Apricot Crumble Tart

I feel like with half my posts I provide a St Lawrence Market update. This week, berries and cherries continue to dominate the landscape, but two new players have arrived: apricots and peaches.

I was so excited to see apricots as I had been flipping through David Leibovitz's My Paris Kitchen the previous evening and there was a delicious looking recipe for an apricot crumble tart. I promised myself that if I saw apricots at the market, it would happen.

And here we are.

I love this tart because the crust is crunchy (but not too crunchy) and caramelized and buttery – perfect for containing the juicy apricot filling. As for crumble, I'm sure you all are like me and could eat whole batches raw or cooked.

I ended up buying a springform pan for this recipe and I'm glad I did because it made everything easier. Although if you have a 9 inch tart pan with 2-ish inch sides, you could definitely use that.

Crust Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Crumble Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chilled and cubed

Filling Ingredients

  • 2lb ripe apricots, quartered and pitted
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice

Steps
To make the crust, mix butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fully incorporated and there are no streaks of butter. Add egg yolks and mix until smooth. Add flour and salt and mix until dough comes together.

Butter a 9 inch springform pan and press the dough into the bottom of the pan and 1-2 inches up the side. Ensure the dough is evenly spread, using the bottom of a cup to smooth if needed. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crumble. In a food processor, combine almonds, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse until almonds are in small pieces. Add butter and pulse until the mixture turns sandy, then starts to stick together in parts. (I did this by hand – chopping the almonds finely and mixing with the dry ingredients, then cutting in the butter with a pastry blender. I then used my hands to pinch and mix until a crumble formed). Chill until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove crust from freezer, line tightly with foil and place pie weights/dried beans/dried rice on the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and foil and bake for 5 minutes, until beginning to slightly brown.

To make the filling, mix apricots with sugar, starch, vanilla and spices. Don't make it too far in advance, or it will be too juicy.

Pour filling into shell and spread evenly. Sprinkle crumble on top.

Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes until crumble is browned (it only took me 40 minutes). Allow to cool a few minutes and run a knife around the edge of the tart and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from springform pan.

Adapted from My Paris Kitchen

Salted Brown Butter S’more Tart

I think we can all agree that s’mores are one of the best parts of summer? Sweet, chocolatey and toasty, it taps into the highlight reel of summer, from cottage trips to roasting marshmallows on the stove. Just me? Ok.

I thought up this tart yesterday morning, wanting to put all the things I love about s’mores into a simple yet elevated tart.  The addition of brown butter to the graham crust enhances the toastiness of the torched meringue, the sea salt cuts the sweetness and adds a delicious salty crunch, and the torched meringue tops everything off on a light note.

The lightness of this tart is what stands out I think. Despite the rich ganache and buttery crust, the ganache and meringue together have a chiffon like texture, so you don’t feel heavy after eating.

I am obsessed.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6-7 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar 
  • Flaky sea salt

Steps

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar and 1/4-1/2 tsp of sea salt. 

In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Allow it to bubble and foam, stirring frequently until it turns golden brown and smells nutty.  Remove from heat and pour over graham cracker mixture, stirring until the mixture has the texture of wet sand.


Press mixture evenly into a 13×4 inch rectangular tart pan or 9 inch circular tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes until golden and allow to cool.


Meanwhile, to make the ganache, scald cream over medium heat and pour over milk and dark chocolate in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt. Spread ganache into cooled crust (about 3/4 full) and place in fridge to chill for 1 hour.


To make meringue topping, beat together egg whites, 1 tbsp of sugar and cream of tartar until foamy. Add 2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like, I used 3tbsp) and beat until meringue is shiny and stiff peaks form.


To assemble, sprinkle flaky sea salt over ganache filled tart. Spread meringue over ganache, sealing to the edges of the crust and creating any design as desired. Using a kitchen torch, toast the top of the meringue until golden brown. I recommend testing a small corner area to start in order to get a feel for the torch and how quickly the meringue will brown.


If you don’t have a torch, place tart under the broiler and remove when meringue begins to brown.

Sprinkle with a bit more flaky salt and serve immediately.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Do you have a go-to dessert for potlucks?  One that is quick/easy/delicious/impressive all at once?

This is mine.

