IMG_3942

Roasted Pear Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

IMG_3941

 

 

 

I haven’t been cooking and baking all that much these last few months. Working full time, trying to figure out how to balance work life with family life, and where the cooking comes in is a puzzle. Getting a good meal on the table when you walk in the door after 7pm gets complicated. I have been experimenting with different ways to make the week easier. Some weeks I cook enough on Sunday to have something on the table in a different formation each night of the week. (A recipe I turn to again and again is Luci’s Macaroni and Cheese). Other times I prep and have things ready that I use as the foundation of meals throughout the week. This requires a little more work after you walk in the door, but I find it more satisfying. Check back frequently, I will be sharing my thoughts, recipes, and discoveries! 

This Sunday night after Thanksgiving, I want to share with you a favorite cake that I have been making this fall. It is a perfect cake to have for the week. It is moist and it is delicious for breakfast, afternoon tea….(who am I kidding? who really has time for afternoon tea? unless it is at your desk!!) or a perfect light dessert. 

There is something lovely about bosc pears, their slender and sophisticated shape, their luscious mouth feel when you have the absolutely perfectly ripe bite. My maternal grandfather used to eat them when they were one step away from no return…they would be brown and riddled with marks, but the flesh was soft and irresistible. This cake has become a favorite way of showing off their subtle flavor. The heady aroma of cardamom is intoxicating, the nutty flavor of the brown butter glaze, addictive. The recipe calls for roasting the pears before adding them to the batter, which adds a depth to the flavor in the cake.

IMG_3963

Roasted Pear Cake with Brown Butter Icing

adapted from a recipe by Yossy Arefi

 

Makes one bundt

For the roasted pear cake:

2 1/2 pounds pears
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1 tablespoonful maple syrup
Juice from 1 lemon 
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons cardamom
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream

roasted pecans as a garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel, core, and chop the pears into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the pears to a baking dish and toss them with  sugar, salt, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Cover the dish with foil and bake the pears until they are soft and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the dish and let the pears cool to room temperature and quickly pulse them in a food processor. Leave some larger bits of pear in the sauce. Measure out 2 cups of pear sauce and set aside. (Save the rest for the second cake you are going to want to bake for your best friend after you smell this one baking.) Turn the oven down to 350° F and butter and flour a bundt pan. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, oil, and brown sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds in between each egg. Add the sour cream and pear sauce and stir to combine. Fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter to release any air. Bake the cake until golden and cooked through, 50-60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a rack to cool completely. Let cool before glazing, if desired.
For the browned butter glaze (optional)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream 
Pinch of kosher salt
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let the butter melt completely. It will begin bubbling. Continue to cook the butter, until it begins to smell nutty and darkens in color. Remove the butter from the heat and transfer it to a large bowl. Let cool slightly. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of salt followed by enough milk to make a smooth, pourable glaze. If the glaze breaks or curdles, add a bit of warm water to help it re-emulsify. Pour the glaze over the cooled bundt and let harden slightly before slicing.

Perfect Potato Salad

My friend Catherine makes THE BEST potato salad. (I know this to be true because my daughter says it is so). It is in the French style, served room temperature. It is tangy and mellow, with a bit of shallot, dijon mustard and herbs. I am always trying to make it taste as good, but I always fall short. This past week, at the Harwich Farmer’s Market, I picked up some Adirondack red potatoes, which have a gorgeous pink flesh and were perfect for a CB potato salad. 

The potatoes were just dug that morning! It took quite a long time to remove all of the dirt. Once I finally reached the skin, it was a beautiful rosy hue. I boiled the potatoes until they were tender and tossed them warm with the dressing of vinegar, dijon, thinly sliced red scallions, thyme and chives. After sitting for a few hours at room temperature they were just perfect. Served with simply grilled chicken breasts and green beans, they were the perfect accompaniment to a late summer dinner. 

IMG_3656

 

Notes: When I asked my dear friend CB for the recipe for the millionth time she responded with; “What?, the old potato salad?” I assure you it is a FABULOUS potato salad! You can add finely chopped shallots or red onion instead of scallion. 

