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Archive for the ‘Tarts and Pies’ Category

I wanted to bake a fall-inspired dessert the evening that I made homemade Chicken and Dumplings. I know I’ve mentioned this in several of my recent posts but I have just had a strong desire lately to spend time in my kitchen. I browsed through a fall dessert gallery on Food Network and this Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust caught my eye. First, one of my favorite fall desserts is this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and second, I love any excuse to use my tart pan. I much prefer making tarts over pies.

I was shocked to review the ingredient list and find that the tart only had six ingredients. Needless to say, it was extremely quick and easy to put together. I did add some of the traditional pumpkin pie spices to the filling – I just couldn’t stop myself but many of the recipe reviews said that it was perfect just the way the recipe was written. I served the tart with homemade bourbon whipped cream and both Brandon and I agreed that it was a winner!

The tart is very reminiscent of pumpkin pie and would be a nice addition to Thanksgiving or holiday dessert spreads.

One Year Ago: Apple Cinnamon Cake

Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust
(Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups gingersnaps, crushed (about 55-60 cookies)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (be sure you are not buying pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet.

Prepare crust by combining gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and mix until crumbs are moistened. Place crumbs in tart pan and press evenly over the bottom and sides with your fingers or a measuring cup. Bake in preheated oven until set and lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, condensed milk, egg yolks, spices and salt until well combined. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and return to oven. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour or until ready to serve.

To serve, remove tart from outer ring and slice. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. I made bourbon whipped cream by beating together 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of bourbon and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Yield: 8 servings

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I came across this recipe in the August issue of Cuisine at Home and immediately added it to the following week’s dinner menu. I had a variety of cherry tomatoes from my brother in law’s garden and basil growing in my herb garden. A perfect combination!

These were extremely easy to put together and created a pretty impressive side dish. The flavor was fabulous – what’s not to love about homegrown tomatoes, goat cheese and basil? I went on and on to Brandon at dinner that these would be the perfect thing to make for dinner guests. I also think you could cut the puff pastry a bit smaller for an impressive appetizer. I served my tarts with sautéed grouper and a salad but these could easily be a meatless main course alongside a big salad.

One Year Ago: Summer Corn Dip (this stuff is so addictive! I’m making it for a party this week!)

Tomato Tarts with Goat Cheese and Basil
(Recipe source Cuisine at Home, August 2010)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (a frozen 17.3 ounce box)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 ounces herb flavored goat cheese
2 tablespoons milk
16 cherry tomatoes or varying colors (optional), halved
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Directions:

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut one puff pastry sheet into four even squares. Place squares on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut remaining sheet into eight strips about 3/4 inch wide and then cut the strips in half crosswise (to create 16 total).

Place four strips around the edge of each pastry square, overlapping the corners (see photo above). Lightly brush edges with egg mixture and bake until puffed and brown, 22-24 minutes.

Whisk together goat cheese and milk. Divide cheese mixture among centers of baked tarts, spreading with a spatula and pressing very lightly to slightly deflate the centers. Top cheese mixture with tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Return tarts to oven and bake another 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 tarts

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 10

I just finished sampling a slice of this cheesecake. I love cheesecake and I love pumpkin and this combination didn’t disappoint. Brandon’s first comment was, “I can’t believe how much it tastes like pumpkin pie.” I think what I like best about it is that it’s not too sweet. The balance of flavors is perfect and the texture is nice.

This cheesecake was published in Gourmet in November 2000. It’s received over 300 reviews and maintains a 4-fork rating. It’s definitely a winner if you’re looking for a holiday dessert. This cheesecake is a nice change from the traditional pumpkin pie. But don’t save it only for Thanksgiving, it’s a great dessert to serve throughout the fall and holiday season.

I substituted ginger snaps for the graham crackers in the crust because I love holiday cheesecakes with ginger snap crust. Also, you can omit the bourbon if you’d like but the bourbon flavor is not very strong.

If you’re a cheesecake and pumpkin lover this dessert is for you!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 1990)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
3/4 cup graham cracker or ginger snap crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

FOR THE TOPPING
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the crumbs, pecans and sugars in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and press mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of springform pan. Chill crust for 1 hour.

