Posts Tagged With: tart

Plum Tart with Greek Yogurt

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Fall is in full swing and in this swanky apartment we’re eating…PLUMS !

I know, I know…plums ?  Aren’t you supposed to be making pumpkin-themed everything ?

Yes yes, plums !  Pumpkin is so passé* – everyone is devouring pumpkin goods.  Time to give those plums a little lovin’ !  Perhaps this post of positively pleasant “P” sounds presents a perfect place for plum pizzazz !

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In any case, it is true that plum season extends into early fall – October – and I am, for the first time, taking advantage of this fact.  I used to dislike plums.  Well, perhaps dislike isn’t the proper term.  Ignore may be a better one.  Plums were, in a word, strange. Why ?  Because they morph into prunes, that’s why.  I couldn’t bring myself to eat either fruit.  It was strange, therefore, when I walked into Trader Joe’s, saw a “basket” of plums looking for a home, felt spontaneous and snatched them up and POW a memory popped in my head:  for my birthday, while in France forever ago, my host dad, Pierre, made me a birthday dessert. Considering my host family and I were not particularly chummy, I was very touched by the gesture.  A beautiful, rustic plum tart sat in front of me, paired with a book about Dijon.  I can’t believe I’d buried that memory so deep, and it took a basket of unassuming plums to trigger it.

So then I had it.  The IDEA.  I would make a plum tart for my birthday…hence, here is my birthday “cake” thrown together with little time to spare before a 20s’-themed bash !  As you can tell, from the top picture, it was devoured in record time.  It’s a quick fix (if you buy your crust, and I did…I know, tsk tsk) that is pleasantly tart and lightly spiced.  This recipe uses a Greek yogurt “custard” topping, but I think, were I to remake it (and there are still a few dusty plums kicking around my cuisine…) I would skip the cream and make the tarte tout simplement avec des prunes.

I used the recipe from Mary Anna Esposita, the woman who taught me more about tomatoes via her great cooking show “Ciao Italia” than I think I needed to know as an 8 year-old.

Here’s the original recipe; the one noted below is with my adjustments.
Ingredients :
7 plums, cut into slices
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Sprinkle ginger
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup greek yogurt (plain)
3 tbsp additional sugar
Preheat the oven to 400F.  If you are making your own crust – you are fabulous and better than me this go around.  Prepare the crust and place it in a greased tart pan (or pie dish, or quiche pan – whatever you have will probably do).  I’d give the crust a little toast before placing the plums, but it is not required and the tart will not combust or fail to cook in time if you don’t.
Slice the plums into fairly thin sections – I made mine into little segments (like a fan, kind of) in order to make the tart look nice.  You are welcome to cut the plums in a less careful manner and throw them in the pan.  Taste will not be affected.  You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Right ?  Right.
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Arrange the plums in concentric circles (if desired) in the bottom of the pie pan.  I started in the “middle” and worked my way out.
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In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and the spices, stirring well to combine.
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Dust the plums with the sugar mixture – don’t be afraid to really bury them !  As the plums cook and release water, it will mix with the sugar combination to make this wonderful caramel-like substance at the bottom of the tart.  It’s delicious with ice cream.  Yummmmmm.  Top with the juice of the lemon – I just gave that citrus fruit a good squeeze directly overtop the plum and sugar combination.
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Place this in the oven until the plums are soft – about 10 minutes – then remove from the oven.  You are WELCOME to just eat this as your tart and not continue.  It looks so good, I have half a mind to try it like this with my remaining plums….
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In another bowl, whisk together the 3 tbsp of sugar, egg yolks, and yogurt.  Pour this mixture over the tart, being sure to work from the inside out and try to evenly distribute the custard.  Place the tart back into the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the custard has set- you should be able to touch the top and pull a little of the custard out on your finger.  It’s sort of in a semi-solid state.
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Let the tart cool a little before serving to your hungry party guests !
Bon appétit ! 🙂
*I hold nothing against pumpkin goods…in fact, I’ve been cooking them a lot.  I just wanted to be DIFFERENT.
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Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grandy’s Vidalia Onion Pie

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Recipe cards are funny little things.  Passed on from generation to generation, it’s always surprising to me just how sturdy these pieces of paper can be.  My grandmother houses a multitude of these recipes, jotted down in different handwritings, that catalogue dishes spanning decades…some delicious, and others a little strange.  This one, however, falls into the delicious category.  Rather like a quiche, this “onion pie” is a quick and easy fix, can stand in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and is delicious cold.

Golden delicious !