Perfect Potato Salad 

serves 4-6

adapted from CB’s Potato Salad

2–3 pounds small potatoes (red, fingerling, or your favorite)

3–5 tablespoons of the best olive oil you have

2–3 tablespoons of the best vinegar you have (CB uses a fabulous Muscat grape vinegar, I also like sherry vinegar in this)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or to taste)

1–2 red or green scallions thinly sliced

coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped chives or thyme for garnish

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. 

Scrub the potatoes well and add them to the water once boiling.

Cook until tender when pierced with a knife. Do not overcook them, you want them to be firm so the do not fall apart.

In the meantime, mix the dressing with a fork or small whisk in the bottom of a serving bowl large enough to accommodate all of the potatoes without too much crowding. 

Drain the potatoes well and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Gently combine while the potatoes are still warm. Garnish with chives.

Serve warm or at room temperature. (Or eat them out of the refrigerator later when no one is looking!!)

 

 

 

 

IMG_3599

Quick Spicy Shrimp

I am always sad when I have to say goodbye to summer. The long days, the bright sun, the softness in the air, it all just makes life a little bit sweeter. The last weeks of August have always been my favorite. Part of the reason is that they are traditionally the weeks I get to spend with my family on Cape Cod. This year that week slid into the first week of September. The farmer’s markets were overflowing with incredible produce, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and cucumbers to die for. We spent a good part of the week cooking dinner together, drinking wine, and telling family stories. How many times can we laugh at the same story? It would seem the answer to that question is, “as many times as it is told”!

My dad and I have been cooking together in the kitchen for over 20 years. He has become quite the chef! The first night he couldn’t wait to tell me how he has changed the way he makes his chicken cutlets, which by the way were spot on! Served with roasted fingerlings, corn and a cucumber salad, it was a fabulous meal to kick off the week. 

Seafood is something that I recently started to cook and eat. Being from New England, it has always been a mystery to many of my friends. “Better late than never”, I say. Shrimp was on the menu for the second night. I wanted to make a quick sauté. The shrimp were so fresh, nothing heavy handed would do. 

IMG_3599
spicy shrimp with shallots and chives

A quick pour of olive oil, a few minced shallots, some crushed red pepper and 5 minutes later the shrimp were done. Served with a zucchini risotto, it was heavenly. 

zucchini risotto
zucchini risotto

 

Quick Spicy Shrimp

Serves 2-3

3/4 pound large shrimp, cleaned, deveined and dried thoroughly

1 large shallot, coarsely chopped

extra–virgin olive oil

crushed red pepper to taste

chopped chives for garnish

 

Heat a medium saucepan over moderately high heat, swirl the olive oil a few times around the pan.

Add the chopped shallot and cook over moderate heat 3-5 minutes, until it softens and becomes translucent. 

Add the crushed red pepper to taste and slip in the shrimp.

Cook over moderately high heat until they become opaque, turning a few times cook evenly. This will take just a few minutes.

Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy.

 

IMG_3314

An Egg in a Hole

I have been promising my husband that I would make this ridiculously simple breakfast for years, the problem is, I just don’t like runny eggs. Making eggs for breakfast has never been part of our routine, however, every time i see a slice of bread, crisped perfectly, with a gloriously yellow yolk running out of it I want to make one. 

Being summer our mornings are a bit slower paced. Armed with a beautiful fresh  Eli’s Health Loaf, and some incredible fresh eggs from the farmer’s market, today was the day. I kept channeling Olympia Dukakis’ character in Moonstruck!  It was a beautiful thing drizzled with a Sriracha! 

 

IMG_3311

 

Note: I used a square shaped cookie cutter to make the hole in the slice of bread.

 

Use your favorite country loaf or health bread. Cut a hole in the middle of each slice, make it big enough for the egg to fit in without too much spillage. 