FOR THE FILLING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and granulated sugar for about 3 minutes. Add in cream, cornstarch, vanilla and bourbon and mix until incorporated. Add in pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into chilled crust and bake the cheesecake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the center is just set. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes (leaving the oven on).

MAKE THE TOPPING
Whisk together sour cream, sugar and bourbon in a bowl.

Spread sour cream mixture evenly over top of the cheesecake. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for at least an hour. Place in refrigerator and chill covered overnight.

Release cheesecake from pan and serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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icecreamsundaepie

Brandon had been asking for and ice cream pie. I was tempted to make my standby, cookies and cream with an Oreo crust, but decided to look around to see if anything else caught my eye. I saw this Malt Shop Ice Cream Pie on myrecipes.com and thought with a few modifications it would be a winning combination. One of Brandon’s all time favorite desserts is a chocolate malt so I knew he would love this pie.

I think what sold me on it the most was the sugar cone crust. What a fun idea! The crust didn’t really hold together well but I think if I had crushed the cones a little finer I wouldn’t have had that problem. I substituted the strawberry ice cream in the Cooking Light recipe for chocolate and made my own fudge sauce to go in between layers and on top.

I’ll definitely be making this pie again but next time I’ll add more malt powder to get a stronger malt flavor. I think this would be great to serve to dinner guests topped with a cherry!

icecreamsundaewholepie

Malted Ice Cream Sundae Pie
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons  honey
2 tablespoons  butter, melted
12 sugar cones, crushed
2 cups low-fat chocolate ice cream, softened
1/4 cup malted milk powder, divided
1/2 cup  hot fudge topping, plus more for topping
2  cups low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
Canned whipped cream

Directions:

Combine crushed sugar cones, honey and butter in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Place softened chocolate ice cream and 2 tablespoons of malted milk powder in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly into crust and spread hot fudge over the ice cream. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm.

Place softened vanilla ice cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of malted milk powder in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at hight speed until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly over first 2 layers.

Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm. Top with hot fudge and whipped cream just before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

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tomatopieslice

Tomato pie is probably one of my husband’s all-time favorite recipes. The recipe came from his church’s cookbook and it was one of his favorite dishes his mom made. Though I grew up in the South, I had never heard of tomato pie until I met Brandon. I was definitely willing to give it a shot – the combination of garden fresh tomatoes, cheddar cheese and basil baked in a pie crust sounded right up my alley. I made this for the first time when we were in college and didn’t quite perfect it on my first shot. But lots of practice over the years and my own modifications have made me a tomato pie pro.

I only make this pie during the summer when we have access to local, homegrown tomatoes. The difference in taste between grocery store and garden tomatoes is huge and tomato pie is just not the same if you don’t have fresh tomatoes and basil.

Serve this pie with a salad of mixed baby greens and you’ve got yourself a delicious summer dinner.

Tomato Pie
(Recipe adapted from Christ Church Cooks)

Ingredients:

1 double 9-inch pie crust (homemade or Pillsbury)
4-5 tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (feel free to add more if you’re a basil lover)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with one pie crust, trimming sides if necessary. Layer half of the sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with fresh basil. Spread (or dollop) half of the cheese mixture over tomatoes and basil.

Repeat another layer of tomato, basil and cheese. Place second crust over the top of the pie and prick with a fork.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Check on crust after 20-30 minutes and cover edges of crust with foil if they are getting too brown.

Yield: 6-8 servings

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cherrycobbler250

Tonight was the last night of my visit with my grandmother. Unfortunately, I have to head back to Charlotte tomorrow and rejoin the working world. I’ve definitely enjoyed my week off of work. My dad bought some great looking Bing Cherries at the Dekalb Farmers Market last weekend. He loves all things cherry so I decided to treat everyone to fresh cherry cobbler tonight.

