Follow/Be a Fan

My Six Rules for Cooking Pasta

 

Easy Italian Pulled Pork

Learn to Make Fresh Pasta (with a video!)

Nutella Bread for Dessert or for Breakfast!

 

Tips for Homemade Marinara Sauce

Breakfast Fruit Walkaway is a family favorite

Make Homemade Limoncello

 

These Aren't Pasta Noodles - They're Zucchini Noodles!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

A Delicious Vegetarian Dish: Pasta alla Norma

Love knitting? Come read my knitting blog, Italian Dish Knits.

 

Eating Our Way Through the Amalfi Coast

My Camera Bag that does not look like a Camera Bag!

Make Whipped Cream That Lasts

My Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe

SUBSCRIBE for free and never miss a post:

Looking for Something? Search the Recipe Index

 

Search this Site


My Five Inexpensive Kitchen Essentials

Make Healthy Homemade Apple Chips

Chicken Ragu Sauce

Lemon Cake from Capri

Mad Mimi Email Marketing

 Thanks, Mom!

 

Speedy Mini Lasagna Stacks

 

Steak with Salsa Verde Sauce

Learn How to Make Artisan Bread with no Kneading for Pennies

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits Require No Baking

Make Pie Dough in 60 Seconds!

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

 

Spicy Bucatini all'Amatriciana - a Roman Classic

Food Photography

Chocolate Panna Cotta

 

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese

Thoughts About Making Espresso

Entries in Alice Waters (2)

Thursday
Sep112008

Plum Tart


Plums are really fantastic right now and my local farmer's market has tons of them. Even the ones in the grocery stores are very good right now.  I really wanted to make a plum dessert and specifically a tart. So I turned to Alice Waters and her beautiful book "Chez Panisse Fruit". This book is a must if you love to go to the market, see what fruits are in season but can't think of what do with them. Alice Waters has the book divided by fruits with interesting discussions of each fruit and how to buy them, store them and cook them with really wonderful recipes.  In fact, when Chez Panisse opened in 1971 and served their first dinner, plum tart was the dessert.  I've loved all the tarts from Chez Panisse and this one is outstanding.


Plum Tart

makes one 10" tart

for recipe only, click here

Ingredients:
  • 8 large plums
  • 1 prebaked 10-inch pâte sucrée tart shell (recipe below)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp plum brandy, grappa or kirsch (or plain brandy if that's all you have)
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the plums in half, remove the pits, and slice into 1/2 inch wedges. Arrange the wedges in concentric circles in the prebaked tart shell. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Let it bubble gently and cook until the milk solids turn a toasty light brown. Remove the butter from the heat, add the lemon juice to stop the cooking and set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when dropped from the beaters, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, brandy, vanilla, salt, flour and cream. Stir just until mixed. Pour the mixture over the plums, filling the tart shell. Cover the tart crust with a pie crust shield or, if you don't have one, just use strips of foil. The crust will be too brown if you do not. Bake in the top third of the oven until the top is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove tart ring. Serve warm or at room temperature.

for the Pâte Sucrée

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Instructions:

Beat together the butter and sugar in a medium-size bowl until creamy. Add the salt, vanilla and egg yolk and mix until completely combined. Add the flour and mix until there are no dry patches. wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and press into a 4" disk. Chill several hours or overnight until firm.

Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, lightly dusting the dough with some flour. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle. The parchment paper will make the dough easier to roll out. Chill the sheet of dough inside the parchment paper for a few minutes.

Remove the top sheet of paper and invert the dough into a 10 inch tart pan. Peel off the remaining piece of paper, press the dough into the corners of the pan and pinch off any dough overhang. Use the dough scraps to patch any cracks. Let the tart shell rest in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the the tart directly from the freezer to the oven. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Check the pastry halfway through baking and pat down any bubbles that may have formed. Let cool before filling.


 

For Chez Panisse's Almond Tart, click here

Sunday
Mar162008

Almond Tart


This is one of our favorite desserts.  In fact, Brian and I think this could be the best dessert we've ever had. And that's not surprising because it's Lindsey Shere's Almond Tart from Chez Panisse and it was the most popular dessert on that menu for thirty years. I have to provide dessert for a progressive dinner this weekend and I knew this was what I was going to fix.  I fixed a couple of them.  We love it. Serve this with a glass of Amaretto and it's just about the perfect thing.

I am using the recipe given in the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters. Lindsey Shere, the original pastry chef who developed the recipe, gives a slightly different version in the biography that Thomas McNamee wrote last year about Alice Waters*.  She also talks at length about how to bake the tart.

Lindsey's Almond Tart

 

for recipe only, click here

serves 6-8
  
Ingredients: 
 

for the tart pastry:

  • 1 stick butter (real butter)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 drops each of almond and vanilla extracts
  • 1 tablespooon water

for the filling:

  • 1 cup unpeeled raw sliced almonds
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch
  • 2 drops almond extract

 

Instructions:

for the tart crust:

Put the flour and sugar in a food processor. Process til blended. Add the butter in slices and process. Add the extracts and water and process til it gathers up in a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill until you are ready to use it. Then take it out and bring it to room temperature.

Press the tart pastry into a 9-inch tart form with a removable ring. You can't really roll out this dough - it's easier just to press it in.  Press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate for about an hour. Bake the tart in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until it begins to set and brown. Remove the tart to a rack and cool to room temperature.

for the filling:

In a heavy saucepan, mix all the of the filling ingredients and cook mixture over low heat until sugar dissolves and the texture is silky, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the mixture slightly and pour it into the tart shell.

Place a second oven rack under your baking rack and line with a piece of foil. This tart will bubble over and the foil will catch the mess. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. The filling will bubble up a lot most of the cooking time and then at the end it will begin to caramelize. When the filling is golden, remove tart to a cake rack and let cook to room temperature before cutting.

*This biography of Alice
Waters and Chez Panisse
 is a wonderful read. 
Thomas McNamee interviews 
so many of the original characters
 from Chez Panisse, including
 Jeremiah Tower. A lot of 
"behind the scenes" 
interesting, funny stories.