Pour a few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet, heat until sizzling. Place the cut bread onto the pan surface, crack the egg into a small cup and then carefully pour into the hole. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Check the underside of the toast to make sure it isn’t cooking too quickly, and flip with a large spatula. Cook until golden brown, plate and serve with your favorite hot sauce!

IMG_3313

 

IMG_3461

Tagliatelle with Figs and Prosciutto

It is the end of July already! This summer is moving at warp speed. I have been doing a lot of cooking, in between the start of a new job. The thing about working full time and cooking and blogging is that sometimes you have to make a dinner out of air. I know that so many people do this on a nightly basis. Open the refrigerator door and say to yourself…what goes together?

The interesting thing about this is that some of my best meals and ideas happen when faced with the limited ingredients on those shelves. Last night was a perfect example! It was 8:30 pm. My daughter had already eaten, and my DH was still not home. I had picked up some beautiful baby zucchini at the farmers market this past weekend along with some farm fresh eggs. The basil was still in great shape, and I had a tiny piece of swiss cheese that was leftover from something. Enter Marcella Hazan stage left.

 

 

Her zucchini and basil frittata in 20 minutes. It was a fabulous summer dinner. Light, tasty and just right with a glass of chilled rosé and a crusty piece of ciabatta. As if on cue, the door opened and DH walked in just as it was done!

Wait! This is not what I wanted to share with you today! I wanted to talk about figs. Figs are a sensuous fruit, (as a friend recently reminded me). Luscious and sweet, they have a long history, all the way back to ancient Rome and before!  My maternal grandfather had many fig tress in his garden. They were smuggled into America in the pockets of his overcoat back in the 50’s. They grew into enormous trees, and there was a big commotion every fall, because they then had to be buried so they wouldn’t die during the Northeast winters. My mother would wait for the fruit every August and would eat every last one. I on the other hand was not so sure about them. It took years for me to understand their allure. There is no holding back now!

A perfectly ripe fig, wrapped in a thinly sliced, salty piece of perfect Prosciutto di Parma is a transcendent experience. This pasta takes that experience to another level. Salty, sweet, savory and crunchy all in one bite. Go to the market, pick up a few boxes and enjoy them this weekend!

IMG_3452

 

Tagliatelle with Figs and Prosciutto

serves 2-3

adapted from Gourmet August 2001

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3—4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

1 small red onion thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1/2—1 teaspoonful of chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup of dry rosé 

1/2 cup chicken broth

3/4 pound ripe, fresh figs, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 pound of dried egg tagliatelle

grated parmesan to pass 

Notes: I used a rosé in this recipe, it is what I had on hand. It was perfect! But use a dry white, it will be just as delicious. I also used some homemade chicken stock that I had, it added a richness to the pan sauce, if you have some use it. For figs, I used mission figs, they were the most ripe at the market. Any type of fig would work well in this recipe. I also sprinkled only 1/2 of the breadcrumbs over the pasta, bringing the rest to the table for those who wanted to add a bit more crunch.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper to taste, and stir constantly until they turn golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Tip onto a plate and set aside. 

Heat the remaining oil in the cleaned skillet over moderate heat and cook the prosciutto until golden and crisp. Transfer to paper towels with slotted spoon to drain. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and stir for another minute. Stir in the wine and boil until liquid is reduced to about a tablespoonful. Stir in the stock, figs, lemon juice and half of the prosciutto. Bring to a slow simmer and cook briefly until the stock starts to reduce, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, in case the pasta sauce is too dry. Add the tagliatelli to the sauce and heat over low to moderate heat adding some reserved pasta water if the sauce seems too dry. Toss the mixture until heated through and the pasta is coated with the glorious sauce.

Transfer to a beautiful serving dish and top with breadcrumbs and remaining prosciutto. Pass some grated parmesan over the top. 

