Archive for the ‘Tarts’ Category
This Apple Slab Tart is a great dessert for anyone that likes traditional tarts but that finds making them – tucking the crust into a tart pan, blind baking, etc – to be a bit of a fussy process. It’s a simple tart that requires no pie crust and is shaped free-form right on your baking sheet. It also has very few ingredients, so it is likely that you’ll always have the things on hand to make this. Another name for tarts like this one is a galette, though that term is typically applied to round free-form tarts, rather than rectangular ones.
The tart starts with a buttery, flaky homemade pie crust. The crust is simple to make both by hand and with a food processor, and since you don’t need to press it into a pie plate, even those who haven’t had great results with pies in the past can approach this with confidence. The crust has a hint of cinnamon and a very small amount of brown sugar in it to give it a little extra flavor. Homemade is going to give you the best results in this tart, although you can also try the same technique with puff pastry or storebought pie crust if you’re looking for a shortcut.
I use two medium sized apples when making this tart and often have a few slices that don’t get used. You can make it with just one large apple, but a few extra apple slices never hurt. The tart is not too sweet, so tart Granny Smiths might be a little too tart in this case. I typically use Fujis or Pink Lady apples (whatever I have around), but you can use just about any type of apple in this recipe. I peel them, core them and slice them thinly. The apples are tossed with a little sugar and topped with a little more just before baking for a nice finish. You can adjust these sugar amounts to suit your taste and the type of apples that you’re using.
This tart is great for brunch or for dessert. It is good served both warm and at room temperature, and the leftovers keep well. For brunch, dust it with confectioners’ sugar before serving. For dessert, drizzle it with a little caramel sauce or place a small scoop of ice cream on the side of each slice.
Blood oranges are definitely the jewels of the citrus world. Their red vibrant red color makes them a standout, and they’re known for being very sweet, with floral and berry notes that you don’t find in other citrus varieties. I often eat them plain, as their color gets lost in most recipes that call for oranges, but their flavor can be a great addition to many desserts.
This Blood Orange Tart has a curd-like filling made with fresh blood orange juice and orange zest. The filling takes on a slightly pinkish orange hue from the blood oranges. It is creamy, with a bright orange flavor, and is a nice match for the shortbread-like tart dough. The filling is not very thick, which makes this tart seem quite light. Using a 9-inch tart pan will get you a slightly thicker layer of filling, which might take an extra minute or two in the oven to bake all the way through.
I made an Orange Almond Tart Dough for this recipe, adding some fresh orange zest to an almond-enriched tart dough. The dough is fairly sticky and it is very tender, so use flour generously when you roll this out on your work surface and have a bench scraper handy to make it easy to transfer to the tart pan. Fortunately, this dough also patches very, very easily so if it tears as you put it into the pan or isn’t quite even, you can simply break off another small portion of dough and press it into place. The baked crust is slightly crisp, buttery and very tender – so it is worth a little extra effort getting it into the pan.
Blood oranges can vary quite a bit in their color, from light orange with a few red streaks to a dark purple. No matter the color inside, any blood orange is going to give you good results in this recipe. The only difference will be some slight variation in the color of the curd. This tart can be made with other oranges (cara cara and naval oranges are good choices), too, if you can’t find blood oranges to work with. Regardless of the type of orange, be sure to use freshly squeezed juice for the best results.
This Dark Chocolate Mocha Truffle Tart will definitely satisfy anyone’s chocolate cravings. A buttery tart shell is filled with a smooth, velvety dark chocolate ganache that is lightly sweetened with honey and kissed with coffee flavor. The dark chocolate flavor comes through the most, but adding the coffee makes the filling a little bit more complex, drawing out some of the darker notes in the chocolate. The tart is decadent, very satisfying to eat and surprisingly easy to make.
