Did you think I dropped off the face of the earth? I feel like I've been gone forever... but I accomplished a lot during my hiatus. Painting project done. Out-of-town guests have come and gone. Raised beds built and vegetable garden planted (sort of). We're one day out from the completion of our 12-foot harvest table for the patio -- it will be my next post! But most importantly, my daughter has safely arrived in Paris for the summer. With all of these checked off my list, I am now more than ready to spend many hours in my garden and kitchen, creating al fresco meals during the upcoming months.
Since there is nothing I would rather make in my kitchen than tarts, today I decided on Corn Tarts with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese. These tarts were our dinner with a salad of greens, toasted walnuts, diced cherries, and a balsamic vinaigrette. And I just may have to make these again for a breakfast or lunch on the patio. Loved them!
Corn Tarts with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Makes six 3 3/4-inch tarts
• 1 cup flour
• 1/3 cup cornmeal
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 3 tablespoons ice water
• 3 strips apple-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
• 4 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
• 4 ounces goat cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 2 large, organic eggs
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup whole milk
• 3 green onions, the white and some green finely sliced
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 4 to 5 Campari tomatoes cut into small wedges, or use large cherry tomatoes
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
1. Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse very briefly to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water while pulsing. Stop when the dough just starts to come together.
2. Transfer the tart dough mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disk and wrap completely in the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Remove tart dough from the refrigerator. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece between a lightly-floured sheet of waxed paper and plastic wrap to a 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer rolled dough to tart pan and trim edges. Place in freezer. Repeat with remaining dough. You can use one large tart pan (approximately 10 1/2-inches) instead of 6 individual pans.
4. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line tart shells with foil and fill with dried beans or rice. Place tart pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of oven for 18 minutes. Remove foil and beans/or rice and return tart shells to oven. Continue to bake until shells are a light golden. Remove from oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚F.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
1. Brown the bacon in a large skillet. Transfer to paper towels to drain when done. Pour off the bacon fat, leaving a film of fat in the skillet. Add the corn kernels and cook over medium-low heat until just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and reserve.
2. Break the goat cheese into small pieces and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, milk, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the goat cheese evenly between the six tart shells, followed by the corn kernels. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the tarts, filling just below the rims. Place the tomato wedges in a spoke pattern in the center of each tart.
5. Place the filled tart shells on rimmed baking sheet in the center of the 375˚F oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until custard has set and tomatoes are starting to shrivel.
6. Remove from oven and garnish each tart with a sprig of fresh thyme. Eat either warm from the oven, or at room temperature.
TAKE a LOOK:
A weekend breakfast? Easter brunch? A platter of Bacon & Egg Tarts with Cornmeal and Black Pepper Pastry is perfect for either. Another easily prepared morning meal when you start a day ahead. Make the pastry dough, then line and freeze the tartlet pans overnight. (I recommend freezing the dough-lined tartlet pans for at least 30 minutes even if planning to bake the tarts immediately.) Bake the individual tart crusts the morning you plan to serve. Fry the bacon, fill the baked tartlet crusts and bake another 15 minutes or so, depending on size and depth of tins. Add a fruit or leafy green salad and, Voilà... breakfast!
I made small individual tarts filled with Parmesan cheese, apple-smoked bacon, and eggs in cornmeal and coarse black pepper crusts for breakfast today. I used shallow Matfer tin molds, but muffin tins would also work nicely, and hold more of the ingredients. Since the tart crusts I made were small and shallow, I ended up separating the yolks from the whites,and placing one yolk in each tart shell. I then added back egg whites to the tart shells by the teaspoonfull. Cracking a whole egg into a bacon and Parmesan-filled shell resulted in much of the egg white spilling out and onto the baking sheet. Using muffin tins with deeper cavities would prevent this from happening.
