Tag Archives: tart

apple gallette with blue cheese and walnuts

apple gallette 1a

it may surprise you, considering how many sweet treats i make and write about on this blog, that i consider myself more of a savory than sweet-type person. you heard me right, i really do not have a sweet tooth. gasp, i know. it’s crazy, too because i love to bake cakes, tarts, cookies, et al, but i tend to eat desserts only on special occasions or in lieu of a meal. (insert late afternoon slice of pie and cup o’ joe here). for this month’s let’s lunch challenge, the group has decided  on a ‘fall desserts’ theme, which seems to fit in with the whole dessert-as-meal-replacement plan.

apple gallette 2

this time of year does bring out a bit of the ol’ sugary cravings, i suppose. i tend to go for more earthy, fruit-based concoctions over super-sweet chocolate or frosted ones. but i’m weird that way.  should i even mention that i would take a lemony anything over a chocolate something else?

apple gallette 3

this would be  a good dessert after a nice fall meal or even, dare i say, as an appetizer with a glass of bubbly or red wine. you could even leave out the blue cheese and serve warm with homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

apple gallette 4

apple gallette with blue cheese and walnuts (makes 1 large tart)

adapted from barefoot contessa


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp sugar

12 tbsp (1 1/2) sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small dice

1/2 cup ice water


4 granny smith apples

1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice

1/2 cup apple jelly (or a light colored jam, heated and strained)

2 tbsp calvados (this is a fabulous french apple aperitif-get some!)

1/4 cup walnuts chopped

1-2 ounces of quality blue cheese (i used point reyes)

for the pastry, place flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. pulse 2-3 times until well-combined. add the butter and pulse 10-12 times until butter is in small, pea-sized pieces. be sure to use the pulse feature, you do not want to over mix and create a paste. with the motor running, pour the ice water through the shoot until the dough just comes together (you may not use all the water depending on the humidity level and other factors). dump dough onto a floured board and quickly knead into a ball. at this point, i like to press the dough into  a disc the shape of how it will be rolled out, i.e. a round, square, or in this case, a rectangle. wrap in in plastic and chill for at least 1-2 hours.

preheat oven to 400 degrees. line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

roll dough into a rectangle about 10 x 14 inches. trim the edges straight with a pizza cutter or knife. for a more rustic look, you can omit this step – i do not judge. place dough on prepared sheet pan and chill while you are readying the apples.

peel apples and cut through the stem, removing stems and cores with a sharp paring knife or melon baller. slice the apples crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, leaving slices together in order. place slices in diagonal rows on pastry, starting in middle of the tart, then adding adding rows of apples to fill in until pastry is covered. sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter. although it appears like a LOT, do not be tempted to cut down the amount of sugar~the tart will be, well, very tart if you do.

bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the apples have brown edges. rotate the pan once during cooking. you may deflate any air bubbles that form by poking them with a small knife. don’t worry if the juices run off and start to burn, this is expected. remove tart from oven. heat jelly and calvados in a small pan and brush mixture on pastry and apples. dot with the blue cheese – use as much as you prefer, but be warned, a little goes a long way. it will gently and beautifully melt into the gallette. loosen tart from paper before cooling so it doesn’t stick. allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

if you love a good fall dessert, check out these fine folk’s take on them , too:


a tiger in the kitchen



slow food chef

free range cookies



Filed under appetizer, desserts

provencal tomato tart


tom tart 2

so the last days of summer seem to be upon us. and i don’t feel particularly sentimental about it. you see, down here in texas the summer is fairly brutal, especially this year. we may be approaching close to 60 days of 100 degree (or better) temperatures. and so there is no love lost between me and summer this year. good riddance. sayonara. adios, mofo.

tom tart flours

tom tart crust in pan

but wait. don’t leave without offering up the last of your tomatoes. i will take them gladly. i will put them in a tart with pesto and mozzarella and offer them up for the last week of summer fest.

provencal tomato tart (serves 6)

don’t let the long list of instructions for the crust scare you off–use your favorite store-bought crust if you can’t be bothered. the tart itself is so easy and versatile: substitute mustard for the pesto, gruyere for the cheese, you get the idea.

adapted from ‘once upon a tart‘ cookbook by frank mentesana & jerome audureau

for the crust:

(or use savory crust of your choice, par-baked)

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 semolina flour (this small addition makes for a fantastic crunch)