I’ve been making it for years and keep coming back to it.  It’s obviously delicious, y’all know I’m a sucker for sea salt – but it doesn’t even require an oven and comes together in under an hour, most of which is chilling time.

I ended up making it this weekend after a disappointing funfetti adventure in donuts (too much nutmeg, potentially wrong sprinkles) – but that’s another story.  I scrapped the donut idea and whipped this up real quick to bring to a friend’s party and needless to say, it was a success.

Or you could eat it by yourself on a Saturday night and have a REAL party! Woo!

Note: I use an 8-inch pan for this and have enough leftovers for a mini-tart, like the photo.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 cup salted butter, divided
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup whipping cream, divided
  • 12oz (one bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, flaky if possible

Steps

Blend the Oreos in a blender or food processor until they’re fine crumbs.  Stir together with 1/2 cup of melted butter until it has the texture of wet sand.  Press into a 8-9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and place in freezer for 10 minutes, until set.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup of butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat and whisk constantly until it begins bubbling (make sure you use a whisk as it incorporates air into the caramel, giving it the right texture).  Continue cooking while whisking constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup heavy cream until fully incorporated.

Cool the caramel for 15 minutes, then pour into Oreo crust.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top.  Place in freezer for 30-45 minutes until just chilled and set.

Scald remaining 1 cup of cream in a saucepan and pour over chocolate chips in a separate bowl.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Pour chocolate over caramel and freeze for 30 minutes or place in fridge until ready to serve.

Before serving, sprinkle on a generous amount of sea salt (flaky is best, but any will work!).

IMG_6253

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda blog

Rhubarb Tart

After making my Easter Rhubarb pie, I found myself in possession of some extra rhubarb.  This is definitely my kind of “problem” to have.

One of my favourite things about rhubarb is its beautiful pink colour.  It adds an easy beauty to any dessert you make with it, even if it’s just poached and topped on ice cream.  I decided to take it up a notch, but each element of this tart is very simple.  I made the tart dough the night before and then managed to complete the tart in 2 hours, not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night!

I definitely recommend making the tart in the order below as your crust can cool after cooking while you make the pastry cream and you can poach the rhubarb while the cream cools.  I must say, the leftover rhubarb syrup is delicious boiled down for cocktails, ice cream or just dipping your finger in.

Crust Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk, if needed

To make the dough, cream butter and sea salt for about a minute. Add icing sugar and mix until combined, about one minute. Add nut meal and vanilla and mix until combined and uniform.

Add the egg and 1/2 cup of flour and beat at low speed until incorporated. Gradually add remaining flour and mix until dough comes together. If you find that the dough is too crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp of milk and mix until it just comes together. The dough will be soft.

Split into two halves and flatten each into a disc. Tightly wrap with plastic and chill for at least 4 hours (you can freeze the other disc for another use).

img_3683

Remove from fridge and on a floured surface, roll into a rectangle to fit your tart pan. Gently slide the dough lengthwise (as in holding the short ends of the dough) onto a lightly greased 14×5 rectangular tart pan.  I find this method ensures minimal dough breakage. Press dough into the tart pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F. Prick dough all over with a fork and line tightly with foil.  Add pie weights (or dried beans or rice) on top of the foil and blind bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove foil and return to oven to bake for 3-5 minutes, until golden.

Cool crust completely.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • Vanilla bean, beans scraped out (pod can be used for rhubarb, see below)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp butter

To make the cream, combine milk, vanilla beans and pod in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Bring just to a boil once more.

Meanwhile, whisk together sugar, arrowroot and egg yolks until combined (do not let yolks turn pale in colour).IMG_5745

Pour 1/3 of milk into mixture and whisk until combined (to temper the yolks). Then add remaining milk gradually, whisking constantly.

IMG_5746

Strain mixture into saucepan and heat over medium heat until cream thickens, whisking constantly.  The cream should have just about the consistency as the end result (like pastry cream in an eclair).  Remove from heat and whisk in butter until smooth.

Spread cream onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, and top with plastic wrap.  Place in fridge until chilled completely.  This method ensures it cools evenly and a skin doesn’t form on top.

Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb (I used just under a pound, you may want to customize depending on your tart size)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed and set aside
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Water, enough to cover rhubarb

Cut rhubarb into stalks that will fit horizontally (or as desired) across your tart pan.

