Mississippi (?) Galette

The name for this dessert comes straight from Rocker Dude.  I’m not 100 percent sure why he picked his specific name, but it is what it is.  A Mississipi Galette is a simple stone fruit galette that makes the most of the summer abundance of fresh stone fruit, and I love stone fruit.

Mississippi Galette

I was inspired by a post written by Tartelette, but when I started to make the tart I didn’t have time to check her blog, so I just made up the filling as I went along.

We had a bit of a busy day on Friday, with the Little Rocker’s graduation party from preschool.  They moved it up so that we could go as we will be flying in a week and a half to the US to visit the family and they didn’t want us to miss the party.  (The theme was health, so there was a long of singing and things having to do with vegetables.)

The Little Rocker, Queen of the Tomatoes

Then we had a party for friends of ours who essentially got married, but without the ceremony and the name change.  We had a lot of fun! Since this is a food blog I will mention the food – it was spectacular.  A smorgasbord of ribs, dim sum, fish and chips, and focaccia.  The n a main course of two types of chicken and steak and assorted salads and veggies.  But of course for me, the best part was the dessert.  They had mini tarts with fresh blueberries and raspberries!  Do you know how hard it is to get fresh berries here?  Berries do not do well in a summer of 95 degree heat.  It was sooo good, the taste of the raspberries was heavenly.

A Slice of Pie.

And due to us getting home only three hours before Shabbat, I planned in advance and made the dough in the morning (yay for advanced planning and being organized!) so that it could chill while we were gone.  All I needed to get done was the cutting of all the fruit and rolling of the dough. I wanted the opportunity to mix all kinds of stone fruits, instead of making one single filling, but there weren’t any cherries or apricots left :(, their seasons have ended. So I took the plums, peaches and nectarines I had lying around and diced them all up. The filling came together in about 5 minutes.  Then I just had to roll out the dough, dump the filling in the middle and fold the ends over.

A bite of summer deliciousness.

The end result was a great tart with the a bit of tartness from the plums and sweetness from the nectarines and peaches.  The galette really let the flavors of the fruit come through.  Rocker Dude loved it and even ventured the opinion that I should make it to compete in the Middlesex County Fair this summer.  Yes that’s right, going to NJ again in a few days!  So if you don’t hear from me for a while (because I am so good at posting on time :P) it’s because we are on vacation!  So make this tart while I am gone and enjoy it! (And yes Abba, when I come I will make it for you too.)

 

Recipe:

1 recipe Sweet Tart Dough, prepared until chill step

Filling:

4 cups of diced stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, or plums)
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar as needed (if the fruit is very sweet you might not need as much sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg white
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix filling ingredients together.  Let sit while you roll out the dough.  Roll out the dough to a circle about  a 1/4 inch thick.  Place dough circle on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Dump the filling into the middle, mounding it a bit in the center.  Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving a bit of the filling showing through.  Brush the top of the galette with egg white and sprinkle with some sugar.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool and enjoy!

An Apricot Tart

Who doesn’t love stone fruit? I mean aren’t they just the perfect fruits? Sweet and juicy (and apparently cherries lower your blood sugar – who knew?) and always delicious.  Stone fruit season started about a month ago, and due to a particularly cool and wet winter, there is a bumper crop of stone fruit this year.  Apricots in particular have a short season, so I decided to take advantage of it while I could.  Two years ago I made apricot crostadas, last year I was being good and not baking too much, and this year I decided to make a simple, delicious apricot tart.  Well, in this case, tartlets.  I was in the mood, so why not?

Apricot Tart

I looked around on the internet and there are not that many recipes involving apricots, probably because of their short growing season.  So I decided to take some artistic license and make up a recipe, based on another one.  Now there will be one more apricot recipe out there.

I was inspired by this recipe from pastry studio (she has a lot of great recipes, and tips for the less experienced baker so make sure to check out her site), but decided to make proper tartlets in my mini tart pans as opposed to a galette.  And I went with my tried and true Sweet Tart Dough that always comes out so delicious and flaky.

When I mixed up the filling I decided that it looked a little dry so to add a bit of flavor I added some almond extract (don’t tell Rocker Dude!  I only mentioned it after he had tried a bite 🙂 ) and it really made the tart something special.  The filling is still simple enough that the flavor of the apricots really shines through. Even the Little rocker enjoyed the tart, though that might have been because she was watching The Backyardigans Samurai Pie episode and they kept talking about pies.

This recipe would also work well as a tart, if you prefer family style serving.