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 tbsp cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

small glass of ice water

put the flours and salt in bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. pulse a few times to integrate. add the butter and shortening all at once and pulse quite a few times, until mixture forms little balls (like moist crumbs) and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. be sure to use the pulse feature, you do not want to run it continuously and create a paste. dump dough into a large bowl and add 2 tbsp ice water. using your hands, start forming the dough into a ball, adding more water if needed. the dough should just hold together into a ball, you do not want it to be wet. wrap in plastic and flatten into a disc. place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

roll dough out to 1/4″ on a lightly floured board and place gently in tart pan with removable bottom. chill 30 minutes. this will prevent your the sides of your tart from shrinking too much when you bake it.

preheat oven to 400F. prick holes over bottom of tart with the tines of a fork. cover with aluminun foil or parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans. bake in center rack in oven for 10 minutes. remove foil or parchment and weights and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until light brown. cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

tom tart pesto

for the filling:

4-5 tbsp fresh basil pesto

a few handfuls grated mozzarella cheese

6-7 roma tomatoes

a few tsp dried herbes de provence

slice tomatoes and place in colander with a pinch of salt to drain off any excess liquid. spread pesto evenly across bottom of par-baked tart crust. sprinkle cheese over. layer tomatoes like dominoes. scatter herbs atop tomatoes. bake until tomatoes begin to shrivel and cheese melts, about 10-20 minutes.

now, visit a way to garden, matt bites, steamy kitchen, and white on rice couple (and their commenters/participants section!) for other delicious tomato recipes this week!


Filed under appetizer, main dish, side dish

nectarine and mascarpone tart

nectarine tart 1

this summer i’m participating in summer fest 2009, wherein culinary ideas and inspiration about summer produce are traded by a group of food lovers and bloggers. a group, you say? but she never joins ‘groups’.  i think she hates groups, in fact! yes, i have a rep. i come from a long line of non group-joiners. what that is, i don’t know. it’s like a bad habit. i’m trying to be more aware of some of my not-so-good habits, diversify, break out of the same old rut, say yes when i would reflexively say no. always a good thing, ya know, to stretch those rigid muscles?

anyway, if you’re so inclined, you should check out some of the blogs from these summer fest party hosts: mattbites, steamy kitchen, white on rice couple, and a way to garden.

nectarine tart 2

i found distributing the crust evenly in the pan to be very zen-like. it sort of reminded me of sandcastle-building.

nectarine tart 3

i did my best to keep the filling-eating within normal limits. i was not successful. somehow i still had enough to fill the tart pan so no one would know.

nectarine tart 4

nectarine tart 5

nectarine and mascarpone tart (serves 8-10)

adapted from bon appetit

mascarpone cheese is  like an italian cream cheese, but it is extremely luxurious. it is a little pricey,but since the whole dessert is not very expensive to make,  resist the urge to use all cream cheese. there is some chilling time needed, so plan accordingly. we ate the leftovers the next day, and it still appeared and tasted very fresh.


25 gingersnaps, coarsely broken up

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted pure butter, melted


1-8 ounce container mascarpone cheese

6 ounce cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp grated lemon peel (about 2 lemons)

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (i skipped this-i wanted a silky smooth texture to the filling)


3-4 small nectarines, halved, pitted, cut into thin slices (a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will discourage browning)

1/4 cup peach jam, warmed 

2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger


preheat oven to 350. process gingersnaps in a food processor into a fine grind. add melted butter and pulse until combined.  press mixture into botton and sides of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. bake crust until darkens, about 8 minutes. set aside and cool completely.

beat all ingredients for filling, except crystallized ginger , in a medium bowl or stand mixer until smooth. add ginger, if using, and mix with a spoon. spread gently into prepared crust. cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

after chilling, arrange nectarine slices in an overlapping pattern on top of filling. brush with jam. sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger. serve, or refrigerate up to 6 hours. 

next time i think i’ll leave off the jam glaze. it doesn’t need it. it was perfect with just the clean and fresh taste of the fruit alone (see below). this would be perfect with plums, figs, or even fresh berries.


nectarine tart 6


Filed under cake, cheese, desserts, fruit

meyer lemon curd tart and learning to let go


cooks are delicate creatures. and cooking is serious business. this might not come as a surprise to you but those who love to cook, as a group, have a high incidence of bruised egos. and just like with any other artistic endeavor, it’s not usually other’s that can accomplish this. no, it usually comes from within–we are our own worst critic. add in a bad day at work and attempting to make a tart crust, not to mention my stubborn taurean ways, and you’ve got the perfect storm. 