IMG_5740

Combine lemon juice, vanilla pod and sugar in a shallow saucepan and add enough water to cover rhubarb.  Stir to dissolve sugar, add rhubarb and bring to simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.  Allow to cool in the syrup for at least 10-20 minutes, so it will be soft but still hold its shape.

IMG_5742
Just starting cooking – by the end the syrup will be pink!

Assembly 

Pour pastry cream into cooled tart shell, filling shell about 2/3 of the way.  Carefully line up rhubarb in a row on top of the cream (or in your desired design).  I brushed the rhubarb with some of the remaining syrup (and boiled down the rest for cocktails!)

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

IMG_5759IMG_5753IMG_5752

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Tart

I’ll be honest – I thought of this tart while trying to fall asleep.  In my half-asleep stupor I made the right call of making a note on my phone, because I would have totally forgotten about it otherwise.

I took inspiration from my fig tart from a few weeks ago, I had the leftover dough in my freezer and loved using a spread as glue to top with fruit, and what better glue than Nutella?! My good friend also came over with Mexican cocoa powder which created a delicious end product (I preferred it to my regular cocoa).

Raspberries and chocolate are always a fantastic combination, and it rings true here as well.  The berries create such a beautiful, intricate design that you’d think it was a painstaking process, but in reality, it’s quite relaxing arranging fruit into concentric circles (for me anyway).

Bring this to your next potluck and you’re sure to be the star of the table.

Crust Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk (if needed, see below)

Tart Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 5 tbsp salted butter, softened
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk, beaten
  • 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • Raspberries for topping

Steps

To make the dough, cream butter and sea salt for about a minute. Add icing sugar and mix until combined, about one minute. Add nut meal and vanilla and mix until combined and uniform.

Add the egg and 1/2 cup of flour and beat at low speed until incorporated. Gradually add remaining flour and mix until dough comes together. If you find that the dough is too crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp of milk and mix until it just comes together. The dough will be soft.

Split into two halves and flatten each into a disc. Tightly wrap with plastic and chill for at least 4 hours (you can freeze the other disc for another use).

Remove from fridge and on a floured surface, roll into a 10.5 inch circle. Gently roll the dough onto a lightly floured rolling pin and unravel onto a lightly greased 8-9 inch tart pan.  This method ensures that the dough doesn’t break. Press dough into the tart pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

img_3687
Meanwhile, make the tart filling. Sift together the hazelnut meal, icing sugar, cocoa, arrowroot and flour into a medium bowl. Cream butter, salt and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add egg, yolk and melted chocolate and beat until smooth and uniform.


Remove tart shell from fridge and prick the surface with a fork all over, about 1 inch apart. Spread filling evenly all over shell, it should come 3/4 of the way up the shell.


Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, until crust and filling are set. Allow to cool.


Once cool, spread a thin, even layer of Nutella over the filling. Arrange raspberries in concentric circles, starting from the outside, until fully covered. Refrigerate until serving.



Fig Tart

Call me a freak, but I find arranging fruit in concentric circles to be strangely soothing.  It’s so simple and you get absorbed in it, forgetting anything going on around you so you get it just right. That’s another reason to eat this tart aside from the fact that it is super delicious, and as one of my taste testers said “it seems kind of healthy too”.

I mean, there’s fruit, so that’s healthy.  Here’s to the small victories!

Crust Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk (if needed, see below)

Tart Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 tsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 5 tbsp salted butter, softened
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp dark rum
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fig jam
  • 500g fresh figs (about 18 figs)

Steps

To make the dough, cream butter and sea salt for about a minute. Add icing sugar and mix until combined, about one minute. Add nut meal and vanilla and mix until combined and uniform.

Add the egg and 1/2 cup of flour and beat at low speed until incorporated. Gradually add remaining flour and mix until dough comes together. If you find that the dough is too crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp of milk and mix until it just comes together. The dough will be soft.

Split into two halves and flatten each into a disc. Tightly wrap with plastic and chill for at least 4 hours (you can freeze the other disc for another use).


Remove from fridge and on a floured surface, roll into a 10.5 inch circle. Gently roll the dough onto a lightly floured rolling pin and unravel onto a lightly greased 8-9 inch tart pan.  This method ensures that the dough doesn’t break. Press dough into the tart pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.


