Hazelnut Plum Tarts

INGREDIENTS:

makes six 4-inch tarts

  • 255 g (2 cups + 2 Tbspn) AP flour
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tspn Turkish coffee
  • 1/4 tspn ground cardamom
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn sea salt
  • 2 sticks (1 lb) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tspn hazelnut extract
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbspn orange juice
  • 4 – 6 small plums
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Lightly grease the inside of six 4-inch tart molds. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, hazelnuts, Turkish coffee grounds, ground cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Process until the hazelnut is finely ground.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingertips. Slowly add the sugar into the butter, creaming thoroughly until well-incorporated and aerated. 5. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the hazelnut and vanilla extracts and the orange juice. Beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two stages, beating until combined and until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Divide and press the dough into the prepared tart pans. Slice the plums and arrange the slices on top of the dough, pressing down lightly. Sprinkle with a healthy amount of turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the tarts for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before unmolding from the tart tins.
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Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)for cookie:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings–recipes included below.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 – 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
  6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
  7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I’ve worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it’s a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don’t roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:

  • 1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
  5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste (marzipan)

or
Another filling could be:
Poppyseed
Mascarpone
figs

Strawberry Passionfruit Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9×9-inch square tart

for tart shell:

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 10 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbspn fresh meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla
  • 1 – 2 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour, dark brown sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a bowl. Mix.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter is the size of small peas.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla into the flour mixture. Gradually add the water just until a dough forms when pressed between your fingers. Do not overmix.
  4. Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch thickness and place in the tart pan, pressing the dough gently into the sides. Trim and discard any excess dough. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Return to the refrigerator and chill for at least 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and weigh down with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove the weights and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3 – 5 minutes more, until the entire tart crust is golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

for filling:

  • 2 – 3 punnets strawberries
  • 1 Tbspn water
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tspn gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup passionfruit pulp or puree
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn sugar
  • whipped cream, optional

METHOD:

  1. Trim the green end off the strawberries and arrange in the cooled tart shell.
  2. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water and let sit briefly.
  3. In a small saucepan, stir to combine the passionfruit and sugar. Add the gelatin and warm over low heat until, stirring until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Do not let boil.
  4. Once dissolved, remove from heat and let cool briefly. Spoon or brush a thin layer of the passionfruit onto the strawberries–do not use all of the passionfruit. Place the tart in the refrigerator to let the first layer of jelly set. Keep the passionfruit at room temperature. After about 20 – 30 minutes, brush another layer of passionfruit jelly onto the tart and return to chill. Repeat once more, using the remainder of the passionfruit. Tart is ready to serve when the jelly has set completely. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Strawberry-Lemonade Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ pie

for pastry:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 6 Tbspn ice water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter in ~Tbspn-sized chunks.
  3. Process the flour, salt, and butter for a few pulses.
  4. Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition.
  5. Process just until water is integrated and the mixture is the texture of tiny pebbles. When you press the mixture between your fingers, it should form a dough.
  6. Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured board and form into a ball. If the dough has warmed up too much during this process, freeze for ten to fifteen minutes before continuing.
  7. Roll out the pastry dough and place into pie plate. Prick the bottom of the pie several times with a fork. Return to the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes if the dough has warmed up too much in the rolling process.
  8. Before baking, line the inside of the pie crust with a piece of parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).
  9. Bake in the oven for ~15-17 minutes, until the outside rim of the crust begins to turn a golden brown. Carefully remove the pie weights and parchment paper, lower the oven temperature to 190 degrees C, and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes more, until the pie crust has turned golden brown and is no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for strawberry-lemonade curd filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn cornstarch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the strawberry puree and lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for lemon curd filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbspn cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolk and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 8 Tbspn granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a large bowl and sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Stir using a whisk until the surface of the egg whites is completely covered with foam.
  3. Increase speed and whip the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar, until the whites hold glossy stiff (but still a bit rounded) peaks. Do not overbeat!
  4. Add in the vanilla extract with a quick stir.
  5. Fill the pre-baked pie crust with strawberry-lemonade curd and then swirl in the lemon curd.
  6. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Bake for fifteen minutes, until the meringue is just barely golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool for at least one hour at room temperature before serving.