I made a few changes from the recipe on the card:  I added paprika and cayenne (a few shakes) instead of tabasco sauce, as I didn’t have any (my college kitchen is limited).  I also used course grain Dijon mustard instead of dried mustard (again, because I didn’t have any…it’s not an ingredient I use often…) and the taste was fantastic.  The little mustard seeds give bursts of flavor to the filling, so I actually wouldn’t make it any other way.

Directions :

Though the instructions are noted on the card, I didn’t follow them exactly (sorry Grandy !) because microwaving onions sounded…strange.  I might explode them.  My microwave is also not particularly clean, so I decided to just make the entire apartment weep and chop up 5 medium onions.

Yes.

That’s right.

All five onions, one small apartment = a very weepy lady.  When people came in to visit, I had to explain why it seemed like I had tragedy on my mind.

Chop chop chop.

In any case, I chopped the onions and placed them in a pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  I cooked them until translucent – about 10 minutes given the size of my pan.

Tears of joy, I swear !

While those were sautéing, I mixed together the eggs, sour cream, and spices in a large mixing bowl.

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Once the onions were nicely clear (and  no longer making me sob), I poured them into the mix and stirred again.  Once everything was nicely incorporated, I dumped the contents of the bowl into the prepared pie crust.  You can feel free to make your own crust, but I cheated this time and used Trader Joe’s pie crust (which you press into a pan and score before adding your fillings).

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Smother the top of the pie with cheese – believe me, it’s worth it – and place in the oven.  Cook until the top is a nice golden brown or until the egg has set – it shouldn’t be too wobbly upon removal from the oven.

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I brought this to a meeting and it was promptly devoured…so don’t leave this “hot commodity” around or it might not be there when you return !  Trust your grandmother to have recipes that no one can refuse.

Bon appétit ! 🙂

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Ratatouille Tarte

So it’s my birthday today (exciting !) and since food seems to be my favorite item of conversation, I decided that a potluck event would be appropriate to fete the addition of another candle on the proverbial birthday cake (so to speak…).  Naturally, I wasn’t going to let the event go by without making a dish – what if no one brought anything ?  What if college kids just brought cookies or chips ???  WE HAVE TO EAT SOMETHING, RIGHT ?

Right.  Sort of. Not really ?

To my pleasant surprise, I was surrounded by such lovely people that I had no reason to fret – worms and dirt, croissants, pita chips and hummus, bean and chicken salad, sweet potato homefries, hungarian and indian style fajitas, multiple bottles of wine and my own tarte set the stage for a fantastic evening between friends.  I am quite lucky to know such people – I think it’s safe to say all tummies were satiated.

In any case – the ratatouille tarte turned out quite well (if I do say so myself).  A recipe hailing from the archives of Food and Wine magazine (My mom clipped it many years ago but dared not make it until many hands were present in the kitchen), this tarte combines the fantastic flavors of the traditional French dish of ratatouille (yes, like the film) with a nice crust of phyllo dough and parmesan cheese.  It’s great fresh out of the oven and perfect as lunch the next day.  It reminds me of late, indian summers that occur here on the east coast with its strong flavors of zucchini, roma tomato, and eggplant.

Allons-y !

For the filling :

1 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can tomato paste
A sprinkling of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Peel and cut the eggplant into rounds, then cut those rounds into chunks.  Place these on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until just SLIGHTLY browned.  This will help get some of the moisture out of the eggplant.

Once toasted, place in a large pan with the onion and the bell pepper and a nice dollop olive oil.  Cook until the eggplant is soft – it takes about 10 minutes.  I put the eye on medium, but make sure to stir so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.  Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and stir.

When the onions are translucent, add the tomato paste (the whole can !) and stir to combine.  Cover and cook until the moisture has evaporated.  This can be prepared in advance (lovely perk).  Let sit on the stove until the crust is ready to go.


For the crust:

10 fresh phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
LOTS of parmesan cheese
LOTS of olive oil
Provolone cheese

SIDE NOTE : Trader Joe’s now sells phyllo dough !  Make my day !  It’s thin and delicious…I’m quite pleased.  In a tart pan (I used a brownie pan because that’s all I have here….), place a sheet of phyllo dough.

Drizzle olive oil and parmesan cheese on top of the phyllo dough sheet.

Cover with another sheet of dough.  Continue this for 10 layers.  Or more.  It’s delicious, so put the effort in.  It’s well worth it.  🙂

Place the filling on top of the final layer of dough and smoosh down until nice and flat.  Cover in slices of provolone cheese.


For the topping:

6 small plum tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium zucchini cut into thin rounds
Sprinkling of oregano and parmesan cheese

In concentric circles, layer the zucchinis and tomatoes on top of the provolone cheese.  Feel free to arrange the zukes and tomatoes as you like – this is the moment of CREATIVITY !  Go wild !  Sprinkle the top with oregano and parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about an hour or until the zucchinis are soft.  Let cool for a little while before cutting (or it will be a cheesy mess.)