learning how to make a proper pie or tart crust. initial ingredients in food processor, determining how much more ice water to add:


after adding too much, then adding a bit more flour (and 20-30 minutes of hemming and hawing about it), i came up with this:


the recipe called for it to be ‘schmeared’ with the palm of your hand a few times, like this:


after allowing to rest for at least 30 minutes (made mine the day before, then let it sit out for 30 minutes or so), roll it out, adding more flour if it at all seems sticky:


then fold ‘er in half (or quarters) and place in tart pan. gently press dough into sides and bottom of pan, then roll pin over the top to cut off extra dough:


so far so good, right? top with foil and add pie weights. i have a jar of beans i keep in the pantry that i use over and over designated for this purpose only:


place in oven and start your blind baking. try not to attempt to take tart pan out of the oven from the bottom like i did. the crust will (and did) fall apart. after patchworking back together and browning for a few minutes more without foil:



all is lost, right? honestly, i was practically in tears as i stood over the 425 degree oven removing all the beans from the bottom of the scorchingly hot oven and attempting to put the crust back together. i thought about making another crust, but fought the urge. NOTE: THIS WAS VERY HARD FOR ME TO DO. 

although it sounds very exotic, making the lemon curd was the easiest part of the whole process, especially if you’ve ever made pudding from a box when you were a kid–lots of stirring! pour in your curd:


i did end up having to devise a plan of action and i put a layer of foil between the tart pan bottom and sides (remember it’s a 2 piece tart pan) so my curd didn’t spill out all over the place –and it worked!


i placed the whole thing on baking sheet with sides, just in case. after baking, i let it cool for a bit after removing from oven because the curd is actually still quite loose when it comes out. then i cooled in the fridge for awhile (stiil in the tart pan due to the crust fiasco of 2009). it firmed up quite a bit and i was able to remove the side of the tart pan and make it look kinda pretty and beautifully wonky:


honestly, it tasted fabulous and i was glad for the experience. in fact, i made 2 more savory crusts following martha stewart’s pate brisee recipe (omitting the sugar) and they were beautiful.


meyer lemon curd tart (adapted from anne burrell)


for the pie crust:

  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

for the curd:

  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice*
  • 3 Meyer lemons, zested**
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pats

* for both the lemon juice and zest i used 5-6 lemons

** be sure to zest the lemons before you juice them. it is impossible to do this the other way around!

preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

for the dough:

put the butter, sugar, flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy or coarse crumb consistency. it is important not to over process the dough or it will become tough. add ice water a few tablespoons at a time and pulse the food processor in between additions. check the consistency of the dough by clenching a small handful in your fist. if the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. if not, pulse the dough with a little more water. if it becomes too wet, add a pinch more flour or you can just add it on your board when you remove it from the food processor. when the dough has reached the proper consistency, dump it out on a clean work surface. using the heel of your hand, schmear the dough straight forward and roll it back with your fingertips. repeat this process 1 to 2 more times, dust with flour if needed. form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness, moving it around as you roll so it does not stick to your board. fold the dough in half, or in quarters in order to move it to the tart pan. lay the dough in the tart pan and unfold. gently press the dough into the sides of the tart pan by rolling a small scrap of dough into a ball and pushing it into the dough, or just use your knuckles or fingers. roll over the top edge of the tart pan with the rolling pin to cut the extra dough from the pan and create a crisp edge. cover the dough with aluminum foil and gently poke the foil into the side edges to fit the pan. this will help to keep the sides of the tart tall and straight as it cooks. refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. fill the tart shell with the dried beans and place in the preheated oven. bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the foil and beans and bake for 2 to 3 minutes more. remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. the dough should be golden and crisp.

preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

for the lemon curd:

in a bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs and salt and whisk to a homogeneous consistency. place in saucepan and bring to a medium heat. cook, whisking, constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in the butter, 2 pats at a time until it’s incorporated and has a silky consistency. you may strain the mixture at this time if you prefer an absolute pure consistency, but i like the natural pulp and all in mine.

pour the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell and bake in the preheated oven until the lemon curd has set, about 15 minutes. let cool completely before cutting.

the original recipe called for a blueberry garnish but i didn’t feel it was necessary. decide for yourself.


Filed under desserts