 

IMG_3455

 

IMG_3089

Cherry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

 

In between all of the delicious Middle Eastern food I have been cooking out of my new favorite cookbook, Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi, I have been baking with my favorite combination of cherries and pistachios. The cherries have been magnificent this summer. I saw this recipe by David Tanis in the New York Times for an almond frangipane tart with fresh cherries. I was hooked! I love almonds. But, I ADORE pistachios, and if you have never had a frangipane with pistachios, you have been deprived. To the kitchen I went. I always have a few bags of shelled unsalted pistachios in my kitchen, which I use in my biscotti, wedding cookies, various pilafs, etc. etc. etc. 

Frangipane is a filling flavored with nuts, (most frequently almonds), and is used in tarts, cakes, and cookies. It can be a light filling, or cake like, depending on the amount of flour added. Last summer, when the apricots were in season, I came across a recipe by Deb Perlman, for apricot pistachio bars, which were outrageously delicious! The base for these bars is a pistachio frangipane.

The marriage of the two recipes was perfect. The green of the pistachio, and the deep crimson of the cherries was exquisite, not to mention the taste. Try it. Use the frangipane as a canvas for all of the summer stone fruits ahead, peaches, nectarines, plums, and of course, those delectable apricots!

IMG_3062IMG_3064IMG_3069

 

 

 

Cherry Pistachio Frangipane

This recipe adapted from this Cherry Frangipane Tart by David Tanis, and this Apricot Pistachio Square recipe by Deb Perlman.

Notes: I used fresh Bing Cherries for this recipe, substituting Ranier would be equally beautiful and delicious, if using sour cherries, increase the sugar in the filling to 1/2 cup. Feel free to add whichever liquor or flavoring to the filling, I used St-Germain, this would be delicious with a cherry brandy! I like to arrange the pitted cherries in a decorative pattern, scatter the pitted cherries whole for a more rustic look. This cherry pitter is the best by the way! 

Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter 

Filling

3/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (if using pistachios in their shells double the quantity)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

pinch of fine sea salt

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into chunks

1 large egg

2 teaspoons of St-Germain (optional, but fabulous elderflower liqueur)

3/4 pound Bing cherries, pitted and halved

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 inch tart pan. 

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and process until mixture just comes together, about 1 minute. Tip the mixture into the tart pan and press it evenly across the bottom and up into the fluted sides until flush with the top. Pop the crust into the freezer for 15 minutes and then bake in the preheated oven until light gold in color, about 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while making the filling.

In the bowl of your food processor, grind the shelled pistachios, sugar, flour, and salt together until the nuts are finely ground.

Add the butter and combine until no pieces are visible, add the egg and flavorings, blend until smooth.

Spread the filling over cooled shell. Arrange the cherries in a decorative pattern over the filling, (see note above).

Bake the tart for 50-60 minutes, start checking after 50 minutes, until the top of the tart is a lovely golden brown color, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool on rack, dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Keep any leftover tart (LOL) in the refrigerator.

IMG_3090
Cherry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2961

Pici with Sausage and Red Bell Pepper Sauce

IMG_2961
Pici tossed with Sausage and Red Pepper sauce

 

“Desperate times call for desperate measures”! There are days when something sets off this absolute desire to cook and eat comfort food. Nothing says comfort to me like a bowl of pasta. Add to that bowl of pasta, my favorite Marcella Hazan sauce of Sausage with Red Peppers and you have gone from comforting to sublime in a moment. This is one of those sauces that is ridiculously satisfying anytime of year, over dried pasta, in shapes that catch all of the sauce, or freshly made.

I had one of those days recently when I took my teenage daughter dress shopping. What an eye opening experience that was. All of you who have been through it are nodding and smiling!! I know there will be a day that I will nod and smile as well…(hopefully when she is reporting to me sometime in the distant future about her unbelievably strong-minded daughter’s attitude when shopping for clothes). So, out came a recipe from a new cookbook I have been wanting to try for some time, Pasta by Handby Jenn Louis. This book is filled with different types and variations of pasta from different regions in Italy. Many are well known, like gnocchi and orecchiette, while many others are not. I came across one of these lesser known pastas that I had enjoyed over 20 years ago in the small Tuscan town of Pienza. Pici, “a rustic pasta that is always handmade, and is traditionally almost as thick as a pencil. “It’s density and texture qualify it as more of a dumpling than a pasta.” All I can tell you is that it was so delicious that we went out of our way on the drive back to Rome the following week just to eat it again! (Believe me there is no shortage of fabulous pasta in Tuscany!!)