I really love making fruit cobblers. They are a breeze to throw together and a great way to showcase summer fruits. I thought this cobbler had just the right ratio of fruit to dough (my biggest cobbler pet peeve is too much dough) and had just the right balance of tart and sweet. The topping is biscuity, which I prefer, and has just a hint of cinnamon.

If you are a cherry lover, this cobbler is a must try!

Fresh Cherry Cobbler
(Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients:

FOR THE FILLING:
5 cups Bing cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3-4 teaspoons cornstarch

FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.

Mix together cherry filling ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture is bubbling and thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently. Start with 3 teaspoons of cornstarch and add extra teaspoon if necessary. Pour filling into prepared pan.

In the meantime, mix together flour, sugars, baking powder and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine egg and milk. Stir into flour mixture until just combined.

Top cherry filling with tablespoons of dough. You should have about three rows of three dough dollops. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until topping is golden in color.

Serve with ice cream.

Yield: 6-8 servings

cherrycobblerpan

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mudpie

We had friends over for dinner Friday night and I wanted to make an easy dessert. Ice cream pie seemed like the perfect thing now that we’re having days with temperatures in the 80′s. This Mississippi Mud Pie did not disappoint. It was great! The recipe was recommended to me from Annie’s Eats.

The only change I would make next time would be to make extra crust. I didn’t have enough to go up the sides of my pie pan. I used a 9-inch pie pan. I’m reflecting that change in my recipe below. Otherwise, everything was perfect. The homemade chocolate mixture is sinfully delicious (I was definitely sampling the leftover chocolate sauce at 7 a.m. Friday morning when I was making the pie!)  and I think the toffee chips make this pie.

Mississippi Mud Pie
(Recipe source Annie’s Eats, originally from Williams-Sonoma)

Ingredients:

FOR THE COOKIE CRUST
2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE PIE
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 quart coffee ice cream, softened

Directions:

FOR THE COOKIE CRUST
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together cookie crumbs, butter and sugar until crumbs are well moistened. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Firmly pack in crumbs and work up the sides of the pan.

Bake for 5-10 minutes (depending on desired crust firmness). Note that the crust will firm up more as it cools.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
In a double boiler, combine the chocolate chips, butter, cream and corn syrup. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until chocolate is melted. If you do not have a double broiler, you can use a small metal bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Bowl should not be touching the water.

Alternatively, in a microwave proof bowl, combine the chocolate, butter, cream and corn syrup and melt in microwave in 30-second intervals at 50 percent power. Stir mixture well after each 30 second interval. Do not overcook! Chocolate can burn quickly in microwave.

Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and whisk together. Reserve 1⁄3 cup of the chocolate mixture for the top of the pie. Spread the remaining mixture evenly in the bottom of the cookie crust and sprinkle half of the toffee bits over the chocolate. Refrigerate until chilled and set, about 1 hour.

TO ASSEMBLE THE PIE
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the softened ice cream on medium speed until it is spreadable but not runny. Immediately spread in pie shell and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Reheat the reserved chocolate mixture in the microwave at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, until it is spreadable but not hot. Use a spatula to spread it over the ice cream. Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits and return the pie to the freezer until it is completely firm before serving, 3 to 4 hours.

To slice, run a knife under hot water, then dry it off. If frozen overnight, pie may need to stand at room temperature for a few minutes before it is soft enough to slice easily.ream

Yield: One 9-inch pie; 8 servings

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strawberrytartfgts

Our friends Cristen and Graham just welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world. After a couple weeks at home adjusting to the crazy life of being new parents, they were ready to get out of the house! We invited them over for a casual evening with make your own pizza. I put together some fun toppings and everyone made their own pizza. I think it was just the thing they needed to relax a bit. Baby Camille was on her best behavior and slept pretty much the whole time. We hardly heard a peep.

I wanted to make a lighter dessert that would be nice after pizza. I knew Cristen loved lemon-flavored desserts and I’d had my eye on some strawberry tart recipes for the last month or so. I decided to combine the two and it worked out perfectly.