Rectangular Financier Molds (3 7/8-by-1 7/8-inches)
Round Tartlet Molds (3 3/8-inch diameter)
or, Muffin Tins
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 4 tablespoons ice water
FILLING, PER INDIVIDUAL SERVING:
• 1/2 to 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• 1/2 strip apple-smoked bacon, partially cooked but still pliable; either left whole or diced
• 1 medium organic egg
• minced fresh parsley, for sprinkling
TO MAKE THE TART CRUSTS:
1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and coarse black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once to combine. Add the butter and pulse briefly, until the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water while continuing to pulse and stop when the dough just begins to clump. Do not over-process.
2. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap; flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic; refrigerate 2 hours before rolling.
3. Roll the pastry dough, dusted lightly with flour, in between a sheet of wax paper and plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Line the tartlet molds and trim along the edges. There should be enough pastry dough to line approximately 20 tartlet molds. NOTE... a little trick I learned from my niece who attended the French Culinary Institute: Top the dough-lined tartlet mold with an identical mold, pressing together gently; freeze for at least 30 minutes. Turn the tartlet molds upside-down on a sheet pan to bake. This will reduce shrinkage of the tart crust while baking.
4. If using muffin tins instead of tartlet molds, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch and cut rounds with a 4-inch diameter cookie cutter (or use a 4-inch diameter plate as a template and cut rounds with a sharp knife). Gently, and without stretching, press the pastry into the muffin tin. Because of the depth of muffin tins, the dough will crease in places. Be patient and genty press pastry onto the bottom and sides. Place the muffin tin in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake, line each pastry with a small round of wax paper and fill with dried beans. This will help avoid shrinkage of the tart dough while baking. You will get approximately 10 tarts with this recipe if using muffin tins.
5. Place the tarlet molds on a rimmed baking sheet, and/or muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 400˚F oven. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the wax paper and dried beans from the tart shells. The crusts should be a light golden color. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F.
FILLING and BAKING:
1. Sprinkle the bottom of each tart crust with enough Parmesan to cover, 1/2 to 1 tablespoon. If using an entire 1/2 slice of cooked bacon, lay the slice over the Parmesan, bending to fit molds. Separate the egg yolk from the whites and place egg yolk in tart shell; add egg whites to the tart shell by the teaspoonful. If making tarts using the muffin tins, it will not be necessary to separate the egg yolk from the white; but add the entire egg to the muffin tin tart crust very slowly.
2. Bake tarts on the middle rack of the 350˚F oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the egg is done to your liking. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the minced fresh parsley. Serve.
TAKE a LOOK:
I feel pretty lucky. We have the greatest friends and neighbors. Whenever my husband talks about relocating to warmer climes, my response is always -- I could never leave all of our friends (or my kitchen!).
Case in point... yesterday a friend of ours who hunts morel mushrooms in the spring, and then dries them, made a huge pot of morel soup -- to share with us! He delivered it to our house in time for dinner, along with a loaf of bread from a local bakery. (See, aren't we lucky?) The soup was incredible and loaded with big slivers of morels -- a RARE treat. To show my appreciation, I made two Chocolate-Orange Ganache Tarts -- one for us and one to send home with our friends. A little decadent dessert after big bowls of earthy, rich morel soup. The grated zest of one large blood orange was added to the ganache and segments of the orange topped the tart. I suggest using a 60% bittersweet chocolate. The chocolate I used had a much higher percentage of bittersweet, and I compensated by really sweetening my whipped cream with powdered sugar and coarse orange sugar by ZUK-ZAK.
FOR THE CRUST:
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 4 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE ( recipe: Martha Stewart)
• 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• Grated zest of 1 large orange, preferably organic
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water to the flour while pulsing, just until the dough starts to clump and come together. If the dough does not hold together when squeezed between your fingers, add more ice water, drop by drop, until it does. Do not over-process. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk and wrap completely. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Roll the dough between lightly-floured sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Transfer dough to a tart pan (I lined two 7-inch tart pans, but one 9- to 10-inch would substitute) and gently press into the pan without stretching the dough. Trim the edges and place in the freezer while preheating the oven.
3. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Remove tart pan from the freezer. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with dry beans or rice. Place pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans or rice and return tart pan to oven. Reduce heat to 325˚F. Continue to bake the tart shell until golden brown. Remove from oven. Keep oven heat at 325˚F.
TO MAKE THE GANACHE:
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
2. Combine the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan; bring almost to a boil. Pour the liquid over the chocolate and let rest for 2 minutes. Whisk the mixture until smooth and let rest another 10 minutes. Whisk the orange zest and beaten egg into the chocolate.
TO MAKE THE TART:
1. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the chocolate-orange ganache into the pre-baked tart shell. On the middle rack of the oven, bake the tart at 325˚F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. When cool, garnish tart with sweetened, whipped heavy cream and orange slices.
TAKE a LOOK:
My Individual Potato and Mushroom Tortes were inspired by a recent lunch I had at The Lynn on Bryant in Minneapolis. I have visited this new, little restaurant twice in the past week (Oh-so-good!) If you live in the Twin Cities, or if you are visiting, you must go. First time there, I had a breakfast of soft boiled eggs and toast batons. And most recently for lunch, I ordered The Lynn's Potato and Mushroom Torte.
I'm a stickler when it comes to pastry crust -- there are so many bad crusts out there! But everything about this "torte", from the crust to the filling, was perfect. Perfect enough for me to come back home to my own kitchen and start recreating the lunch I had just eaten.
I baked four individual tortes in 3 3/4-inch tart pans, but a single 9- to 10-inch tart pan can be substituted. NOTE: The only change, if using a larger tart pan, would be to increase the mushroom filling by 1 1/2 times the amount -- 12-ounces of cremini mushrooms instead of the 8-ounces I used to fill the four individual tortes. Adjust amount of other ingredients in the filling accordingly.
Each torte has a rich, buttery double crust with a layer of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes -- made with a healthy combination of olive oil and buttermilk -- and a disk of goat cheese pressed into the center. The final layer of finely-minced, sherry mushrooms is topped off by another round of flaky pastry.
And there is nothing I would change in my version of this delicious vegetarian torte. The little, individual servings would be spectacular on a spring luncheon or brunch menu. I made all of the components the day before baking, making assembly the day of much less time-consuming.
• 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 1 large egg, beaten to break-up yolk
• Ice water, if needed
For the Mushroom Filling:
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 8-ounces cremini mushrooms, finely diced ( see NOTE above)
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• Dry sherry
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Potato Filling:
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher Salt
• 4 disks of goat cheese, sliced 1/2-inch-thick (6 disks if making one large torte)
• Extra virgin olive oil (I used Nicholas Alziari Nicoise Olive Oil. Any olive oil with a mild, buttery flavor would work well here)
• Kosher salt
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
TO MAKE the CRUST:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt briefly. Add the cubed butter and pulse, in short bursts, until the size of small peas. Add the egg and pulse. If the dough does not start to come together, add ice water while pulsing, one teaspoon at a time. (I added 3 teaspoons of ice water to my dough before the dough started to come together.) Do not over-process.
2. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a large disc, wrap completely in plastic and place in refrigerator to chill at least 2 hours.
TO MAKE the MUSHROOM FILLING:
1. Drizzle olive oil onto a skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms; cook, while stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms begin to soften.
2. Stir the dried thyme into the mixture, then add a generous splash (to your liking) of the dry sherry. Continue to cook and stir over medium-low heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and remove from the heat. Transfer to a container, and when it has cooled, place container in refrigerator until assembly.
TO MAKE the POTATO FILLING:
1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and return to the pot.
2. Over low heat, gently mash the potatoes and add a good drizzle of olive oil, then buttermilk to achieve a somewhat creamy consistency. Add salt to taste.
3. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a container and cool to room temperature; store in refrigerator until assembly.
