Archive for: tart
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 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.
Vanilla and almond is a good combination in just about any dessert, so it should come as no surprise that a tart crust that combines those two flavors is a terrific basic tart crust recipe. This buttery Vanilla Almond Tart Crust has ground almonds and vanilla extract in it, and bakes up into a crisp and tender crust that can be used for all kinds of desserts. The recipe makes plenty of dough for a 9 or 10 inch tart pan, and can also be used for a number of smaller tarts, and it works well with both baked and unbaked tart fillings. It goes particularly well with chocolate fillings and fruit fillings, and I often use it as a base for my Strawberries and Cream Cheese Tart.
This tart dough comes together easily and is much less fussy than a pie crust can be. The dough has ground almonds in it and uses cake flour, which has less gluten in it than all purpose flour, to help produce a more tender crust. The cake flour should be measured by spooning it into your measuring cup, then sifting it into the rest of the tart ingredients. Cake flour can be clumpy if it is not sifted, but for this recipe it is not necessary to sift it before measuring it out.
This tart dough is very sticky, so it is important that you chill it well before using it. That stickiness also means that the dough will be crisp and tender after baking, not tough. I usually stick the dough into a gallon-sized plastic bag, press it into a flat layer and chill it thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer (freezer is best if you need to chill your dough quickly). I then roll it out on a lightly floured surface and am ready to line my tart pans!
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.
Guava, in the form of sweet guava paste, is a popular filling for all kinds of pastries in Cuban cuisine. There is a local Cuban bakery in my area – Porto’s, for anyone in the LA area – that makes all kinds of pastries with guava. It only takes one or two bites to realize that the sweet guava fillings not only a good match for buttery pastry, but are quite addictive! This guava tart isn’t inspired by a dish from that bakery, but it is a Cuban recipe from Eating Cuban, a cookbook that I really enjoy.
This tart is very simple. It has a filling made with guava paste sandwiched between two layers of tender and buttery crust. The filling itself – since it is only made with guava paste – is very sweet, but it is toned down very well by the lightly sweet pastry that makes up the rest of the tart. Having a filling with only one ingredient also means that this tart is easy to throw together without much prep work once you have a block of guava paste on hand to start with. The pastry dough is much like the dough for a butter cookie, and while it is lightly sweetened, the dominant flavor is butter once it has baked. It is tender and has a fantastic texture once it has baked, neither too soft nor too firm. The dough can be a bit crumbly if you’re not careful (and a bit sticky if you don’t chill it!), but it can easily be patched with small scraps of dough if you accidentally tear it while rolling.
Guava paste is typically available at Mexican and Latin American markets, although it can sometimes be found at regular grocery stores (depending in the area) and specialty markets. The amount of guava paste given in the recipe is my suggestion for how much you should use in your tart. Since the paste is sliced, it is easy to make the filling into a thinner layer if you are worried about the tart being overly sweet for your tastes. Another way to temper the guava filling is by serving this tart with a few slices of good, dry cheese. A sharp Cheddar is a good choice (just as it is a good choice with apple pie), but I like Spanish Manchego as a side to this tart. That said, I also like a generous layer of guava filling and a big scoop of ice cream on the side, but I’m not above just grabbing a slice and eating it for breakfast with a cup of coffee, either!