsp at a time, and mix well. Sift in 1/3 of combined dry ingredients (flour, ground almond and salt). Use a spatula to gently mix to combine. Sift in remaining dry ingredients in 2 batches, but use the spatula to gently stir and press down so the dough will stick together to form a dough.
  2. Transfer dough onto a work surface cover with large sheet of plastic wrap. Pat dough into a disc of 1 inch thick, then place another large sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough (this is to keep work surface cleaner, see picture 1). Use a rolling pin, roll out the dough large enough to cover the bottom of tart pan, plus extra 1.5 inch extra around the bottom tart pan for the side of tart shell (place the removable tart pan bottom on top of roll out dough– plastic wrap will keep the pan clean).
  3. Remove the top plastic wrap and carefully flip the dough into greased tart pan (at this point the bottom plastic wrap will end up on the top, see picture 2). Peel away the remaining plastic wrap and tuck in/trim the over hang dough (picture 3 & 4).
  4. Prick the bottom with a fork. Blind bake in preheated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles. Cool crust on rack for 15 minutes before adding filling.

Prepare filling:

  1. Add lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in sour cream. Slowly pour in beaten eggs and whisk to blend well. Strain the mixture into the cooled crust.
  2. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set. Cover the crust edge with foil if it browns too quickly. Cool tart completely in the pan on a rack then chill in the fridge. Dust with powder sugar before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • For the pastry, make the side of the tart slightly taller than the rim since it will shrink after baking.
  • To prevent lemon tart from sticking to the tart pan, always grease the tart pan, and don’t prick the dough too hard, or the filling will leak through the crust.
  • Always place a baking tray under the tart pan while baking, this will help transporting the tart and also to prevent leaked filling dripping down onto the oven racks.
Making almond tart shell-- picture 1.

Making almond tart shell-- picture 1

Making almond tart shell-- picture 2

Making almond tart shell-- picture 2

Making almond tart shell-- picture 3

Making almond tart shell-- picture 3

Making almond tart shell-- picture 4

Making almond tart shell-- picture 4

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This was my first time making a rustic tart, or galette. I had an extra pie crust in the freezer from making chicken pot pie, and a big box of blackberries in my fridge, so making this dessert was even easier. What I like about this dessert is that you don’t have to trim off the dough to fit into a pie pan, perfectly fits my no-waste food goal.

Blackberry Rustic Tart/Galette

Blackberry Rustic Tart/Galette

Blackberry Rustic Tart/Galette (makes 1 tart)

Ingredients:
1 pie crust

Filling:
3 tbsp toasted ground almond
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sugar
3 cups blackberries
1/3 cup dried cherries
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar

extra sugar for sprinkling
egg wash

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking pan with silicon pat or parchment paper, then coat with cooking spray. Combine ground almond, flour and sugar.
  2. Roll out pie dough into a 12-13 inch circle between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (it makes transferring dough easy and less mess to clean) to 1/4 inch thick. Spread almond mixture evenly in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border along the edge.
  3. Toss blackberries, dried cherries, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Spoon the fruit over the almond mixture. Fold the edge of the dough over towards the center, making pleats if necessary. Brush the edge with egg wash and sprinkle some more sugar on top of the fruits.
  4. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350°F and bake for another 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer the tart with silicon pat/parchment paper onto rack to cool.

Regina’s Note:

  • You can use a combination of different fruits for the filling, such as different types of berries, plums, apricot, peach, apples etc.
  • The almond mixture not only keeps the bottom crust from getting soggy (especially when you’re using juicy fruits), but also adds flavor and texture.
Blackberry Rustic Tart: almond mixture as a base.

Blackberry Rustic Tart: almond mixture as a base.

Blackberry Rustic Tart: ready to bake.

Blackberry Rustic Tart: ready to bake.

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my version of Tart Tatin

my version of Tart Tatin

11/8/2010 update: Oops,  I was making this for Richard’s birthday, and realized that I didn’t have the recipe posted on the blog. So here goes the recipe (see below)… it’s a process, but you can make the filling and crust ahead of time.

Tart Tatin is a French style apple pie/tart. What’s the difference between a Tart Tatin and a regular American apple pie? Well, the apples are halved and cooked on the stove before the pie is baked in the oven. Also, Tart Tatin does not have bottom crust like regular pies, and its top crust is a puff pastry. When it’s baked it should be placed up-side down on the serving plate (just like pineapple upside down cake) to reveal the nicely arranged apple halves. Flavor wise, Tart Tatin is not as sweet and has more fresh lemon taste compare to a regular apple pie. The cinnamon taste is not as powering too.

My version of the pie is different from the traditional ones on the crust. I use almond pie crust instead of puff pastry because puff pastry doesn’t taste good unless it’s fresh hot from the oven, and this big pie takes 2-3 days for us to finish. Also, I don’t flip the pie upside down because I don’t want the crust to be soggy on the next day.