PREHEAT OVEN to 425˚F
1. Divide the dough into eight wedges (If making one large torte, divide dough into two pieces). Roll one wedge in-between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, lightly dusting the dough on both sides with flour. Roll dough into a disk 1/8-inch thick. Transfer dough to a tart pan and gently press into the pan. Do not stretch the dough. Using the rolling pin, trim the dough along the top edge of the tart tin. Place tin in refrigerator to keep cold and continue to line the remaining tart tins with dough.
2. In a small bowl, gently whisk an egg. Set aside.
3. Take the chilled mashed potatoes and fill each tart shell half full (see photo). You will not need all of the mashed potatoes. Press a disk of goat cheese into the center of each mashed potato filling. Divide the reserved mushroom mixture evenly between the tart tins and gently spread to cover the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle each torte with a little kosher salt, then drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
4. Roll the remaining wedges of pastry dough to top the tortes. Using a drinking straw, stamp a little hole in the center of the rolled dough (or use a sharp knife to make a couple of small slits once the top dough has been placed over the filling). This will allow steam to escape while baking. Brush the top edge of the dough in the tart pans using the reserved beaten egg. Place the rolled dough on top, centering the small stamped hole. Gently press the dough against the egg-brushed edge of pastry in the tart pan and using the rolling pin, trim the torte of the excess pastry dough.
5. Place the tortes on a jelly-roll pan and slide onto the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the dough is golden. Remove from oven and transfer tortes to a rack. Allow to cool briefly, then unmold and serve with a green salad.
* I ate a left-over, refrigerated Potato and Mushroom Torte, out-of-hand this morning for breakfast... and it was still delicious!
TAKE a LOOK:
My husband and I hosted a post-Valentine's Day dinner this past weekend. The appetizers, soup, salad and main dish were all extraordinary (if I do say so myself). But the stand-out was the French Silk Chocolate Pie. When all was said-and-done, I had four pieces. Yes, you heard me... four pieces! The photo above shows the last, lone slice of pie (which I eventually ate). The recipe from Faith in the Kitchn, couldn't have been any better. The only thing I did differently was to add a sprinkling of toasted, sliced almonds; totally optional.
recipe from theKitchn | no changes what-so-ever
• 1 (9-inch) pie crust, cooked and cooled
• 4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
• 1 cup cold heavy cream
• 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 large organic or free-range eggs, pasteurized if desired
• Additional whipped cream, for topping
Heat the chocolate in a microwave on medium power (about 45-90 seconds) or over the stovetop on medium-low until melted. Whisk in the vanilla and espresso powder, if using, and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Add 2 eggs and beat on medium speed for three minutes. Add the remaining egg and beat for another three minutes until the mixture is silky and smooth.
Fold the chilled whipped cream into the chocolate filling until no visible white streaks remain. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight. Decorate the pie with freshly whipped cream or dollop a spoonful onto each slice.
TAKE a LOOK:
I took a break from holiday cookie baking today and made this Tomato Tarte Tatin... again. It's been less than a week since I had friends over for dinner and made this tarte for the first time. All of my fears about eating tomatoes out-of-season are no longer a concern. The caramelized sugar that's combined with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and garlic, ensures the plum tomatoes will have a velvety sweetness to them.
Once the tomatoes have baked for two hours in the caramelized sugar mixture, they are drained and returned to the skillet, covered with a buttery tart pastry, and baked until the crust is golden. Once removed from the oven, cover the skillet with a large plate and flip. Both tartes were served with arugula tossed with a lemony vinaigrette and Parmesan shards.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
• adapted from about.com
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• generous 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
• 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
TOMATO TARTE TATIN
• 2 pounds plum tomatoes
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely shopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing skillet
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt; pulse briefly. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until the size of small peas. While continuing to pulse, pour in 3 tablespoons of the ice water. If the dough seems dry when pinched together, add more ice water, drop by drop, just until the dough holds together. Transfer to plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap, and chill for about 2 hours.
