Showing posts with label tart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tart. Show all posts

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cooking Challenges -- Leek Tart

Still in Ireland with my husband and daughter, and we're all trying to figure out how to work in the kitchen.

It's small, although I think my first apartment had a smaller one. It has one cupboard (china and glassware) and one set of shelves for supplies. That's it. It has a new fridge now, with limited capacity, which means we go grocery shopping about every day. It also houses the new washer, which I'm still trying to figure out. (And, hoorah, there is a new dryer, in the pantry.) The new stove and its separate hob (stovetop) sit in the shed, waiting patiently for installation, but it would have been chaotic to try to rebuilt the kitchen counters while we were in residence.

But still we eat! Usually we go out for lunch (since driving at night on narrow country lanes can be a bit challenging) and try to cook dinner (or supper, locally) in. I am sharing with you one of my most recent efforts, which was a mixed success. But it tasted good.

It all began at the farmers' market, where a local farmer had a lot of leeks, picked only hours earlier, still covered with dirt. But they were tiny and lovely, so I bought a bunch, and started thinking of what to do with them. I landed on the idea of a leek tart.

Small problem: I had no tart pan. Quickly remedied. Next problem: I am crust challenged, and if that weren't enough, I have no large surfaces upon which to roll one out, and I don't have a rolling pin. Ah well, I do have an empty wine bottle or two (French, of course) so I improvised. (Oh, and I had to find beans to weight down the crust while it pre-baked, but I couldn't find dry beans so I used dry peas instead.)

Wonder of wonders, I found a package of pre-made fresh pie crust at our lovely local supermarket, so I was ready to go.

So here are the vague instructions for Irish Leek Tart.

Line a tart pan with pastry. Line the crust with foil and fill it with pie weights of your choice. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F (about 175 degrees C) for twenty minutes, or until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights.

Clean the leeks and cut off the roots and most of the green tops (watch for grit!). Parboil for a few minutes to soften.

Lay the half-cooked leeks in the pie crust. Sprinkle with cheese (yes, I'm still working my way through a pound of good Cork gubbeen).

Make two cups of basic white sauce (3 Tblsp flour, 3 Tblsp butter, 2 cups whole milk/cream, plus a bit of salt and pepper). When it is ready, ladle it over the leeks in the crust (do not swamp them!), return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or so.

Wish I could show you a lovely picture of a pristine slice of tart, but it was a bit goopy. The whole might work better as a quiche, in hindsight. But the three of us consumed the whole thing!

Oh, right--there's that new book coming out in January: Many a Twist, the next book in the County Cork Mysteries. I'll save the rest of the details for later, when I get over jet lag.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Clean Sweep Week at MLK! Pear Tart #Recipe @PegCochran

Ah, the New Year. Ah, the fridge and pantry, cluttered with leftovers, food gifts we don’t quite know how to use, and impulse buys that leave us scratching our heads, wondering what on earth we’d planned to do with them. It’s Clean Sweep week on the blog, as we share our attempts to use up a few of those odd bits and ingredients. We hope we inspire you to make good use of a few of the curious finds in your cabinets.  

We have a plethora of pears at our house all ripening faster than we can eat them.  This delicious bounty is thanks to lovely gifts from Harry & David this Christmas.  I needed to do something with the ones that were a hair past ripe and on their way to rotten.  I couldn't bear to see them go to waste.

I thought a pear tart might be the answer.  Unfortunately most recipes called for ground almonds and orange marmalade and I didn't have any almonds.  I'd already made two trips to the grocery store--the first time I realized, as I pulled into a parking place, that I'd forgotten my purse.  I know--what woman forgets her purse??!!  So it was back home again and then back to the store.  All this to say I was NOT going out again.

All the recipes that didn't require almonds called for apricot preserves, and I didn't have any apricot preserves.  So I took a few liberties and combined some recipes to make a tart without almonds but with orange marmalade.

Here are the results:

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Dough)
Recipe compliments of Lydie Marshall's Chez Nous

This is one of my favorite dough recipes--always so easy to work with.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (one stick)
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Cut butter into small pieces and put in freezer for five minutes.  Combine butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process for ten seconds.  Add water (2 tablespoons if it's humid and three if it's dry weather) and process around 10 seconds until mixture looks like cornmeal.