Lavender Honey Ice Cream, Cardamom-Almond Tuile & Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart

Lavender Honey Ice Cream
INGREDIENTS:
makes ~one quart
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used wildflower)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn sugar
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lavender and milk. Bring to just a simmer, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Stir together the honey and heavy cream in a bowl and prepare a fine mesh strainer on top. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until light. Set aside.
  4. Strain the lavender from the milk, making sure to press all of the liquid possible out of the lavender buds. Discard the lavender buds. Return the milk to the stove and add the sugar and salt. Bring to a bare simmer.
  5. Whisking constantly, pour a small but steady stream of the heated milk into the egg yolks to temper. Do this slowly while whisking quickly. Once the milk and egg yolks are combined, return to the saucepan and to the stove.
  6. Heat the egg yolk and milk mixture while stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so that nothing burns or sticks. Slowly cook the mixture until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat immediately once it thickens.
  7. Pour the hot creme anglaise through the strainer into the honey and cream. Stir to cool.
  8. Chill the mixture thoroughly.
  9. Freeze the ice cream bas in your ice cream maker of choice.

Cardamom-Almond Tuile
INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30-50 cookies, depending on size

  • 1 1/2 oz sliced almonds
  • 5 Tbspn unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn sugar
  • 1/2 tspn ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla
  • 1/3 cup AP flour

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Bake the sliced almonds for 5-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and chop very finely.
  3. Prepare at least two baking sheets lined with silpats or non-stick parchment paper. (You may want to lightly grease the parchment paper, but you won’t need to grease the silpats.) Also have ready a very thin and wide spatula and a rolling pin (or something similar) over which to drape the tuiles while they cool.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, salt, sugar, cardamom, and vanilla until well combined. Add the finely chopped almonds and flour and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using an off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, spread very, very thin discs of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to allow plenty of space between each tuile–they will spread.
  6. Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on the size of the tuiles, rotating the pan half-way through to facilitate even browning.
  7. Remove from oven and immediately use the thin spatula to drape the tuiles over the prepared rolling pin. Let cool completely.

Note: Tuile batter may be made and stored, tightly-covered, in the refrigerator for a few days, if you’d like to make it ahead of time.
Note: Store tuiles in an airtight container if not using immediately. They are best used the day of.

Lavender-Honey-Cardamom-Lemon Dark Chocolate Tart
INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ round tart, or the equivalent rectangular or square sizes.
for pastry:

  • 260 gr AP flour
  • 1 (heaping) tspn ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbspn freshly ground meyer lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbspn water, cold

METHOD:

  1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the flour, cardamom, lemon zest, and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
  2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the lemon juice and water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
  3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. (or stick it in the freezer for a shorter amount of time.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
  6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for chocolate ganache filling:

  • 10 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender buds
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbspn honey
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • coarse salt
  • dried lavender buds

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the cream and lavender buds until just barely a simmer. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Place the chocolate and honey in a heat-proof bowl, place a fine mesh strainer on top, and set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the cream and lavender bud mixture and return to a simmer. Once the cream simmers, remove from heat and pour the hot cream through the sieve onto the prepared chocolate, making sure to press all of the liquid from the lavender buds. Discard the lavender buds. Let the chocolate sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.
  5. Immediately pour into the prepared tart crust.
  6. Using your fingers (or a mortar and pestle), rub together an equal but small amount of coarse salt and dried lavender buds. Sprinkle liberally over the top of the chocolate. Let the tart set at room temperature until completely cool, about 1-2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Orange/Pomegranate/Almond Dark Chocolate Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes 1 large 9″ tart
(if making tartelettes, double the pastry crust recipe.)

for pastry crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour (~6 oz/260 grams)
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 Tbspn freshly grated orange zest (I used one blood orange)
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbspn water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  4. Roll out the pastry crust.  Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork.  Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).  If making tartelettes, just prick the bottom of the pastry without weighing them down.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool

for chocolate ganache filling:

  • 12 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn Pama pomegranate liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and butter.  Heat on medium high, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly until it reaches a gentle simmer.  Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream onto the prepared chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.  Stir in the pomegranate liquor.
  5. Pour into the prepared tart crust.  Let set until completely cool, about 1-2 hours.  If adding toppings, like fresh pomegranate seeds or almond slices, add these right when the ganache begins to set, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve at room temperature.