Recipe (makes 7 4-inch tartlets or one 9 inch tart):

Crust:

Sweet Tart Dough

Filling:

8 apricots, stoned and sliced into eighths
1/4 cup sugar (a bit more if the apricots are particularly tart – baking the apricots makes the tartness come out)
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Prepare the tart dough until the refrigeration stage.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then mix all the filling ingredients together.  Let it sit while you roll out the tart dough.  Lay the tart dough in the tart pan(s) and place apricot slices in concentric circles to make a decorative filling.

Bake the tartlets for 25 minutes or so, until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling gently, a full-size tart will take longer, probably about 40 minutes or so.  Let cool.  Enjoy!

An Apple Torte for Winter

Here we are, in the dead of winter, at probably the coldest day of the season so far (50 degrees F during the day), and it is time for an apple dessert.  Apples are at their best in the fall and winter and they deserve their day in the spotlight.

This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours and is absolutely delightful.  It combines the elegance of a tart with the double crust of a pie.  So basically you have a double crusted apple tart=a torte.

Apple Torte
Apple Torte

This torte is filled with applesauce.  I made it once with store bought apple sauce (oh the horror!) and added some vanilla and nutmeg and no one noticed that it wasn’t homemade.  This time I decided to go all the way and make the torte as it deserved to be made, with homemade applesauce and nuts. Yes that is right Rocker Dude – ground almonds in the filling. Rocker Dude has a a fear or maybe just a distaste of eating anything involving nuts, but I figured that because we would be having other people at the meal I could add in the nuts and I wouldn’t get too many vocal complaints ;).

I made this dessert during my usual Friday cooking rush, but made sure at least to spread out the prep so I had my crust ready and chilled in the morning, made the applesauce and chilled that so by 2 pm I was ready to assemble and bake the torte.

Apple Torte Filling

After everyone had eaten the dessert (which would probably be great with some vanilla ice cream) I got certain looks from a certain person about the nuts in the filling.  The comment made was that when you take a bite of the torte, you expect a soft filling and suddenly there is some crunch from the nuts.  I actually liked the texture it added to the torte, but a promise was extracted from me to not make it with nuts again.  So I probably won’t, at least for a while ;).

Recipe (From Baking: From my Home to Yours):

1 double recipe Sweet Tart Dough

Filling:

2 lbs. (about 5 medium) tart or tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider, apple juice or water
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds (apparently optional)
pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt

Divide prepared tart dough into two parts.  Refrigerate one half and press the other half over the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch tart pan.  Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press is lightly against the surface of the dough.  Refrigerate for at least two hours. (Or freeze if you are in a hurry).

When the second half of the dough is chilled, roll it into a circle that is between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into a 10-inch circle and then using a shot glass as a guide, cut a hole in the center of the dough to act as a steam vent. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet a refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Fill the foil over the crust with beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.  You don’t want it to get too brown because you will be baking it again. Cool to room temperature.

Put the apples, brown sugar, cider and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, cover and bring to a boil.  You want the mixture to stay at a medium bubble.  Continue to cook for about 10 minutes until the apples are so soft that you can almost mash them with the back of a spoon.  Remove the cover and boil for five minutes more.  Add the almonds, if you are using them, and the rest of the spices.  Pour the filling into a  bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Cool. The filling can be made up to two days in advance.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Fill the cooled crust with the applesauce filling. Lightly moisten the edges of the crust and lay the chilled top crust on top of the filling.  Press the edges of the crust to seal. Run a rolling pin over the top  to trim off the excess dough.

Bake the tart for 20 minutes.  Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. and cover the tart loosely with a foil tent. Continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Lemon Cream Tart

I have been dreaming about lemons for a few weeks now.  Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Squares, pretty much anything lemon.  The only problem is that lemon is not one of Rocker Dude’s favorite flavors and he tends to shy away from lemon desserts.

This week I didn’t care.  If lemon is so much on my mind it must be a sign from heaven that I am supposed to be baking with lemon.  I decided to make the lemon cream tart from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From my Home to Yours.  I have made it before when I first started blogging and for some reason it never made it onto the site.  This time I meticulously photographed so that I could write a proper post.

Before you ask, lemon cream is different from lemon curd.  Both have a strong tart flavor, but lemon cream is silkier than lemon curd and the flavor is slightly more mellow (very slightly).  Dorie says that she learned this recipe from pastry god Pierre Hermé.  And anything that comes from him must be good.