My family LOVES Tart Tatin. Richard requests it to be his birthday pie instead of cake and we decided to make it a family tradition. We find the regular apple pie to be too sweet and the cinnamon flavor is too strong to our liking. Tart Tatin tastes better to us. Plus, we like the BIG chunky apples much better than the thinly sliced (apples)with thick sauce. Believe it or not, it takes about 3-4 apples to make a regular pie but I use 6-8 big Golden Delicious apples to make Tart Tatin. Yeah… it’s heavy!

So, if you love your apple pie to taste rich (from the butter), yet not too sweet with a hint of fresh lemon flavor, and with big chunky apples, give it a try. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it.

Regina’s Tart Tatin

Ingredients:

for Crust:
1/2 cup almonds
1  1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp chilled unsalted butter– cut into cubes
2 tbsp (or more) ice water

for Filling:
8 large Golden Delicious apples— see note below
1/2 cup butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon (or more)

1 beaten egg– for egg wash

Method:

Make Crust(can be prepared ahead):

  1. In a food processor finely grind the almonds. Add in flour, sugar and salt, blend to mix well.
  2. Add chilled butter cubes and pause several times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. While the food processor is running, add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and blend until the dough starts to come together (add more water if necessary).
  3. Transfer the dough on a surface. Shape the dough into a ball then flatten to form a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour and up to a day (or you can wrap up tight, place in freezer bag and freeze).

Make Filling (can be prepared ahead):

  1. Peel the apples, cut in half and remove the core. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle generously with lemon juice. Use hand to gently toss apples to coat juice.
  2. Melt butter and sugar in a large sauce pan (must  be large enough to fit all the apples in 1 layer) over medium heat, add cinnamon and cook until sugar dissolves and the mixture turns into medium caramel color. Remove from heat.
  3. Arrange apple halves, in standing position, in the pan to form a circle. Fit them tightly as they will shrink during cooking.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat until apples are colored, about 20-25 minutes. Half way through cooking, carefully turn the apple halves up side down (with the help of a spoon) so the top part colored too. Remove from heat.
  5. Carefully transfer apple halves to a 9-inch round baking dish (If there’s still lots of liquid left in the pan, cook it down a little more) so the apples are in standing position– or if you’re confident, you can invert the apples straight from the pan to the baking dish. Set aside to cool slightly.

To Assemble:

Roll out the crust dough large enough to cover the baking dish. Place the crust on top of the apples and tuck in around the edge of the baking dish. Make a few slit on the surface and brush with egg wash. Bake in the middle rack in preheated 450°F oven for 25 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Regina’s Note:

  • The amount of apples used depend on the size of your baking dish. To determine, place whole apples in the baking dish, then add 1-2 more, as apples will shrink during cooking.
  • When I roll out pie/tart dough, I place the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. I then place the baking dish on top of the plastic to ensure my dough is large enough to cover. After that I remove the top sheet of plastic and carefully flip onto the baking dish, and peel off the remaining plastic. Since the dough is “short” and thus very easy to fall apart, I find this method works as the dough will stick to the plastic while transferring. Less dough crumbs goes to waste and clean up is a breeze too.
  • If I’m not making Tart Tatin, I cut apples into small chunks and cook until tender and mushy (it becomes applesauce)– then it can be used to flavor oatmeal, spread on crackers/toast, or to make a caramel apple chiffon cake etc…

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This is not really a new recipe.  The filling recipe is from Tart Tatin; the tart shell and almond cream recipe is from Tarte aux Noix.

The result is very rewarding: The almond crust is flaky, the almond cream is rich with hint of rum, but not too sweet. The tartness of the apples offset the richness of the cream. We couldn’t wait, decided to dig in 5 minutes after it was out of the oven, and the four of us finished more than 3/4 tart in one serving. This recipe is a keeper!

Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Apple Tart with Almond Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

Tart shell:
1 cup cake flour
5 tbsp ground almond (with skin)– toasted
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
2 tbsp beaten egg (see note below in almond cream ingredients)

Almond cream:
1 tbsp cake flour
2/3 cup ground almond(with skin)– toasted
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 tsp rum
1 beaten egg(I beat in a bowl, scoop 2 tbsp for tart shell plus bit extra for brushing tart edges, and used the remaining for almond cream)

Apple Filling:
4 medium golden delicious apples
fresh lemon juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

To make apple filling:

  1. Peel apples, Cut in halves and remove stems. Remove core using a melon ball scooper. Put apples in a big bowl and sprinkle generously lemon juice, toss to coat apples with juice.
  2. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add sugar and cinnamon, stir to combine. Continue to cook the sauce on med. high heat until it turns to med. caramel color. Remove from heat. Arrange apples halves(discard lemon juice), standing up around the pan and in the middle, tuck in apples tightly as they will shrink during cooking. Return to med. heat and cook until the bottom half is colored. Using a spoon gently turn apples up side down to cook the other half. About 20-25 minutes total cooking time.
  3. Scoop out apples. If there’s still lots of liquid in the frying pan, continue to cook down the sauce until it thickens. Pour the thickened sauce over apples.
  4. When the apples cools down completely, slice into 1/2 inch thick wedges.

