Tarts/Pies Archive

Monday, June 7, 2010

strawberry-ricotta graham tartlets

strawberry ricotta grahams

I know what you’re thinking, “Really, Deb? Tarts again?” And I realize that it might seem that I’m in a tart rut, what with those rustic rhubarb tarts and the distinctly tart-looking strawberry brown butter bettys and now these strawberry ricotta tarts. But you see, they’re all very different animals parading under the guise of tart-dom and really — because I am allowed to choose favorites, did you know that? — these are the best ones yet.

to bake
graham tartlets

Because they’re fake tarts. There’s no agonizing crust or shell to deal with, no tart rings or fluted removable-bottom pans, no fillings that need to be whipped just so and crossing your fingers that it doesn’t leak, explode or turn to mush in the oven. In fact, the bases aren’t tart shells at all, they’re essentially graham crackers, which means that they’re essentially cookies, which means that they’re essentially brilliant.

graham stack

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

strawberry brown butter bettys

strawberry brown butter bettys

Me and strawberries are going through the wringer this week. It started with a large, plank-like shortcake with cream cheese, sour cream and a buttered center. It was a dud, an all-caps level DUD. I should have known better than to try a recipe from a dubious source, and also to mess with a perfect thing. Next came a strawberry-striped tweak on my favorite crumb cake, except it didn’t really stripe and when released from the pan, stood briefly on the counter, sighed then slumped wobbily to the side. Filed under: delicious dud hanging out in the freezer, waiting for the next barbecue invitation. Third came a [we'll talk about it later] which I was attempting for the [that too] and it is all sorts of magically tasty if you can look back the large crater in the middle, as if strawberry filling had recently erupted from within it. Filed under: another delicious disaster and lordy, my freezer is getting full. Recipe four was tasty, but I’m debating whether it’s worth burdening your time to discuss; I will ponder this over my next serving but recipe five, recipe five is the real reason we’re here today.

wonder bread
squisssssssh

It started with an apple brown betty, and my recent realization that I have never tried one. Butter + crumbs + sugar = what is wrong with me? Obvious that. Then I found a link I’d bookmarked eons ago to tiny brown bettys, molded in muffin tins, a web recipe from the late Gourmet Magazine. [Moment of silence.] And where it said “good-quality sandwich bread”, I read “Wonder Bread” because I can get it at the bodega. Where it said, “Gala or Fuji apples”, I read “South Jersey strawberries” because I can’t stop buying them. Where it said, “light brown sugar and cinnamon”, I read “dark and lemon zest” and I took “unsalted butter, melted” to mean “browned butter”. Because that’s what I always do. And I’ve never regretted it.

south jersey strawberries

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

rustic rhubarb tarts

rhubarb tarts

I hadn’t intended to audition any new rhubarb recipes this year. Between last year’s cobbler and previous seasons’ filled crumb coffee cake, strawberry rhubarb crumble, strawberry rhubarb pie, loaf cake and even compote, I was pretty sure I had the rhubarb terrain well-covered. But then I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket two weeks ago with Adam and we were both lured in by the bundled stalks. Because they’re shiny and pretty and pearly and pink and I cannot speak for Adam but I am incapable of resisting shiny pretty pearly pink things, nor do I wish to.

shiny pearly rhubarb stalks

I also hadn’t intended to bake another recipe from my new cookbook obsession, Good to the Grain, just yet. For the sake of my hips. For the sake of repetition, given that I already cannot stop talking about it (“The photos!” “The fresh ideas!” “Those danish, aaah!”). I needed to put it on a top shelf and come back to it with some willpower. Problem was, in the process of putting it away, those free-form rhubarb tarts on the cover taunted me once again, “Don’t you have rhubarb to use up? You know you wanna!”

rhubarb cross sectionrhubarb, sliced on the diagonalyolks, cream and dry ingredientspressing down the doughfilling the tartrhubarb tarts, ready to bake

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

homemade pop tarts

pop tarts

I never had a Pop-Tart until college. I realize that for some people this may cause a shocked reaction on par with my husband’s the time I told him I’ve never watched Goonies before (or Jacob’s, upon discovering the internet). Obviously I grew up under a rock, right? Thus, given my proximity to concrete-like materials you’d think I have been better prepared for the texture of the one I purchased from the vending machine in the basement of my freshman dorm (not at 4 a.m. or anything, either, nope, not this angel!). But I was not. It was like particle board, but even particle board has a fresher aroma. It took two hands to break off a piece. I choked down my first bite, then chugged some water, convinced bits were stuck in my throat. Don’t you hate that?

mixed doughdough to chillrolling out the doughfaux-nutella, brown sugar and jam

I understand that if I had toasted it, my experience might have been better. And maybe the brown sugar cinnamon variety isn’t exactly the most vibrant. Also, it is entirely possible that a dusty dormitory basement doesn’t have, say, the packaged pastry turnover a large grocery store chain. But even at its most ideal, it could never be anything but a compromise for me: a dry, flavorless, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, “artificial strawberry flavor”-ed version of what could be homemade and flawless.

brown sugar and nutella fillings

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 12, 2010

easy jam tart

easy jam tart

From what I read, those of you on the opposite side of the country are reveling in the season’s first artichokes, asparagus and favas. You’re gushing over rhubarb and your new favorite way to cook it. You’re rejoicing over how good in-season strawberries taste when you’ve been deprived of them for the better part of a year.

Please stop.

dry ingredientstart doughpressing in the cornmeal crustjam tart, ready to bake

I am small and petty and the Greenmarket is so devoid of anything but root vegetables — and also vegetables that grow in the ground — would you like some potatoes? We have crates and crates; I’m incapable of being happy for you. I was so eager to believe that I’d find anything but the same old things that have been out for the last four months when I was at the market this weekend that I rushed at a sign that said “Apricots and Nectarines” even though I knew it would have been impossible that the crate could have contained them, only to find that it had been scrawled on the back of the announcement of more “Cold Storage Apples”. (Sorry kid, looks like another week of applesauce for you!)

sour cherry jam

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