The process of making lemon cream is very similar to that of lemon curd, but instead of just waiting for the mixture to thicken, you have to get it to 180 degrees F and then when it cools to 140 degrees F, mix it in a blender while slowly adding butter or margarine, emulsifying the mixture to silky creaminess.

 

Silky creamy lemoniness.

The first time I made this, I don’t think that I got the mixture to the right temperature, as the thermometer that I was using was not a candy thermometer and did not quite reach 180 degrees F.  Also, the Little Rocker had been fascinated by it and dropped it on the floor quite a few times before I put a lock on the drawer.

 

So I used my new thermometer, that also has a clip to attach it to the side of the pot so I didn’t have to stop mixing to check the temperature, and we did this “scientifically” (in the words of my mother, the pharmaceutical chemist).

The crust is the regular tart crust that I posted here.  I made it the night before so that it would be fully cooled when I put the filling inside.

 

Fresh lemon juice

 

Then in the morning, I got the lemons ready, grating the zest and juicing the lemons.

 

Sugar rubbed with lemon zest

 

Then I mixed everything up in my version of a double boiler (a pot on top of another pot) and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred (you can see where this is going) until finally the mixture hit 180 degrees F.

 

Doesn't it look like some complicated science experiment?

Then I poured the whole mixture  into the food processor to cool off, and when it cooled to 140 degrees F, I started mixing the cream with the metal blade and added chunks of margarine to be mixed in.  I followed the instructions to the letter, and the cream came out beautifully.  It was so good. I put the cream into a container to cool in the refrigerator and then proceeded to lick the bowl of the food processor and the spatula.  I had to physically stop myself from stealing spoonfuls of cream from the bowl in the refrigerator.

 

When the cream had cooled, I spread it in the crust and chilled it some more.  FYI, and this is something I learned the hard way, you can’t transport this in the stroller once it has been assembled.  The cream doesn’t set firm, so if the pan is not straight…

We had a number of guests on Friday night and J. and M. were coming for dessert after dinner.  I knew that J. would appreciate what I was making, he fancies himself an appreciator of good food (aren’t we all though?).

 

Lemon Cream Tart

 

When it came time for dessert, by the time I had finished passing out the tart, J. had already finished his.  If that’s not appreciation I don’t know what is.  And surprise surprise, Rocker Dude loved the tart.  He said that it was because this time, the crust was really good, but I know better.  I think his taste buds are finally getting used to new flavors (I hope!).

 

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart (from Baking: From My Home to Yours):

1 cup sugar

Grated zest of 3 lemons

4 large eggs

¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)

2 sticks plus 5 tbsp. (10 1/2 oz.) unsalted butter or margarine

1 9 inch tart shell, fully baked (see the recipe here)

Have an instant read thermometer ready.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan.  Place a heatproof bowl over the pot (or another pot) and make sure that the bowl does not touch the surface of the water.

Rub the sugar and zest together until the sugar is moist and very aromatic.  Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.

Place all the ingredients into the bowl over the pot and start stirring with a whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid.  Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F.  You must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling.  As you whisk, the mixture will get thicker and the whisk will start to leave tracks – this means that you are getting close.  Don’t stop whisking and checking the temperature.  Have patience.

As soon as the cream reaches 180 degrees F, remove the bowl from the heat and pour the cream through a strainer into a blender or food processor.  Let it cool to 140 degrees F.

Turn the food processor on high, and with the machine going, add the butter or margarine a few tablespoons at a time.  Once the butter is incorporated, keep the machine going for another 3 minutes, you want the mixture to be light and airy.

Pour the cream into a container and cover with a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream a little to loosen it and spread it into the tart shell.  Serve immediately or chill until needed.

Fig Almond Tartelettes

The holidays are over!  After about three weeks of on-and-off holidays (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth) we are finally returning to normal life.  Rocker Dude, the Little Rocker and I have had a lot of fun over the past few weeks.  We spent about a week and a half at the in-laws, and the Little Rocker was spoiled silly (isn’t that their job in the world?  I always thought so).  We also had a birthday party for her as you saw in this post, though I will make a separate post about the birthday cake – who likes Elmo?

On Friday I went to the Farmer’s Market here in Givat Shmuel as I usually do on Fridays.  I got the awesome pickles that I love from a kibbutz, and I looked around for other things to inspire me.  There was one stand with four different types of cherry/grape tomatoes – they were so fresh!  I brought about a kilo of those home, and then I saw the figs.  I thought I had missed fig season when it started in August because we then flew to the US and when we came back, all the figs that I saw were mushy and not appealing.  Not these figs.  They were soft but not mushy, and they tasted so good!  I have never had a fresh fig before as they are not common in the northeast being more of a warm weather fruit.  I was a little hesitant as I had tried fresh guavas last week and they were nasty.