To make tart shell:

  1. Combine cake flour and ground almond then set aside. Using a whisk, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg, whisk to combine.
  2. Sift in 1/3 of flour mixture. Using a spatula gently mix the flour on the top, then press down the flour to the bottom of the bowl to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour in 2 batches. When all mixture starts to form a dough, take it out and shape it to a ball with both hands (avoid kneading the dough!).
  3. Put the round dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, roll it out large enough to fit tart pan. Remove plastic wrap and transfer the dough to tart pan and fold inwards any extra dough so all sides have same thickness. Chill in freezer for 20 minutes.
  4. Brush the edge with egg wash, prick the bottom and side of tart and blind bake at preheated 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes until edge is slightly brown. Cool the tart in the tart pan.

To assemble:

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar with a whisk until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg and whisk to combine.
  2. Add ground almond. Using a spatula, mix until all incorporated. Sift in cake flour and mix gently until just combined. Add rum then mix gently to combine.
  3. Pour filling into baked cool tart shell. Smooth the surface and arrange apple slices on the top.
  4. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes until almond cream is nicely browned. Cool tart in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes before removing tart pan. Serve warm.

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French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart: recipe by Barefoot Contessa

I was watching Barefoot Contessa on Foodnetwork and Alexander suddenly grabbed a pencil and piece of paper and started writing down the recipe as we watched along (with many pauses of course). He said he was writing down the recipe so I could make it:). I originally wasn’t into it , but for the hard work that Alexander put in to write the ingredients and steps of making it, I decided to give it a try.

Some recipes calls for round tart with apple slices fanned out and formed a flower at the center. But this version of Ina Garten is a rectangular tart with apple slices fanned out diagnoc pattern. I made some changes to the tart pastry by adding some ground almond, and I just rolled it out to be roughly rectangular without any trimming. Apple slices certainly made beautiful presentation. However, I think the oven temperature stated in the recipe is too high. My tart pastry was pretty much burnt except for a few spots:( The apples didn’t taste as good as they look, kind of plain in my opinion… I still prefer apples in Tart Tatin. Sorry Ina, but hey at least I tried…

I suddenly got an idea: There are some yellow peaches on the trees in the backyard, maybe I’ll make a peach with almond cream tart, using similar design…

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Tarte aux Noix

Tarte aux Noix

Yes, I made this again with some changes–  increasing ingredients portions to1.5 times of original recipe to fit my tart pan. I also remembered to toast the ground almond this time; it does make a difference. I found the tart tastes much better the next day with the rum adding depth to the flavor.

Tarte aux Noix Recipe (makes 1 tart of 9.5 inch diameter)

Ingredients:

Tart shell:
1 cup cake flour
5 tbsp ground almond (with skin)– toasted
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
2 tbsp beaten egg (see note below in almond cream ingredients)

Almond cream:
2 tbsp cake flour
1 cup ground almond(with skin)– toasted
1/2 cup brown sugar
9 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 1/2 beaten egg (I beated 2 eggs in a bowl, scooped 2 tbsp for tart shell and used the remaining for almond cream)

4-5 tbsp raisin– soaked in rum, drained but keep the rum
4-5 tbsp chopped walnuts– toasted
2 tbsp rum (I used the ones that I soaked the raisin with)
extra almond flakes to sprinkle on top

apricot jam for glazing

Method:

Make tart shell:

  1. Combine cake flour and ground almond then set aside. Using a whisk, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg, whisk to combine.
  2. Sift in 1/3 of flour mixture. Using a spatula gently mix the flour on the top, then press down the flour to the bottom of the bowl to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour in 2 batches. When all mixture starts to form a dough, take it out and shape it to a ball with both hands (avoid kneading the dough!).
  3. Put the round dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, roll it out large enough to fit tart pan. Remove plastic wrap and transfer the dough to tart pan and fold inwards any extra dough so all sides have same thickness.
  4. Brush the edge with egg wash, prick the bottom of tart and blind bake at preheated 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Cool the tart in the tart pan.

Make Tarte aux Noix:

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar with a whisk until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg and whisk to combine.
  2. Add ground almond. Using a spatula, mix until all incorporated. Sift in cake flour and mix gently until just combined.
  3. Add raisin, walnuts and rum and mix gently.
  4. Pour filling into baked tart shell. Smooth the surface and sprinkle almond flakes on the top.
  5. Bake at preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes until almond cream is nicely browned. Cool in the pan on the rack. When completely cool, glaze tart with apricot jam.

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