TO MAKE THE TARTE TATIN:
1. Preheat oven to 275˚F.
2. Slice the plum tomatoes in half and place on a large plate, cut side up. Sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle sugar evenly into a large ovenproof skillet and place skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally while the sugar melts and turns golden. Turn heat to low and deglaze caramelized sugar by pouring in the red wine vinegar and stirring constantly. The sugar will seize and become a hard lump, but be patient and continue stirring. Adjust heat a little higher if necessary. Eventually you will have a smooth lump-free mixture. At that point, remove from the heat. Stir in the olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary.
4. Place the tomatoes skin side down into the skillet, tucking in tightly if necessary. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are slightly smaller and shriveled.
5. Increase the oven heat to 400˚F. Remove the tomatoes from the skillet with a slotted spoon to drain. You will need an 8 or 9-inch ovenproof skillet for baking the tarte tatin (I use an old cast iron pan). If using the same skillet that the tomatoes were baked in, wipe it dry before coating with a light film of olive oil. Return the tomatoes to the skillet, skin side down.
6. Roll the pastry dough into a large circle. Lay the rolled dough over the tomatoes and gently tuck the edge of the dough inbetween the tomatoes and sides of skillet.
7. Place the tarte tatin in the oven and bake until the crust is golden, 35 to 45 minutes. Once removed from the oven, place a large plate over the skillet, and using potholders, hold the skillet and plate together tightly and flip. The tarte tatin will release onto the plate. Garnish the Tomato Tarte Tatin with sprigs of fresh rosemary. Tarte can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
TAKE a LOOK:
I had the pleasure of making dinner one night this week for two women I haven't seen in over 23 years. My friends from Asiatica in Kansas City, were in town for the Hot Art Cool Jazz benefit at the Textile Center of Minnesota, and subsequent trunk show of their exquisite clothing, handmade from vintage Japanese kimono fabrics, contemporary Japanese textiles, and Italian linens and wools. I became acquainted with Elizabeth after attending the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 1970's. Through Elizabeth, I was fortunate to have access to pieces of vintage Japanese silks and linens from Asiatica's vast collection; small remnants I used to line my one-of-a-kind crocheted tapestry bags.
The impromptu dinner party meant I'd be able to spend the entire day in my element; ingredients were purchased, red cabbage were harvested from my garden and surrounded with fresh sage for the centerpieces, the table was set, and the afternoon spent chopping, baking, roasting, and grilling.
The evening could only have been more special, had one other person been able to attend. I hope you know who you are...
TAKE a LOOK:
The reward of surviving a Minnesota winter, for me, is dining alfresco during the summer months. It means Salade Nicoise with my garden's haricot verts, roasted beets, French tomato tarts, and Insalata Caprese, just to name a few; and all served with a chilled French Rosé.
That type of dining has come to an end, for the most part. But there is always hope that one more day of Indian Summer will come along, and allow us one more relaxed meal on the patio before the fountain is drained and the outdoor furniture relegated to storage.
This Tuna Pissaladiére will make a perfect alfresco luncheon, along with a green salad, and that glass of rosé. A 70 degree day is predicted for early this coming week. I'll caramelize the onions and roast the red peppers this weekend, allowing a quick assembly of the pissaladiére, to enjoy on that upcoming (and hopefully not last) day of Indian Summer.
recipe Sunset Magazine | August 2012
• 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (14-ounce package), preferably all-butter Dufour
• 12 ounces roasted red peppers, cut into strips
• about 1/2 cup Nicoise olives, pitted
• 2 tablespoons drained capers
• 4 ounces good quality canned tuna in olive oil, drained
1. Cook onions in oil in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, stirring often for about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown. This should take about 45 minutes. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sheet of puff pastry on top. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until puffed and golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Spread the caramelized onions over the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
4. Make a grid pattern over the onions with the roasted red peppers. Place 2 Nicoise olives in the center of each grid, then sprinkle the entire pissaladiére with the drained capers.
5. Flake the tuna and scatter inside the grids, and return to the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves and serve either warm, or at room temperature.