Look at these beauts!

Dried figs are good, but after three or four, they kind of lose their appeal.  And dried figs feel like they are just full of seeds and nothing else.  So I bought a container and decided to bake something with them for the Sabbath.  I remembered seeing a lot of interesting recipes and as I have not baked anything really elegant in a while, I figured that something with figs qualifies as elegant.

I looked through some of the blogs that I follow, and came across this Fig and Almond Tartelette on Tartelette’s blog.  Her food always looks so elegant and her photography is gorgeous.  One day I hope that I can attend one of her  lectures on photography.

Almond Fig Tart

I know that Rocker Dude doesn’t like almonds, but he doesn’t like figs that much either, so I decided that this dessert was not for him – it was for the other 8 people at the table.  I made Tartelette’s pie crust, a crust that did not require refrigeration before rolling out, though I froze it for an hour before baking it.

Tart crust before adding liquid
Out with the old and in with the new. I got these from my mom's pantry when we went to the US in January, good thing I took both! Thanks Imma!

It did shrink a tiny bit, but not enough to ruin the shape.  I knew that we were going to be 9 people for dinner and I only have 8 tartelette pans, so I decided to make this into one big tart and serve it in slices.  In order to make sure I had enough, I doubled the recipe.  it made enough for one 10 inch tart and two 4 inch tartelettes. Although the recipe originally says to bake the crusts for 30 minutes, I decided to only parbake the crusts as they would be baked again and I did not want to overbake them.

All three tart crusts, parbaked.

The filling was really easy to make.  I ground up the almonds in the food processor and added the rest of the ingredients, including the rum and then poured it into the cooled tart crust.  I have to admit that it didn’t look like there would be enough filling to fill the big tart let alone the two little tartelettes.  But I trusted that Tartelette knows what she is talking about and indeed, I was wrong, and there was plenty.

The filling, before mixing.

Then I gently pressed the fig halves over the filling (after eating two of them) and baked them in the oven.  The filling rose to encase the figs gently.  When they came out, the tarts looked wonderful.

Almond Fig Tart

I did not have apricot jam to glaze the tarts, so I used strawberry.  I figure that if the figs already have a red sort of color, the faint pink of the strawberry and rum would not color the tart too much.  I was right.

A delicious bite.

The tart was well enjoyed by everyone (except for Rocker Dude), though you could really feel the alcohol.  My ex-roommate R. was over for the weekend and brought a nice dessert wine, and they paired very nicely together.  R. is training right now to run the Venice marathon at the end of the month – she is crazy.  But if anyone in the Jerusalem area is looking for a personal trainer or a massage therapist, she is certified in both and is really good.  (She used to practice on me and Rocker Dude while she was learning – free massages anyone?)

Make this tart – and feel fancy!

Recipe (adapted from Helene of Tartelette):

Fig Almond Tartelettes

Makes 1 10-inch tart and 2 4-inch tartelettes

For crust
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For filling

2/3 cup whole almonds (about 4 ounces)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
8 teaspoons rum
24 ounces ripe figs, cut into halves (about 8 )
1/2 cup strawberry (or apricot) jam

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first 3 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix 4 tablespoons ice water and vanilla in small bowl. Pour water mixture over dough. Process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out on floured surface to 12-inch round.  Fit into tart pan and trim excess dough. Roll out the excess dough to fit the tartelette pans.  Freeze the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes.  Using fork, pierce dough all over. Bake crust until pale golden, about 20 minutes (crust may shrink slightly). Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Finely grind almonds with sugar in processor. Add eggs, butter and 4 teaspoons rum. Process until batter forms. Pour filling into crust. Arrange fig halves atop filling. Bake until figs are tender and filling is golden and set, about 25 minutes.
Melt jelly with remaining 4 teaspoons rum in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush jelly mixture over figs. Cool tarts. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Crunchy and Custardy Nectarine Tart

This week’s recipe was hosted by Rachel of sweet tarte.  She chose the crunchy and custardy peach tart.  I have actually made this recipe a couple of times already, each time a bit differently.  The first time I made it with canned peaches because it was the middle of  the winter and there were no fresh peaches to be had.  The second time I made them, I forgot to specify to dear Rocker Dude when he bought the fresh peaches that I would need them the same day, so they were really hard.  I have to say that I liked the tart better with the canned peaches than with the underripe fresh ones.  This time, we are at the height of peach season, so I was going to do this right, well, sort of.