My refrigerator was stocked with some fresh hot pork sausage and a huge piece of parmesan from a very recent foraging trip to my favorite Italian food store, DiPaolo, so the stars were aligned! 

I encourage you to pull out the semolina flour and a rolling pin and tackle the Pici! But, as I said at the beginning, when times seem desperate…grab you large skillet and make this sauce! An hour later you will be convinced that all of that adolescent drama was not “literally legit”.

 

Red Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausages

adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Notes: The peeling of the peppers in this recipe may seem like an unnecessary step. It is not. It allows the peppers to melt into the sauce and adds to the depth of flavor. The original recipe lists sweet sausage without “strong” seasonings. I love this recipe with hot Italian sausage.

3 large bell peppers, all red or a combination of red and yellow

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 pound hot italian sausage removed from casing and crumbled

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole canned tomatoes, I use San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated, plus additional cheese for passing

Cut the peppers into 4 sections, discard the seeds and cores, and peel them using a vegetable peeler. Cut them into 1—2 inch squares.

Put the olive oil into a large skillet and heat over moderate heat. Add the chopped onion and cook util it becomes a pale gold. Add the sausage, cook for 2 minutes breaking up the large pieces, then add the peppers, and cook for 7—8 minutes, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. 

Add the tomato paste, stir until evenly distributed, then add the tomatoes. Cook at a lively simmer for 15—20 minutes, until the oil floats free from the tomatoes.

Once the pasta is cooked add directly to the skillet and toss throughly. Off the heat add the parmesan and toss again. Serve immediately.

The sauce can be made earlier in the day and reheated while the pasta is cooking. This sauce is ridiculously good over fresh pasta, but as Marcella says “boxed factory pasta would be delicious, try such shapes as rigatoni, or route di carro.”

Pour yourself a large glass of red wine, grab your bowl of pasta, and allow it all to melt away, until the next time!

 

 

IMG_2971

Curried Cauliflower

I have to admit it, roasting is my go to way to cook vegetables. It may seem so obvious, but it is such a great way to bring out the best in most every vegetable. Just this past week, I roasted bunches of asparagus, florets of broccoli, lovely fingerling potatoes, and some beautiful cauliflower. My dear husband, who is an adamant cauliflower hater, walked into the apartment today and said, “something smells amazing!”. I smugly replied, “cauliflower“. 

It is really just a method. Wash your favorite vegetable, dry it thoroughly, season it with coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, some thinly sliced garlic, maybe a few pinches of crushed red pepper, and a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil. Toss well and turn it out onto a sheet pan, and roast at 400°F, until the edges start to caramelize. The trick is to get the vegetable a little crispy and still maintain its bite. 

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower (also called a curd!)

1 tablespoon of blended curry powder (I use Penzey’s sweet or hot curry blend)

2—3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wash the cauliflower, cut of the large part of the stem, and divide into large florets.

Dry throughly.

In a large bowl toss the cauliflower with curry powder, oil, and salt and pepper.

Turn out onto a sheet pan and roast for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower starts to caramelize but still retains a bit of it’s crunch. 

Finish with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_2969

 

IMG_2952

Roasted Asparagus

IMG_2944

 

It is truly farmer’s market season. The first sighting of field strawberries was this week. The next few months will get better and better, with mountains of zucchini and tomatoes, cucumbers and shishito peppers! We have certainly been taking advantage of the asparagus. Perfectly tender spears that need nothing more than a quick turn in the oven and a bit of garlic, olive oil and finishing salt. Spring in a bite. Over the last few weeks I have gone a little overboard with the asparagus. During one of my foraging trips to the green market, a few weeks ago, there was a tiny stand selling ramp pesto. Being mad about ramps, I had a brilliant idea to slather it on pizza dough. OMG! That pizza, topped with asparagus, prosciutto and fior de latte mozzarella, was dreamy. But mostly I have been roasting bunches and serving them as our side vegetable. 

