Tag Archive for tart

Quince & Apple Tart with Virginia All-Spice

Photo by Molly Peterson (http://www.mollympeterson.com/) for FoodShed Magazine

Those who have read my blog for a while know of the fondness I have for quince – that almost forgotten fruit. Most of the cultivars grown in our area (and they aren’t that many, although they do exist) need to be cooked to bring out their surprisingly floral aroma.That’s probably why it has fallen out of favor: you can’t just bite into it. I have read though that there are cultivars tasty enough for that. But the quince we get here, you have to cook. And how well you will be rewarded.

It is lovely mixed with apples. But if you cannot find quince, use a good home-made or store- bought apple sauce, preferably unsweetened. Virginia allspice (also called spicebush) is a native understory shrub (Lindera benzoin) whose berries ripen to vermillion in late summer and early fall and taste very similar to the true tropical allspice, with a more peppery bite. I collect the berries in the fall and freeze them until needed. Omit them or use allspice if you do not have access to them.

Yes, the tart shell takes some planning. But the crust won’t be soggy!

I prefer to mix apples for a variety of texture and taste, and prefer to avoid apples that remain really firm when cooked.

Recipe for the Quince & Apple Tart with Virginia All-Spice on the FoodShed magazine web site

Prior entries on quince:

— a compendium of recipes from other blogs

— a non-exhaustive list of what to do with quince + quince ice-cream recipe

Gingery Custard Pear Tart

A recipe initially published in the October 2012 issue of Food-Shed Magazine.

Pears start to ripen in my area in August (apples in July), but I really don’t start to pay attention to them until after the stone fruit of summer are gone.

Almond and pears in custard – that’s a most classic flavor combination.  Add ginger for a little twist, actually a double twist with the double layer of ginger flavor: the pears are poached with fresh ginger and then candied ginger is added to the custard.

Make sure your pears are perfectly ripe: overripe pears are mealy, underripe pears bland and sometime astringent. Pears are generally sold underripe (most European pears ripen off the tree): keep them at room temperature to ripen them. They are ready to eat or cook when the area immediately around the stem yields slightly under the pressure from your fingers. If the whole pear is soft, it’s likely too gone, with the inside rotten. Once ripe, refrigerate and eat within a couple of days.

A tart pan with a removable bottom unmolds easily. And yes, it makes all the difference in the world, to bake the shell blind and let it cool thoroughly before adding the filling. An

Gingery Custard Pear Tart

Yields a 9″ Round or Square Tart, Serving 8-10 Read more

Fresh Strawberry and Ginger Rhubarb Tart

I don’t do pies. I just don’t. Maybe you have to grow up with pies and learn to make them with your mother or your grandmother…

Tarts, however, that’s another story. Maybe because they are easier to make than pies? I mean, you certainly can gussy up a tart, but as its most basic it’s fruit, a bit of sugar and one layer of pastry shell. The pastry can be an all-purpose short crust, a sweet short crust, or puff pastry. or whatever you can get together. The filling is nothing more than fresh seasonal fruit sprinklered with sugar and baked, or a slim layer of fruit jam or fruit compote baked and topped with fresh fruit. You could even use custard or creme patissière that can be flavored ad infinitum (That’s getting into gussying it up, by the way). The fruit can be cooked or uncooked. The dough can be prepared well ahead… You can even turn them upside down! How flexible is that? Read more

Tomato Tatin

For the last few weeks, I have been making lots of Savory Oven Tomato Preserve (or is that Savory Oven-preserved Tomatoes?). After cooking for several hours in a very slow oven, the tomatoes acquire a very intense flavor that’s quite addictive. We’ve been eating them mostly on sandwiches and adding them to already cooked rice for a quick mock-risotto. I have also frozen some. The tomatoes are not truly preserved for long term storage so they keep only a couple of weeks in the fridge and must be used fairly quickly. As the San Marzano tomatoes (which are ideal for this dish) keep coming, I keep making the preserve. So, I needed other ways to use them.

Tomato Tatin (Upside Down Tomato Tart) works very well. I know, I know… that’s another recipe name with which I am taking liberties, but it perfectly conveys what the dish is in one remarkably economical word: upside down tart of slow precooked fruit with a golden crust. After all, technically, i.e. botanically speaking, tomato is a fruit (actually, a berry, if we want to be 100% accurate), even though in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court declared it a vegetable! Less you start to wonder if the Supreme Court was reordering the Linnaeus classification, rest easy: it was done all to avoid paying tariff taxes under the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, and for no other purposes. The Justices came to that rationale because the tomatoes is generally served with dinner and not eaten as dessert. Want to read more about that? Wikipedia has an entry on it in the Nix v. Hedden case!

As far as the “Tatin”, it is more correctly known as Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin (The Misses Tatin’s Apple Tart) – but often shortened as Tarte Tatin. This upside-down apple tart, with its caramelized apples and golden pastry, was named after the Tatin sisters who ran a restaurant in the early 1900’s in Sologne (in the Orleans/ Loire River region), an area of France known – even today – for its good hunting grounds especially for ducks and other fowls and its dreamy landscapes of low forests, marshes and abundant waters.

So Tomato Tatin it is!

By using the Savory Oven Preserve Tomatoes, there’ll won’t be quantities of tomato juice released during the cooking and the pastry will not become soggy.

First, line up your preserved tomatoes in a pretty pattern at the bottom of a pie dish, cut side up. Pack them, laying them quite close to one another.

Tomato Tatin Step 1

Read more

Not Yet Peached Out

A bowl of peachesI promised more peach recipes. If “recipe” is the word to use. You got to do a lot of things – fast – when you got a bushel (close to 60 pounds!) of peaches.

Perfectly ripe fruit call for a very simple treatment. Why mess up with pure goodness? Some nice dough, a sprinkling of sugar, a dash of spices. Voila!

This “recipe”for rustic summer fruit tart works with peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums. Picture #1 shows 3 unbaked Rustic Tart, 2 plums & 1 peach; picture # 2 shows baked Rustic Peach Tarts.

Three assemled tart waiting to be baked


  • frozen puff pastry (Or fresh, if you make it. I have not quite been successful at puff pastry and will admit to buy it – unbaked and frozen). Frozen puff is what I’ve got on the freezer right now, so that’s what I use.
  • ripe peaches, pitted and sliced (I don’t bother to peel – although I do wash – but go ahead and peel if you must)
  • sugar
  • vanilla powder

Thaw puff pastry. Roll out thinly on a floured surface.

Cut each sheet in rectangle – any size, does not matter. In the picture, I cut up a 3-fold pastry sheet rectangle in 3, giving me 3 small-ish rectangular tarts.

Put dough on parchment paper on cookie sheet. The parchment paper – while optional – prevents sticking and makes it easier to remove the baked tart without tearing the bottom.

Arrange sliced fruit on top, leaving enough edge to fold the pastry on the fruit. See first picture. Crimp, pinch etc as necessary to ensure the pastry wraps well up the fruit to hold the filling in place during cooking. You can see on the 2nd picture, in the middle tart the dough was not wrapping the fruit well enough so some juice escaped during baking

Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla powder on fruit.

Bake in a preheated 400 F oven. 20 minutes or until done (i.e until the pastry is puffed up and golden, with slightly browned edges)

That’s it! Pretty, tasty, easy. Fast enough to make just about any week night…

Rustic Peach tart