Archive for the ‘Tarts’ Category
Galettes are wonderful desserts to make with fresh fruit because really let the fruit shine and are also quite easy to prepare. This Plum and Blueberry Galette has a filling made with fresh plums and blueberries, which not only make a good flavor combination, but turn into a dramatic dessert that has a vivid purple color to it.
A galette is a free-form tart that has a flaky pastry crust, rather like a pie that you can make without using a pie plate. Since the tart has a casual look, I always feel like I can put just about anything inside one and often use a combination of whatever fruit I have on hand. In this case, I used some sweet, ripe plums and plump blueberries. Both fruits have a bold sweetness to them and they work well together, giving the tart a wonderfully jammy flavor that is perfectly showcased in a buttery, flaky pie crust.
I typically leave the skins on plums when I bake with them, since a lot of the color of plums comes from their skin and I like to have that bold color in my desserts. The skin is also very tender, so it rarely seems intrusive in the finished dessert. If you prefer, you can certainly peel the plums before using them. Also, be sure to taste your plums because if they are on the tart side, you might want to add a few extra tablespoonfuls of sugar to sweeten up this dessert. Serve the galette while it is still just slightly warm from the oven, either plain or with a little bit of sweetened whipped cream on the side.
White chocolate is a wonderful vehicle for vanilla. Good quality white chocolate is made up of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and vanilla, so most good white chocolate will already have a distinct vanilla flavor and it doesn’t take much more to push that to an even better one. So that means that this White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Tart is a good choice for vanilla lovers, as well as for anyone who is a white chocolate fan.
The tart has a chocolate crumb crust and is filled with a decadent vanilla bean-infused white chocolate ganache. The ganache is made with just three ingredients: white chocolate, heavy cream and a vanilla bean. The cream is heated and infused with vanilla, then poured over the white chocolate to create the ganache. It is silky smooth with a beautiful vanilla and cream flavor that reminds me a lot of vanilla bean ice cream. The chocolate crust is made with plain chocolate wafer cookies that have a strong cocoa flavor to them. As a result, the crust is not very sweet at all, so it tempers the sweetness of the ganache and adds a crunchy texture to each bite of the tart.
Be sure to use high quality white chocolate, not anything labeled as “baking pieces” or “candy coating.” These faux white chocolates aren’t made with cocoa butter and won’t give you the silky texture that we want in this tart. They also tend to be extremely sweet. I used Callebaut white chocolate in my tart and can assure you that it is worth splurging on some premium chocolate as a base for this recipe.
If you don’t have individual tart shells, or simply want a larger dessert, this recipe can be prepared in a 9-inch tart shell instead of four individual shells. This recipe can also easily be halved to serve make just two tarts. When I halve the filling, I often make all four tart shells anyway and just tuck two away (in an airtight container) for a few days for later use, as it is nice to have a tart shell or two on hand.
This Spiderweb Pumpkin Tart has a spooky look to it that makes it perfect for Halloween. A black spiderweb covers the top of the tart – and the design is surprisingly easy to make for something that delivers such a “wow” factor when you’re ready to serve it.
The tart filling is much like the filling for pumpkin pie, but a little bit denser. A thicker filling allows the design to hold its shape easily here. A small portion of the filling is separated out from the rest of the batch and mixed with some cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is just enough to give it a nearly black color, but it doesn’t give the finished tart much flavor because only a very small amount of filling is colored. The colored batter is piped on to the plain batter in a big spiral, and to make the design all you need to do is slowly run a toothpick from the center of the pan to the sides, straight through the filling and the swirl. I recommend gently tapping the pan on the counter a few times to smooth out any grooves that you might have made with the toothpick before baking.
The tart has a warm, spicy pumpkin flavor. It’s a much thinner layer of filling than you would find in a pumpkin pie, so it is less custardy than a pumpkin pie traditionally is. You also have a nice ratio of crust to filling with this tart. I definitely recommend using a buttery, shortbread tart crust or something like my Maple Sugar Shortbread Tart Crust, which is what I paired with this recipe. A Browned Butter Tart Dough can also be a good option.
I’ve included the instructions for making the spiderweb design in the recipe for the tart. If you don’t want the spiderweb (if you want to make this for Thanksgiving instead of Halloween) design on top, just skip over that part and pour the entire pumpkin batter into the tart shell. You won’t need to change the baking time at all.
Update: Check out my video demo of the spiderweb technique.
You can always bake berries into a cobbler or pie, but when you have a basket of ripe berries, sometimes the best thing that you can do with them is show them off in their natural state. This easy to make Mixed Berry and Mascarpone Tart is a perfect dessert for showcasing berries. It starts with a sweet, almond shortbread tart crust that is filled with a creamy mascarpone filling before being topped with fresh berries. The most time consuming part is making the crust – and that only takes a few minutes. The flavor of the crisp, butter almond shortbread with the cool filling and super sweet, in-season berries can’t be beat.
I use mascarpone cheese in this filling because it has a nice creaminess and a slightly sweet flavor that really sets off the berries very well. Cream cheese could be used as a substitute, but it has a stronger flavor and will be a more dominant element when the tart is served. Feel free to adjust the amount of confectioners’ sugar in the filling to your tastes, adding a little bit extra if you prefer your filling to be a little bit sweeter. I stuck with a simple combination of raspberries and blackberries for my fruit here. They are about the same size, which gives the tart a nice look, and their flavors go very well together. Don’t hesitate to mix up the berry combination with blueberries or boysenberries, too! I think that the tart looks stunning with neat rows of fresh berries, but you can actually use all kinds of fruit as a topping.
The tart recipe is for a 10-inch round tart, but you can see from the photos that it can also be made in tart pans of different sizes. Since this is a no-bake filling, you don’t need to worry about baking times and pan sizes too much with this recipe. Press your tart dough into any shape tart pan – round or rectangular, large or small – and bake the crust until it is just golden (the baking times are very similar to the full size tart, as long as the crusts are a similar thickness), then you’re ready to fill. If you do happen to have a rectangular tart pan, I definitely recommend it as it is easy to decorate and serve in this format.
Chocolate covered strawberries are one of the tastiest treats that you can make with fresh strawberries, but this chocolate and strawberry combination can be used in other types of desserts, as well. This Double Chocolate Strawberry Tart is definitely inspired by the idea of a chocolate covered strawberry – though in this dessert, the strawberries are on top of the chocolate!
The tart starts with a Chocolate Shortbread Tart Crust. This buttery crust is filled with a very simple chocolate cream cheese filling. I love this filling because it is very easy to prepare and has a subtle cheesecake flavor to it that goes well with all kinds of other flavors, including fresh fruit. Melted dark chocolate gives it a good chocolate flavor while still keeping it light and not as heavy as a ganache filling can be. The tart is finished with a flower-like array of thinly sliced, fresh strawberries. You get a perfect mouthful of crisp crust, creamy filling, chocolate and berries in every bite.
I made this dessert as 4 individual tarts for single servings (or sharing), but you can use the shortbread crust recipe to make a 9 or 10-inch tart shell, as well, and you can assemble these ingredients into one larger tart to serve a crowd. The tart is best when served just after you add the berries, as the fresh berries give off too much juice to store the entire tart for a long period of time. You can, however, prepare the tart shells a day or two in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. The day you are ready to serve them, fill the shells with the chocolate cream filling and store the filled crusts in the refrigerator for up to a few hours. Add the strawberries just before serving.
I like this tart served very simply, but to dress it up you can add a dollop of whipped cream to each one. You can also melt some apricot jelly and use it to “glaze” the strawberries for a super-shiny finish, though I think that perfectly ripe strawberries need no embellishment.