Meanwhile, make the tart filling. Sift together the almond meal, icing sugar, arrowroot and flour into a medium bowl. Cream butter, salt and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add egg and rum and beat until smooth and uniform.


Remove tart shell from fridge and prick the surface with a fork all over, about 1 inch apart. Spread filling evenly all over shell, it should come 3/4 of the way up the shell.


Bake at 325F for 40 minutes, until crust and filling and golden brown. Allow to cool.


Once cool, spread a thin, even layer of fig jam over the filling. Cut stems off figs and slice into quarters. Arrange slices in concentric circles, starting from the outside, with the cut stem down. The slices should tilt upwards. Refrigerate until serving.


Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking

Laduree All Chocolate Tart

I think my first trip to Laduree in Paris was what really got me interested in baking and pastry making.  That first macaron was different from anything I had ever tasted, and I stood on the street just dying over how good they were.

When I found that they had a cookbook, I was thrilled.  I got it a few years ago and I’ve made this tart twice because it’s so rich and delicious.  And I’m not kidding when I say it’s rich, a sliver is all you need for all this chocolatey goodness.  The majority of the tart is straight chocolate ganache, so you know you’re in for a treat.

In terms of the crust, I’ve found that this recipe makes enough for two (one 8 inch tart pan and a 9 inch cake pan).  The recipe calls for a 9.5 inch pan with 2 cm depth.  Try with whatever you have on hand, but know that if you butter and flour a regular cake pan sufficiently, it works beautifully.

Ingredients

Tart Dough

  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2/3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 1/4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup very cold butter cut into very small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 egg

Flourless Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • 1.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Chocolate Ganache

  • 10 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • 7 tbsp softened butter

Decoration

  • 1 chocolate bar
  • Cocoa powder

Steps

Start by making your dough.  Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together. Add the small pieces of chilled butter and using your hands, work the butter into the dough until it looks like sand.  A few larger pieces are okay (see below).

img_2901

Add the egg and combine until just homogenous and the dough sticks together, do not overwork the dough.  If it is too dry, add a teaspoon of milk and work it into the dough.  Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (you can also do this the day before).

Butter and flour your pan.  On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 2-3mm thick.  Fold in half and carefully set into pan, unfolding to meet the other half of the pan.  Allow to rest for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 340F and remove shell from fridge.  Prick all over with a fork, then carefully line the shell with parchment paper, pressing into the corners and sides.  Place dried beans, rice or pie weights evenly around the parchment (this ensures the shell doesn’t shrink while baking).  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove weights and parchment paper and allow to cool on a rack.

To make the sponge cake, melt chocolate over a pan of gently simmering water.  Set aside. Separate egg whites and yolks and in a large bowl, mix yolks with 3 tbsp sugar and beat until frothy, as below.  In a separate clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites to a foam (as below), add 2 tbsp sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Pour 1/4 of the whites into the yolks and add melted chocolate.  Fold together until incorporated.  Add the remaining egg whites and fold until incorporated, careful not to overmix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and transfer batter to a piping bag with a 1/4-1/3 inch plain tip.  Pipe batter into a circle from the inside out into a circle 2 cm smaller than the tart shell.  Bake at 340F for 15 minutes until slightly dry.  Remove from oven and slide parchment onto cooling rack to cool.

To make the ganache, finely chop chocolate and place in large bowl.  Bowl cream and pour half of it over chocolate, whisk until emulsified.  Add remaining boiled cream and repeat until smooth.

Add butter in small pieces and stir ganache with a spatula until smooth.

Assemble immediately by removing the tart shell from its pan onto a plate.  Pour a thin layer of ganache into the shell and spread evenly to 2-3mm thickness.  Place the disk of sponge cake on top, pressing down gently.  Fill to the top with remaining ganache and allow to set at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Decorate the top with chocolate shavings by scraping the side of the chocolate bar with the back of a chef’s knife to make fine shavings, sprinkling over the tart.  Dust lightly with cocoa powder, sifting directly over the tart.

Voila!  You’re basically French.

img_2936img_2956img_2941img_2937

Recipe from Laduree Sucre – The Recipes