Eat as a main dinner (or lunch the next day) and pretend you’re in the south of France…or at a birthday party surrounded by friends.

Bon appétit !

Categories: English | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lemon Meringue Tart (Tarte au citron meringuée)

Passing a recipe from one person to another is a practice that deserves some attention.  Like getting a letter, a recipe reminds you of something – a memory, a friend, a moment – and today I made a little dessert that my darling souris taught me to make.  Though I’ve made it since our last encounter, I think that handwritten recipe page complete with images of dancing lemons will always make me smile.  What’s more – I’ve not yet failed this recipe, which at first glance seems a wee bit complicated.

When in France (oh so many moons ago…), I NEVER ate lemon tarts (tarte au citron for those who have visited ze land of wine and cheese).  I didn’t like the taste or the texture, finding it to be far too bitter a choice when situated next to the oh so sweet and visually appealing tarte aux fraises…creme patissière…miam….but I digress.

When Pauline decided, in a spur of the moment frenzy of Sunday afternoon decisions, to prepare this delicious creation, I was skeptical…lemons….meringue….together ?!  It was, however, warm and creamy, just sweet enough to tingle the tastebuds without leaving them thick and mute.  I think it’s safe to say I fell in love with the shortbread crust, lemon curd, and delicate floufs (yes, floufs – what would YOU call them ?) of meringue topping.

And so it happened that I purchased lemons.  Eggs.  Butter.  A 10 pound bag of sugar (it was on sale…).   Oh.  And I brought a champion whisk from home with me to school – all in preparation for the serious whisking needed to make this treat.

Without further ado, I present to you Pauline’s “tarte au citron meringuée” or lemon meringue tart.

For the crust :

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
7 tbsp butter (almost a stick !)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine the flour and butter and sugar in a bowl.  Mix together either with a fork or with your hands (I start with a fork and move to hand kneading…) until crumbly.

Add the egg and continue to mix until very malleable – it ought to look like dough, very easy to pinch.

Press into the bottom of a tart pan (or a cake pan – I used a 9” round cake pan lined in tin foil) until evenly distributed.  Score with a fork to prevent air bubbles while cooking.

Place pan in oven and cook until golden brown – about 15 minutes.  You will probably smell the crust and know then that it is done cooking.  Let cool in pan.

For the curd :

Juice of 4 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 tbsp butter (almost a stick !)
2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
2 tbsp flour

Juice ALL OF THOSE LEMONS.

(I had a difficult time…but ended up with just enough juice.) In a pot, combine the lemon juice and half the sugar (1/4 cup) and whisk over medium heat.

Let this come to a rolling boil for a few minutes (this is to make sure the sugar is well-dissolved into the lemon juice).  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, flour and sugar.  Make sure this is nice and light – don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into the situation !

Once the lemon juice is ready (and so is the egg yolk mixture) temper the yolks by pouring half the boiling sugar combination into the egg yolks and whisking fiercely.  Then, pour the NEW egg mix into the leftover lemon/sugar pan.  Whisk AGAIN and place back on the heat (reduce the heat though – down to low ought to be fine).

I know this is a lot of work, but whisk whisk whisk so that clumps of cooked egg yolk don’t form – it’s just not elegant – and you end up with a NICE, SMOOTH, VELVETY custard.  🙂  Once the curd has thickened (this will happen quickly), remove from heat and stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.

Pour the finished product into the pie crust and use the back of a spoon to flatten.  Let glaze while you prepare the meringue topping.

For the meringue :

2 egg whites (leftover from the curd)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt or cream of tartar

Place the whites, salt, and/or cream of tartar in a clean bowl.  With a CLEAN whisk (any impurities will make it very difficult to whip the egg whites), beat those egg whites until they hold peaks all on their own – probably the “soft peaks” stage – I think they look like clouds.

Add the sugar and continue to whisk until the egg white mixture thickens – your arm will probably be quite exhausted by the end of this experience if you don’t use an electric mixer (like me) but I promise, it’s worth it in the end…

Set the oven to broil.  When it is the consistency of marshmallow fluff, pour it onto the lemon curd and smooth it out with the back of a spoon.

I like to make little peaks on top – these will broil nicely – and I just stick the back of the spoon on top of the meringue and lift up gently – you’ll get a lovely little flouf.

Place the tart into the oven and broil for about 3 minutes – be sure to watch the tart because it has a tendency to burn (!) and that wouldn’t be fun…or delicious.  Use your nose – it will smell like toasted marshmallow in the house when the tart is done.

Let cool and serve !

Bon appétit ! 🙂

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