I wanted to share this quick method of roasting asparagus with you, so when you are out this weekend and see the beautiful, local, greenish to purple spears of asparagus you will grab a bunch and enjoy them at the height of their season. 

Preheat your oven to 425° F. Give your spears a good rinse,  if they are freshly picked the stalks will be so tender they will just need a slight trim off of the bottom. Dry them well and toss with 2–3 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil on a sheet pan. Slice 2 cloves of garlic thinly and scatter on top of the asparagus and into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook them. Sprinkle with finishing salt, (Maldon is my favorite), and a few grindings of pepper.

They will come out with still a bit of a snap to them, and with little caramelized bits as well. Just delicious!! (And as my DH said last night, “the little crunchy garlic bits are great too”.)

Enjoy your weekend!

IMG_2819

Blueberry Tartlets

 

It is Memorial Day Weekend! The start of a summer season that we in the Northeast thought might never come. As many of you already know, as well as blogging about food, I have been working very hard at getting the catering side of At Yvonne’s Table up and running. May has been a beautiful month for me. I have been fortunate enough to have several really great events to work on. This past week there was a lovely lunch for a graduate student finishing up her Master’s Degree at a prestigious university in New York. Along with a lunch of meatball sliders, mini chicken parmesan heroes, and pasta salad, I was given the opportunity to create a platter of “blue desserts”, (blue being the school’s color).

When I think blue food, the first thing that comes to mind is Violet Beauregard in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Once that image out of my head, I quickly got down to business thinking about what to do that would be beautiful, small, and of course delicious. After trying out many recipes for different types of cupcakes I settled on a blue velvet cupcake as one of the two desserts. (They have become all the rave at my daughter’s school, since she took all of the trial runs to share with her classmates!!). For the other I went back to an old favorite of mine. A recipe from Gourmet magazine that whips together mascarpone cheese with heavy cream, which is so unbelievably delicious you will want to use it for everything. 

 

 

Blueberry Tartlets with Mascarpone

Adapted from Gourmet 1998

Notes: I use a traditional sweet pastry dough for my tartlets, and press into mini muffin tins. You can use a single 9 inch fluted tart pan to make one large tart. The tart shells can be made up to two days ahead and kept in an air tight container.

If you are not in tart making mode, skip the pastry shell. Whip the cream, toss the berries and pass around the table as is, there will not be a spoonful left!

Sweet Pastry Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

pinch of fine sea salt

1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup ice water

pie weights for weighing shells (or raw rice or raw beans or a combination of the two)

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add the butter to the flour, sugar and salt and mix until resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks and ice water and add in a slow and steady stream to the flour mixture on low speed. Once the dough comes together, turn out onto work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap flattening to form two discs. Refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 days. 

Preheat hoven to 350° F.

Once the dough is chilled, divide into 20 equally sized balls, and place them into the mini muffin tins, pushing up the sides of the cups. With a fork, prick the bottom of the shells. Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm. (I usually freeze the dough to get it nice and firm). Line each cup with a piece of foil, and fill with pie weights and bake in the oven for 18 minutes, carefully remove the foil and weights. Bake shells about 5-10 minutes longer and cool completely on a rack. Done…the hardest part is over.

 

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/3–1/2 cup chilled organic heavy cream

1/3 cup raw sugar

3-4 cups blueberries (picked over, washed and dried)

2 tablespoons apricot jam

2 tablespoons Chambord (or other berry liqueur)

In a small saucepan simmer the jam and the liqueur, stirring until reduced by 1/2 and pour over berries and toss to coat evenly. 

In a bowl with a balloon whisk, or an electric mixer beat together mascarpone, heavy cream, and sugar until mixture holds stiff peaks. Spoon mixture into shells. Mound berries beautifully on mascarpone cream and serve. (Assemble up to 3-4 hours before serving and chill.)