For this type of tart, you need to start with a prebaked tart shell made with your favorite tart dough. I used four individually sized Vanilla Almond Tart Crusts that I baked a day ahead of time. You can also use a single 9 or 10-inch tart shell. After your shells have baked and cooled, you can prepare the chocolate ganache that makes up the tart filling. Once it is ready – no further baking needed! – all you need to do is wait for it to set up before you can dig in.
The ganache is made by pouring hot cream over chopped dark chocolate, honey and instant espresso or coffee powder (I used Starbucks Via). Choose a good quality dark chocolate in your favorite brand with 60-70% cacao for best results. The hot cream will melt the chopped chocolate as you stir and create a very smooth ganache that makes a silky filling for the tarts. Make sure that the ganache is still warm – you can pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it slightly, if necessary – when you pour it into the prepared tart shells. After the ganache is poured into the tart, firmly (but not aggressively) tap the bottom of the tart a few times on your countertop to release any bubbles that may have formed when your poured in the ganache.
Smooth the surface with an offset immediately after pouring if you want a very smooth finish on your tarts. Personally, I don’t mind the slightly rippled look of the glossy, poured ganache because it gives the tarts a more handmade look without taking anything away from their flavor. These tarts are best eaten within a day or two of being made, as the ganache will start to soften the crust slightly if they are kept longer. Serve plain or with a little whipped cream.
In general, I usually reach for a bag of chocolate chips when I want to add some chocolate to a batch of cookies, brownies or other baked goods. Around the holidays, however, I am often swayed by the seasonally colored bags of M&Ms and similar candies and throw those into recipes to get some fall color along with my chocolate fix. I’ve been seeing leaves start to change to red, orange and yellow and couldn’t resist a similarly colorful bag of fall M&Ms, so I chose to include them in this Autumn Cookie Torte.
The torte is essentially a giant chocolate chip cookie that is baked in a springform pan. As the cookie bakes, it rises up the sides of the pan and acquires a crisp, buttery “crust” and a very moist, fudgy center. It really is a wonderful contrast of crisp and chewy for cookie lovers. The torte will sink slightly in the center as it cools, while the edges stay firm, and it should be cooled completely before it is sliced so that it will be fully set. That said, it is also fun to eat it while it’s slightly warm and the chocolate is melty, if you don’t mind your slices being slightly less than perfect!
The M&Ms pack a nice chocolate punch and you still get a hint of their crisp candy shells as you eat the torte. You can use chocolate chips, nuts or other mix-ins, but that little splash of color makes this torte stand out and makes it seem like an extra special treat in the fall.
Grapes are a fruit that most of us simply eat straight out of the bowl, or wait until they turn into raisins and use them in baking. But there is another good use for grapes. They can easily be roasted and become even sweeter and more tender after a short time in the oven. Roasted grapes are delicious on their own or on top of ice cream, or when used in a tart filling, as they are in this Roasted Grape Galette.
Galettes are rustic looking fruit tarts that are easy to make and a great way to showcase fresh fruit. This one starts with a homemade pie crust that is folded up around a generous number of fresh red grapes, and is then baked until the grapes are incredibly sweet and the pastry is crisp and flaky. I toss my grapes in a little bit of cornstarch and a tiny amount of red wine (or grape juice) just to try to catch any juices that might leak out while the grapes are roasting in the oven and keep the inside the galette’s crust.
The key to a great galette is having a very flaky pastry dough to work with. Pie crust is sturdier than puff pastry and has less of a tendency to get soggy, even when you fill it with a very juicy fruit. You can use a storebought crust, but you will definitely have a better result with a good homemade one. You can get some tips here on making your pie dough even flakier. With a good crust, you’ll really get the contrast between crisp, buttery pastry and juicy, sweet filling.
This galette is best served the day it is made, as the juice from the grapes will cause the crust to soften a bit if it is stored overnight. Fortunately, the pie dough can be prepared a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge, so you can assemble the tart shortly before serving. Be careful when you’re rolling out the dough so that you don’t get any tears in the pastry that could let excess grape juice leak into the oven during baking and you get all that flavor in the finished tart.