Nectarine Hazelnut Tart

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This was supposed to be one tart recipe, but it morphed into two. The reason being, when you toss an assemblage of ingredients into a food processor and hope they will magically whiz together into tart dough, well.. they don’t always cooperate. Baking has rules. Toasted hazelnuts and a stick of butter do not a tart dough make.

The first crust recipe I tried (which you’ll see in some of the pictures) was far too buttery, and too crumbly. (Just take my word for it that there is such a thing.) Even after some solo time in the oven, the crust would’ve been far better scattered over the top of the nectarines than underneath them.

On my second go around, I added more flour, a touch of baking soda, and an egg. These additions provided much needed structure. Note to self: making dough is not reinventing the wheel. Read more »

Key Lime Tarts

Key lime pie is my very favorite dessert, of all time, in the world. That is–when it is done properly. Because, to sound like a snob, it is almost never done properly. The next time you are in the supermarket, take a gander to the bakery department. You might find a key lime pie there, but more likely it is only something masquerading as a key lime pie. Have a look at the ingredients. Are there more than five? Take a look at the color. Does it look like an experiment in florescents gone bad?

Real key lime pie, the kind you find in restaurants in southern Florida, only has four ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, key lime zest and egg yolks. It is pale yellow, almost white, and has the consistency of thick custard. Read more »

Peach and Rosemary Crumble Tarte Tatin

It’s no secret that there are a plethora of peach recipes out there in the world. So when I started contemplating the fate of a carton of peaches I couldn’t resist buying, I decided to pull from both the sweet and savory ends of the spectrum, in the hope I would land on something delicious I hadn’t quite seen before. Ultimately, my inspiration arose dually from a tangy peach sauce I made for pork chops one night (fresh peaches, rosemary, shallots and a little vinegar to cut the syrupiness) and tarte tatin (apples caramelized in plenty of butter and sugar). For my tart, I used still-firm peaches in place of apples, but also added pear brandy (for an earthy kick) and rosemary and spices (for a hint of aromatics). The crust and crumble are adaptations of a graham cracker crust, but I like to use English digestives instead, as they are much easier to break down, and also buttery and salty in their own right. Read more »

Individual Blueberry Vanilla-Maple Pies

While strawberries have sadly disappeared from most farmers’ markets, thankfully I can assuage my sadness with the arrival of blueberries. Oh, blueberries. The only trouble comes when my enthusiasm outpaces my ability to consume them. Lucky for me, I had some extra pastry dough lying around the fridge. Throw a little maple syrup infused with vanilla bean into the mix, and I was in business. You can make these little tartes the morning, or even the night, before you plan to serve them. I topped mine with unsweetened Greek yogurt, but whipped cream or chocolate ice would work well too. Read more »