Dump mixture out onto counter and with the heel of your hand, use a sliding motion to incorporate the butter and flour the rest of the way.  Form a disc and cover with wax paper or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for fifteen minutes.

Roll dough into a circle and place in tart pan.  Roll rolling pin over the top to cut off extra dough.

Fill tart shell with pears.  Mine were so overripe that it wasn't possible to make the pretty circles you see on tarts in fancy bakeries.

Heat 1/2 cup orange marmalade and brush over top of tart.

Ready for the oven.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place tart on lower rack and reduce heat to 400 degrees.  (Be sure to put a cookie sheet under your tart pan for easy removal from oven.)

 Breathe in delicious smells! Certainly better than letting the pears go to waste.

Warm tart would be delicious topped with ice cream or whipped cream but see my note about not going back to the store!

Lucille and Flo are back in the fourth Lucille Series book -- A Room with a Pew

A reviewer said:  "I love this series. The characters to me are so real that I feel that I might know some of them...In addition to their sleuthing to find Louis' killer, Lucille has to deal with her husband's diet to get his cholesterol under control. Also Lucille is trying the Mediterranean diet, and her thoughts about this are just too, too funny.  It's always a joy to visit with Lucille, her family and friends.  This series gives you a laugh on practically every page."

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Coming May 2016 - Berry the Hatchet

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Available now as an audio book - Berried Secrets

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tomato Camembert Pie – One last taste of summer

by Leslie Budewitz

The original version of this recipe came from Country Living Magazine, January 2002, although it has gone through many iterations and changes in our house. Funny that it was first published midwinter—to us, it’s the flavor of summer, and we simply must have it at least once every summer. But I’m happy to see that date and be reminded that we can enjoy it any time of year!

Note the secret ingredients in the crust: olive oil, and pepper. Either Camembert or Brie work equally well. You can use almost any fresh herbs you have; the parsley and bay leaf are almost essential, and chives are very nice. I rarely have the fresh rosemary called for – it does not do well in this climate.

Leftovers are, well, wonderful.

The tart goes beautifully with a crisp salad and white wine or a nice rosé. Erin and her mother would definitely approve!

Tomato Camembert Pie

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter (3/4 stick), cut into pieces
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Gruyere, grated
4 plum or Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick; if your tomatoes are fat, you may need to cut the slices in half
6 ounces Camembert or Brie, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 small bayleaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, scant

Make the tart dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, salt, and pepper until the mixture resembles small crumbs or coarse meal. Mix in 2 tablespoons of oil and the water until the dough begins to gather and cling together. If your flour or climate are dry, you may need more oil, up to about 1 tablespoon. (You can do this with a spoon or pastry blender, if you’d rather.)

Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.

Don’t play frisbee. Instead, wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge about 30 minutes.

Create the tart: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out chilled dough and place into a tart shell; allow about 1/4 inch of dough to stick out above the edge of the pan, for shrinkage.

Spread the mustard in the bottom of the shell. Sprinkle the Gruyere over the mustard.

Layer the tomato and Camembert strips around the outer 3-4 inches of the shell; fill in the middle with leftover tomato and cheese.

In that food processor, mix the herbs, garlic, and oil. You’ll have about 3/4 cup of herb paste. Brush about ½ cup over the tart.

Bake the tart: Bake tart on the middle shelf for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and brush with the remaining herb paste. Serve warm.

Makes one 10-11 inch tart -- 6-8 servings.

From the cover of BUTTER OFF DEAD: As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Apple Quince Tarte

by Sheila Connolly
As you might have heard by now, New England, like much of the country, has been suffering through back-to-back snowstorms. Bad for driving, but good for baking, if you are so inclined (and have power).
I was happy to find fresh quince at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago. They’re odd little critters, with a long history. I have to say upfront, you can’t eat them raw.  They taste kinda like Styrofoam. But cook them, and you have an entirely different story: they become sweeter and they give a kind of silken texture to whatever you cook them with.

Quince tree at Old Sturbridge Village

Being snowbound, I had only a few fresh apples. But since I write about an apple orchard, I happen to have the last of last year’s crop from my own trees. They’ve been refrigerated since I picked them, but otherwise I haven’t done anything to them. When I pulled them out they were soft and a bit wrinkled, but not rotted, and they tasted fine. I felt like one of my ancestors, pulling out the last season’s harvest, while waiting for reluctant spring.  Bottom line, I had two new Cortlands, and three old Cortlands, plus two quince.