Pitted nectarines. Not the neatest job in the world.

I used nectarines so that I wouldn’t have to peel them before putting them into the tart.

Tart crust ready to be baked.

I also decided to slice up the nectarines completely and make a spiral pattern in the tart instead of partially cutting them and spreading the nectarine half.  I did this with the canned peaches (because they came sliced) and it came out looking really nice.  I used an extra nectarine half because I made a ten-inch tart instead of a 9 inch one.

Nectarine filling

The recipe is really east to make.  The topping takes about 1 1/2 minutes to mix up, then get your tart crust going add filling (which requires no pre-cooking by the way) and bake the whole thing!

We just came back from America on Wednesday, so it has taken the Little Rocker a while to get back to the right time zone, giving us a few hard nights.  Friday morning, when I made this tart, I was only about half-functioning.  And the Little Rocker and I walked out to the farmer’s market in the 108 degree heat – we got the greatest pickles ever!  (And some fresh mangos and grapes too.)  So when we came back I was pretty wiped and all I could think about was if I had enough freezer space I would have tart crusts already frozen and then I wouldn’t have to procrastinate baking.  Haven’t we all had those days?  Granted, I procrastinated by finding cool things to bake, but it is procrastination nonetheless.

Crunchy and Custardy Nectarine Tart

We brought this tart to our friend S.’s house for lunch on Saturday and it was well received, though Rocker Dude did say that he did not like the tartness of the nectarines with the creaminess of the custard filling.  Oh well, can’t please everyone.

Close up. Looks delish!

Check out the recipe on Rachel’s blog here and see what other TWD bakers did here.

P.S. Can you tell that I am still recovering?  This post was all over the place!

What I Have Been Up to…

It has been a while since I last posted and I am feeling the lack.  Last Tuesday, we flew to New Jersey to begin the wedding celebrations for the bro – D.  This whole thing is being spread out over three weeks so we get quite a vacation out of it.  On the other hand, I haven’t had much time to bake, and I wasn’t able to photocopy my TWD recipes for the three weeks that I will be gone so I am not participating in that.

We have been quite busy though, hence why I haven’t had time to post.  There were about 50 people at my parents’ house over the weekend and we had to prepare, and of course, be awake and social and everything – no time for jet lag.  The Little Rocker really stood up to the challenge and in only three days got back on schedule.

The Little Rocker takes a break.

When I first found out that we would be flying in to the US in August, I immediately thought about going to the Middlesex County Fair.  My family used to go every summer and we always had such fun.  I wanted to take the Little Rocker and even Rocker Dude so that he could catch a glimpse into my past.  I found the fair site online and it occurred to me that I could enter something into the baking contest.  Exciting!!  I know that it is unlikely that I might win (statistically obviously) but it is fun just to try.

It took me a good few months to decide what to make, but I finally decided on an Enclosed Apple Tart and the Tarte Noir.  I have actually made this apple tart a number of times but I haven’t yet had a chance to post it.  I really need to get around to it.  In any case, here is a picture of how it came out,

Enclosed Apple Tart

The deadline for submitting the baked goods to the fair was 5 pm today.  Because D. decided to move most of his stuff out of my parents’ house today to his new apartment, I was car-less and short some ingredients.  But Abba came to the rescue!  My dad took me to the store to stock me up (I don’t know how to drive stick, and besides, I’m not sure that my dad would let me drive his baby anyway).  So I was running a little bit late and on top of that using different materials than what I am used to, so these did not come out as well as I would have hoped.  Basically, the crust of the Tarte Noir shrank and at the last minute I decided to cut the sides off the crust and just have a bottom crust.  It actually worked out really well.

The Little Rocker found the tart crust scraps and decided to dip them in the leftover chocolate - and then just lick the chocolate off 🙂

The best part of the whole day was that I. came by to visit.  She used to live in Israel with us and only recently moved back to her parents’ house in New York, so this was a great opportunity to see her.  She has a country radio show (Country Love with Ilona – check it out) so she was just tickled pink to be able to go to a county fair, the epitome of country.

She came with me and Rocker Dude to the fairgrounds and carefully held the apple tart on her lap the whole way there (she didn’t want to hold the tarte noir and take responsibility for holding it perfectly straight –  that went to Rocker Dude – he needs a few more lessons in holding things straight.)  We got there with no mishap and submitted the two tarts.

My submission tickets to the fair.

The judging began shortly after we left, but we won’t know until Wednesday when we go to the actual fair whether I got a blue ribbon or not.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Me and I.!!!