I think my favorite part of this dessert was the crust. It was so good! It is definitely going to become my standard sweet tart dough recipe. If I made this again I would probably make an extra half batch of the lemon curd to fill the tart pan a little more. Don’t be intimidated by all of the steps. It’s really easy to put together if you make the curd and crust the night before you want to serve it.

Strawberry Lemon Tart
(Recipe source Smitten Kitchen – tart dough, Williams Sonoma – tart dough mixing method, epicurious.com – lemon curd)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TART DOUGH
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

FOR THE LEMON CURD
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

GARNISH
Fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Directions:

FOR THE TART DOUGH
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir together flour, sugar and salt in mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal (should be between the size of oatmeal flakes and peas). Add the egg and beat just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and gently pat into a ball. Lightly flatten into a disk shape. Roll our immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours.

When you’re ready to roll the dough, butter a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Roll the chilled dough on work surface to form a 12 inch round. You’ll want to free the dough from the work surface occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking. You can also use a bit of flour on your roller and work surface to help with sticking.

Turn dough into prepared tart pan. Seal any cracks that you may have. Trim your overhang to about 1/2 an inch. Fold the overhang in to create double thick sides. Pierce crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes (I froze mine overnight) before baking.

You need to bake your crust before filling. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from freezer and cover with nonstick foil, shiny side down. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an extra 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool crust on wire rack to room temperature.

FOR THE LEMON CURD:
Whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Add butter and lemon peel. Stir over medium heat until curd thickens to pudding consistency, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of curd and chill at least 2 hours.

TO ASSEMBLE THE TART
Spread curd in crust. Layer strawberries over curd.

Heat jam in a small saucepan or in a small bowl in microwave. If you microwave – BE CAREFUL! The jam gets hot VERY quickly (ask my husband about the second degree strawberry jam burn all over my hand – ouch). I recommend microwaving for 5 seconds at a time until it thins to desired consistency.

Brush jam over the top of strawberries and let glaze set in refrigerator for at least one hour or up to six hours. Release tart from pan and serve.

YIELD: 6-8 servings

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I wanted to make a dessert last weekend for the blog (and for our enjoyment on Friday night!). I needed to narrow down my options – it’s a little tough just to say “I want to make a dessert” – so I decided to focus on tarts. I bought a tart pan at Williams-Sonoma a few moths ago and hadn’t used it. I sent Brandon and a few friends an email with tart options and the overwhelming response was that I should either make a peanut butter tart or a chocolate tart. Brandon had the genius suggestion to combine the two. So off I went in search of a chocolate peanut butter tart. I found this recipe online on the cooking blog Alpineberry. It’s originally from Fine Cooking magazine.

This tart did not disappoint for my first foray into tart making. The chocolate and peanut butter flavors went together so well. If you love chocolate and peanut butter as much as I do, I highly suggest you give this one a try!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
(Recipe source Alpineberry, originally from Fine Cooking Magazine)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
1 sleeve of Oreos (with cream filling scraped out) or chocolate graham crackers
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
3 oz  bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp light corn syrup

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have an ungreased 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom ready.

Place cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, you can place the cookies in a gallon bag and use a rolling pin to crush. In a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and sugar until well blended. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Put the crumbs in the tart pan and use your hands to spread the crumbs so that they coat the bottom of the pan and start to climb the sides. Use your fingers to pinch and press some of the crumbs around the inside edge of the pan to cover the sides evenly and create a wall a scant 1/4 inch thick. Redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and press firmly to make a compact layer.

Bake the crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

FOR THE FILLING
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and salt to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, and flour until well blended. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and comes to a full boil, about 3 min. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 min. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla; whisk until well blended.

Pour the hot peanut butter mixture into the crust and spread evenly. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the filling’s surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the tart until cold, about 2 hours, before adding the chocolate glaze.

FOR THE GLAZE
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave or in a double boiler over medium heat. (If you don’t have a double broiler, place a small metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.) Add the butter and corn syrup and whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.

Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the top of the chilled filling. Drizzle the glaze over the filling and spread it evenly to cover the tart completely. Refrigerate the tart in the pan until the glaze sets, about 30  minutes or up to 12  hours.

chocpbtart

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