This is basically a tarte Tatin, which I first encountered in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art etc. a long time ago. But the dish scared me, because serving it for guests (which helps justify the effort that goes into making it) is risky because of that heart-stopping moment when you have to invert the tarte from its cooking pan onto a serving dish. It is fraught with peril: will the tarte emerge intact? Or will you be serving your guests an apple cobbler disguised with ice cream? (Hey, it tastes good either way.)

This one worked! And the result had a wonderful, rich flavor—the combination of caramel, apples and quince is delightful.

Apple Quince Tarte 
For a 9” tart
One 10” circle of pastry (use whatever you like—puff pastry, home-made, or straight from the supermarket freezer))

2 Tblsp unsalted butter
6 Tblsp sugar
1-2/3 – 2 lbs apples (soft to middling)

2-3 quinces, poached in vanilla syrup

To poach the quinces:
Make a syrup of 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar, and a vanilla bean, in a non-corroding saucepan (not aluminum).

Quarter and core the quinces, and slice 1/2 inch thick. Add the slices to the syrup, bring to a simmer, cover and let cook, barely simmering, for about 2-1/2 hours, until the slices are a warm pinkish-tan color and soft.  Do not stir: if the slices float to the top, push gently down again.  Let the slices cool in their poaching liquid.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Quarter, core and peel the apples, then slice them lengthwise.

Just starting--once it starts to caramelize,
you don't have time to take pictures!
In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat then immediately add the sugar and stir constantly.  Cook until the sugar is a golden caramel color, stirring steadily. Remove from the heat (the sugar will continue to cook from the heat of the pan for a bit). (Note: this will harden on its own, so move fairly quickly to add the next ingredients.)

Make a ring of apples over the caramel in the pan, around the edge, then make another ring in the center.  Press the slices of poached quince between the apple slices. (Another note: when liquid, the caramel is hot, so don’t burn your fingers!)

Set the pastry on top of the fruit, and when soft enough (if chilled), press in down over the filling at the sides of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the pastry is browned. (Test the apples with a sharp knife.)  Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for a minute or two. Set a serving plate upside down on top of the pan. Lifting the two together (three asbestos hands would be helpful about now!), flip them both over so that the tart drops onto the plate (hopefully intact!) If a few bits of fruit stick to the pan, you can rearrange the tart.

It worked!

Serve warm with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream. (If you have to wait, leave it in the pan, then return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes to soften the caramel again (shake the pan to make sure it’s dislodged).

A New York Times bestseller!

And this one is a Nook
bestseller this week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Make Mini Tarte Tatins (buttery sweet caramel apple tarts) by Cleo Coyle

Tarte Tatins are as common in France as our apple pie. Legend has it that the caramel apple dessert was created around 1900 by a pair of spinster sisters, who sold them to make their living. The last name of these women was Tatin. And that's why this delectable upside-down apple tart with buttery sweet caramel glaze is called tarte Tatin.

My recipe for you today (as part of our Mystery Lovers' Kitchen Apple Week!) is a mini version of the more traditional single, large Tatin. These mini caramel apple tarts are close to foolproof and they're great for holiday dinners for several reasons:

This dessert was mentioned
in my 6th Coffeehouse
Mystery: French Pressed.
To learn more about
my culinary mysteries, set
in a landmark Greenwich
Village coffeehouse,
click here.
(1) They're elegant little treats that always look amazing on dessert plates, as if a chef has "sauced" the apples with caramel. (2) Because they're individual servings, the recipe works for small dinner parties as well as large family gatherings. (3) Best of all, the tarts can be prepared in advance. Simply cover your ramekins with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge for up to two days before baking and serving. (Just be sure you follow the recipe and toss the apple slices with lemon, which prevents them from turning brown.) 

Below the "mini" recipe, I have two variations for you: another version of the tart crust along with an at-a-glance Cake Pan Tarte Tatin recipe. Thanks for dropping by today. May you always bake with love and...

Eat with joy! 
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s
Mini Tarte Tatins  

(Caramel Apple Tarts) 

To download a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save or share, click here.