TAKE a LOOK:
We're at the peak of summer's stone fruit season and I've been purchasing bagfuls of cherries and peaches -- with no real plan on how I'll use them. The only thing I am sure of is that they will be eaten outdoors on the patio. Free-form tarts, also called galettes (French) or crostatas (Italian), seem like they were made for casual, al fresco dining. I make them often during the summer months. They always vary in their fruit fillings, and never disappoint. I save fussier tart presentations for dining indoors, during the cooler months. This peach free-form tart was dessert to our dinner last night (on a neighbor's patio). And, as usual, I served Vanilla Ice Milk alongside.
Peach free-form Tart
adapted from a recipe by Melissa Rubel Jacobson
• 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/4 cup ice water (you may not need all of this)
• 2 pounds ripe but firm peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
• 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• Pinch of cinnamon
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon heavy cream
• 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or another coarse sugar • sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, optional1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just begins to come together. You may not need all of the ice water. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Wrap in the plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the peach slices, brown sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons flour; gently stir to combine the ingredients and set aside while you roll the tart dough. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a sheet of waxed paper with flour and center the disk of dough on top. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour. Lay plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer the rolled tart dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet with 1-inch sides. (I will put the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes whenever it starts getting warm). Mound the peaches in the center of the dough, leaving a border of approximately 2-inches. Carefully fold the border of tart dough over the peaches, pleating the dough as you go. Take the beaten egg and brush the egg underneath the pleats of dough. This will help to adhere the folded pleats and keep the dough from sliding away from the peaches during baking. Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
3. While the tart is chilling, preheat the oven to 425˚F. When ready to bake, pull the tart from the refrigerator and brush the top of the dough border with the heavy cream. Sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. The crust should be golden and the peaches bubbling. If you have a lot of juices that have leaked through the crust onto the parchment, take a spoon to scoop them up and drizzle back on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, if desired. The tart should cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with scoops of ice cream or Vanilla Ice Milk.
TAKE a LOOK:
Every spring, once my rhubarb is ready for picking, I will bake a string of strawberry-rhubarb custard tarts. My aunt always did the same thing, but she never combined strawberries with the rhubarb. It was pure rhubarb-studded custard in her pies. Now, I can't imagine not including strawberries. They give additional sweetness, allowing me to cut back on the sugar. But in desperation, for the first time ever, I did not bake my customary tart. Instead, I made my first double-crust rhubarb pie, believing the 7 cups of rhubarb needed for this recipe would help to significantly reduce the copious amounts of rhubarb growing in my garden (insert laugh). It did not. Yes... rhubarb is on the daily menu at my house in all types of sweet and savory concoctions. Also, when you make this pie allow ample time to cool before slicing into it. Unfortunately, I didn't do that (I couldn't wait and I should have known better). I was extremely disappointed with my first piece, saying I would never make this recipe again. The next morning however -- for breakfast ;-), it was a different pie! The juices had set-up; the bottom crust wasn't soggy -- totally opposite from the night before. It was delicious, and I was sad to see it disappear so quickly. A rush to eat and a rush to judgment.
adapted from a recipe by Beth Howard | REAL SIMPLE
• Pastry dough for one double-crust pie (recipe HERE)• 2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces• 1 cup sugar• 3 tablespoons cornstarch• dash of salt• 1 tablespoon salted butter, cut into small pieces• 1 egg, beaten• Coarse, raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)
1. Roll half of the dough into an 11-inch circle. Transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate and trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang.
2. Heat the oven to 425˚F. In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
3. Fill the bottom crust with the rhubarb mixture and dot with the butter. Place the second crust on top. Lift the edges of both top and bottom crusts and gently turn them under, all the way around the pie dish. Crimp the edges. Brush the crust with some of the egg. Cut vents into the top crust. (Or do as I did, and cut out small shapes from the top crust before placing over the rhubarb). Sprinkle the top crust with raw sugar.
4. Place the pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375˚F and bake until the fruit mixture is bubbly and the crust is golden, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before eating!
• This rhubarb pie is delicious served with vanilla bean ice cream.• If you would like to make the crust that Beth Howard uses, go HERE.
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