Category Archives: Tarts

Apple Tart in Less Than 30 Minutes

 

apple tart
Apple Tart

I am not sure about you, but sometimes I just want to impress a friend or a boyfriend or just make a treat for myself.  I might have an urge to bake but I am short on time or feeling lazy and yet I still want my Martha Stewart fix for the day.  On days like that, I skip making the dough part of my apple tart and gasp! I buy frozen puff pastry.

Those who know me, know that not only do I always make my own puff pastry dough but I am the first one to discuss the increase of flavor in the homemade version.  Not to mention the fact that banging out some butter on the counter for homemade puff pastry is therapeutic to say the least.  But sometimes one just does not have time to fit in all the folds required to make the homemade dough. Or maybe you were late remembering that event where you were volunteered to bring a “homemade” dessert and you feel guilted into throwing at least something together. In any of these instances this fall beauty is a recipe for you.  In other posts I will talk about how to make your own puff pastry (from scratch!) .  But this post is dedicated to those of you don’t have much time and still want to get your baking fix.

But first, a short story that shows just how popular an easy dessert can be.  Once I had to entertain a group of ladies for a dessert luncheon.  I made many a complicated pastry- hazelnut torte, macarons, ganache tarts, and then I threw in the apple tart at the end.  Everyone simply clamoured for the apple tart like it was the last dessert left on the planet.  I don’t know if it’s the buttery richness of the puff dough or the fact that eating fruit on a dessert can make some people feel like they are eating a “healthy” dessert but that tart simply vanished.  And I got so many requests for the recipe. I knew then that I had hit a gold mine with this quick and fabulous apple recipe.  And here it is! Good luck amazing your friends and astounding their taste buds!

Active Time: 25 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Apple Tart

  • One package frozen puff pastry dough
  • 4-5 granny smith apples, peeled
  • 1/2 jar apricot preserves
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lemon
  1. Roll out one sheet of frozen puff pastry to fit a 12×8 rectangular baking pan (or whatever size you own that fits closely). Press it to fit in the rectangular baking sheet.  The sides should just come over the edges of the tin. Trim the excess.
  2. Prick the bottom of the puff pastry dough all over with a fork.  (This will prevent the bottom of the tart from puffing up in the oven).
  3. Chill the sheet and puff pastry dough for at least 30 minutes. (This relaxes the gluten in the dough).
  4. While the dough is chilling thinly slice the apples.  I like to cut the apples in half after coring them and slice them thinly along the cross section of the apple.
  5. Remove puff dough from the fridge and line the apples in the tart pan.  Arrange them neatly for a pretty finish.
  6. Cut the butter in small pieces and and sprinkle over the tart.  Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the apples.  Squeeze the half lemon on top of the apples to prevent them from browning.
  7. Bake tart for about 40 to 50 minutes in a 400 F oven until crust is golden brown and apples are cooked down.
  8. While the tart is still hot heat the apricot jam gently in the microwave.  It should just be warm, not boiling hot.  You can mix a bit of whiskey or brandy in with the jam at this point.  Use a spoon to gently spread the jam over top of the apples.
  9. Allow to cool and serve with freshly whipped cream. Bon Appetit!

apple tart

For The Love of Tomatoes! (Tomato Tart)

Ah, tomatoes – that summer vegetable (or is it a fruit?) we all love.  We grow them in our gardens, and put them in salads, and their red freshness is one of the beginning signatures of warm summer days.  But, I think the poor tomato sometimes gets left high and dry because apart from chopping it up and dressing it or putting it in a hamburger bun, how else can we eat it?

Two words – Tomato Tart.  This lovely, fresh tart is not only beautiful but delicious.  The crust is made by hand, and then layered with fresh tomatoes, sliced thin and layered in concentric circles.

Below is the recipe.  Bon appetit!

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cold water

1. Combine flour and salt on the counter and cut in butter until it is in pea-sized chunks.

2. Cut in cold water and use hands to press dough together, folding as you knead, to create layers.

3. Form dough into a disk and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Roll out dough into circle using a rolling pin and press into 9 inch tart pan.

5. Wrap the unbaked tart and chill at least one hour.

6. Place layer of aluminum foil in bottom of tart covering the bottom of sides and fill with rice or beans. (blind bake).

7. Bake tart with rice/beans inside for 12 minutes at 350 F.

8. Remove beans and bake empty crust an addition 5 minutes.

Filling

  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese (thinly sliced)
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes

1. Thinly slice tomatoes and cheese.

2. Chop basil and garlic.

3. Layer cheese on the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle basil and garlic on top of cheese.

4. Layer tomatoes decoratively in concentric circles in the crust.

5. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes until tomatoes are cooked down and cheese is bubbling.

If you enjoy this recipe please let me know.  I would also love to hear about some of your favorite tomato recipes!

P.S. You can make miniature tomato tarts too! Perfect for appetizers!

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A Caramel Walnut Tart For any Occasion

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When I was in culinary school I had the honor of being instructed by a very fine chef who was about 70 and European.  He had a heavy German accent, could still bend a sheet tray in half, and had more energy than most 20-year-olds I know.  He was a vibrant man and a talented baker who specialized in showcasing simple yet elegant desserts.  One dessert he taught us was a caramel walnut tart.  I had never seen walnuts (or caramel for that matter) served in this way before.  This tart encompasses all those features we love in a good dessert – crunch, the toasted aroma of nuts, smooth caramel, and elegance.  It is not too tricky.  The only technical part comes at the end when you must temper the eggs.  Try it out for your next dinner party or for any occasion where you want to impress. It pairs beautifully with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit. 🙂

Caramel Walnut Tart (Recipe adapted from Culinary Institute of America)

Tart dough

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 oz butter

Walnut Caramel Filling

  • 8 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 oz water
  • 9 oz heavy cream
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. First make the tart dough.  Combine all ingredients on the counter and chop in the butter until it is pea sized.  Use your hands to form the ingredients into a dough.

2. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

3. Lightly flour the counter and roll out tart dough to fit a 9 inch tart pan.  Press dough into tart pan, cover lightly, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

4. Blind bake tart for 10 minutes on 350 F.  Bake for 10 minutes with weights or beans.  Tart should be lightly browned.

5. Toast walnuts for 6-7 minutes at 350 F until golden brown.

6. Line dough with the walnuts.

7. Heat the heavy cream and keep in a warm place.

8. Cook the sugar and water in heavy pot over high heat.  Stir until the sugar crystals dissolve.  Allow sugar/water to cook until the sugar takes on a light caramel color.

9. Add the hot cream, stirring with a whisk.

10. Temper the eggs very slowly with the caramel mixture.  Do this slowly or the eggs will cook!!!!

11. Strain the egg/caramel mixture into the tart.

12. Bake at 325 F until the custard sets.  (about 12-15 minutes)

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