Makes 6 Tarts
Filling ingredients:
3 Golden Delicious apples    
(*See my note below on type of apple)
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons flour

Caramel ingredients:
3 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons white sugar
6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

You will also need:
1 package frozen puff pastry shells 
  (I use Pepperidge Farms)
1 egg white (to brush puff pastry)
6 ramekins (7 to 8-oz size)
   (greased well with butter)
6 dessert plates

*The Golden Delicious variety of apple is my favorite for tarte Tatin because it holds its shape during baking and won’t turn to apple sauce when you plate the dessert. Granny Smith and Jonathan will work, as well.

Step 1 - Prepare the filling: Peel and core 3 Golden Delicious apples. Cut apples into relatively thin, even slices, about ½ inch thick. Toss the slices in a bowl with the lemon juice first, then the flour, coating them lightly. Note: The lemon prevents the apples from turning brown and the flour will absorb excess liquid released by the apples. If you skip the flour, your tarts may be watery.

Step 2 - Prepare the caramel: Grease the bottom and sides of your ramekins with butter. In a small saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the white and brown sugars and stir over low heat with a rubber spatula (to prevent sticking) until the sugars dissolve completely in the butter. The mixture will become thick. While still warm, divide the sugar mixture evenly among your 6 ramekins. Use that handy rubber spatula to even the mixture out at the bottom of each ramekin. (The mixture will harden as it cools, and that’s fine. In the oven, it will melt again into a sweet, buttery caramel glaze for your apples.

Step 3 - Prepare for baking: Divide your apple slices among the ramekins, layering them on their sides. You can bake the ramekins immediately at this point or store them by covering each ramekin with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge. (I have stored mine as long as 2 days, and they still came out beautifully.)

Step 4 - Begin baking: When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap, place ramekins on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. (You are halfway through the baking process here...)

Step 5 - Remove your baking sheet of ramekins from oven and (remembering the ramekins are hot!) carefully set a fully FROZEN puff pastry shell on top of the layered apple slices of each ramekin. Brush the top of the frozen pastry with egg white. This will protect the delicate pastry and also help it turn golden brown. 

Step 6 - Return ramekins to oven for another 20 to 25 minutes. Pastry is done when dough puffs up and turns golden brown and the apples are cooked through. (You can test the softness of apples with the tip of a sharp knife.) Remove ramekins from oven and set on a cool surface. Let rest for five minutes. Note: The resting is important because your caramel will be boiling hot and you need to let it settle down.

Step 7 - Time to plate: Remembering that the ramekins are still HOT, use oven mitts to place a dessert plate over a ramekin and carefully flip it (like pineapple upside down cake). After you flip the tart, the flaky puff pastry will be on the bottom of the plate and the buttery sweet caramel will drip down over the entire tart and pool around it on the dessert plate as if a pastry chef sauced it. If slices of apples stick to the ramekin simply use clean fingers to replace it prettily over the tart. Serve warm as is or with whipped cream or ice cream.

My "Plate is Hot!" note: I have made this recipe many times, and it's worked perfectly every time. It’s nearly foolproof, but please remember that you are working with HOT ramekins at the stage of placing pastry over the apples and again when you are flipping the ramekin for plating. Be careful! 


Buttery, tender puff pastry makes the very best version of this dessert (IMO). However, I've made this recipe in the past with homemade sweet pastry dough. You're welcome to try that version, too. Click here for my sweet crust recipe. 

For six tarts, halve my recipe, roll out the dough, cut out circles to fit the top of your ramekins and tuck them in, sealing the dough against the sides of the ramekin. Be sure to make a small slice with a knife in the top of each crust for venting steam; and DO NOT brush homemade dough with egg white (only the frozen puff pastry dough will benefit from that step).

For an easy, large version of my
Mini Tarte Tatins recipe, see below... 


 "Cake Pan" Tarte Tatin!

Using the basic ingredients and method described in my recipe above, make the caramel first, layer a well-buttered 9-inch cake pan with the caramel. Arrange the apple slices prettily on top and lay the crust over it. For this recipe, use a short or sweet pastry dough crust instead of the puff pastry. If you'd like a sweet pastry crust recipe, click here for mine. Tuck in the crust with a spoon, as shown, make a few slits in the crust with knife to vent steam, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, depending on your oven. The tart is done when the top turns golden brown and the apples are cooked through. (You can test the softness of the apples with the tip of a sharp knife.) Allow to cool down before flipping onto a serving platter and...

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
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Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit
my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.