Pear Tart with Frangipane (Almond Paste)

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I sure did even though I spent a lof of my day in my kitchen. But then again, it makes me happy. Unlike many of you, I did not host the Thanksgiving dinner. My sister-in-law did. As the only true-born American in our family of immigrants, she always has the honor to host Thanksgiving dinner. And the rest of us, get to help her out by bringing dishes. I was in charge of appetizers and desserts.

I wanted to bring some appetizers that would be on a light side, and not too bad for you. My choices were:

  • Small tomato mozzarella
  • spinach dip with assorted crackers
  • brie en croute with fig jelly
  • quiches

And for desserts, I brought a caramel cheesecake and a pear tart. I wanted to bring a chocolate something, but one of the guest brought 2 chocolate desserts, so i decided on the two desserts mentioned above.

Today i will share the pear tart. It is really easy to make. And it is so yummy.

Ingredients for the pie crust for a 9″ round

You can buy an already pie crust in the refrigerated part of your grocery store, or you can make your own. The pie crust recipe is so much better than the store-bought. It is firmer so it will not break when you are trying to transfer the pie from the mold to a tray, and it tastes so much better than a store-bought.

  • 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 4 oz or 115 gr. of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-4 tbsp of water

Sift the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl, then add the sugar and mix well. Add the butter cut into small pieces and mix in it in the flour with your hands, rubbing your hands together. Little by little add a few drops of water and knead the dough. Roll the dough in a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes or more.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and place it on the roul’pat, and roll the dough out into a 10 inch circle. With the rolling-pin, lift the dough from the roul’pat and place it into the scalloped tart mold. With the fork, prick the pastry shell with a fork.

Ingredients for the pie:

  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of almond mill
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp of almond extract
  • 3 pears ( bosc preferably or red) peeled.
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

First you will want to poach the pears. If you  want to poach the pear the traditional way, you will need to poach the pear in a syrup of .

I did not do that, instead I used my round mold. So if you want to save time, do the same. PLace the pears in the large round mold, add 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and cover the mold with the octogonal silpat. Cook the pear in the microwave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane paste. In a bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. Then add the almond mill and the flour and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 tsp of almond extract and mix well. Spread this mixture inside the pie.

Then slice each pear in half. Scoop the seeds with a small spoon and slice the pear very thinly in tiny slices.

Place the pears on the frangipane paste as shown below.

Cook the pear tart for 30 minutes at 375 or until the pie is golden brown and fluffy.

This pie is wonderful warm, or cold.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chocolate Crumble Pie

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Yummy Tarte Tatin

Nature is quite amazing! You could have thought that Nature had turned on a switch to lower the temperature as it was cool and breezy on Sunday. Hanging out or even working outside was very pleasant. I really enjoyed my Sunday. I worked in my yard, cleaned up my flower bed and did a nice long jogging. With this fall temperature and the change of colors around, it made me feel like eating something with apple or pumpkin. I had lots of apples as well a puff pastry dough left-over from a cooking class so I decided to make a tarte tatin.

I had never made a tarte tatin before as my favorite cakes are made of chocolate, and my family is not fond of fruit desserts, but some days you have specific cravings, and Sunday was a Tarte Tatin.

Did you know that “the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles (160 km) South of Paris, in the 1880s . The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin . There are conflicting stories concerning the tart’s origin, but the most common is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. In an alternative version of the tart’s origin, Stéphanie baked a caramelized apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born. However, regardless of the veracity of this story, the concept of the “upside down tarts” was not a new one.” Wikipedia

The Tarte became a signature dish of the Hotel Tatin. Historians and gourmets have argued whether it is a genuine creation of the Demoiselles (sisters) Tatin, or the branding of an improved version of the “tarte solognotte”, a traditional dish named after the Sologne region which surrounds Lamotte-Beuvron. Research suggests that, while the tarte became a specialty of the Hotel Tatin, the sisters did not set out to create a “signature dish”. They never wrote a cookbook or published their recipe. They never even called it Tarte Tatin. That recognition was bestowed upon them by Curnonsky, the famous French author and epicure, as well as the Parisian restaurant Maxim’s after the sisters’ deaths. One of the legends has it that Louis Vaudable, the owner of Maxim’s, once tasted it and was smitten. As he described it: “I used to hunt around Lamotte-Beuvron in my youth, and had discovered in a very small hotel run by elderly ladies a marvelous dessert listed on the menu under tarte solognote. I questioned the kitchen staff about its recipe, but was sternly rebuffed. Undaunted, I got myself hired as a gardener. Three days later, I was fired when it became clear that I could hardly plant a cabbage. But this was long enough to pierce the secrets of the kitchen. I brought the recipe back, and put it on my own menu under “Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin”. Unfortunately, Mr. Vaudable was born in 1902, and the sisters retired in 1906. They died in 1911 and 1917, while Maxim’s was purchased by the Vaudable family in 1932. Wikepedia

Originally, the Tarte Tatin was made with two regional apple varieties: Reine des Reinettes (King of the Pippins), and Calville. Over the years, other varieties have tended to displace them, including Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Gala. When choosing apples for a Tarte Tatin, it is important to pick some that will hold their shape while cooking, and not melt into apple sauce. In North America, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Jonathan are excellent choices.” Wikipedia.

Tarte Tatin can also be made with pears, peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, other fruit, or vegetables, such as onion.

Ingredients for one 9-10 inch pie:

  • 4-6 apples, peeled, cored and cut in quarters
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 Phylo pastry dough ( 1 out of a pack)
  • vanilla or caramel ice-cream (optional)

In a Deutsch oven, melt the butter and the sugar until both make a light golden caramel.

Place the apples in the pan, face down starting from the outside of the pan, making your way around and into the circle. See below.

Cook the apples for 15-20 minutes at low-medium temperature or until the apples are becoming soft, and the caramel is bubbling through the apples. Turn the oven to 400. And prepare the phyllo dough. PLace the dough on the roulpat, and with a plastic knife cut a circle that will fit perfectly the top of pan.

Place the pan into the stove and cook for 20 minutes.

Let the tart cool off a bit. Then place a nice plate above the pan, and with kitchen mittens ( while careful not to burn yourself), flip the pan upside down so that the tart will fall perfectly onto the plate. Et voila!

The Tarte Tatin is best eaten warm, so let it cool off a bit before eating it but still eat it warm. I love it with caramel or vanilla ice cream. So yummy!!! It is really so easy to make. You need to try!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Poached Pear Tart with Maple Pastry Cream

Where does time go???? You must be wondering why I am not posting as many recipes theses days, but time seem to be fading away faster these days than they ever were or is it me just getting more busy? I am still cooking and making up recipes but I have to choose between sleeping or writing in my blog and I have been choosing to sleep. You will understand;-)

My son turned 15 at the beginning of the month. 15 already;-( Well this young man looks nothing like he used to at his birth at a low weight of 1lb. and 4oz. ( he was born at 24 weeks). Today he is almost 6 feet and weigh 180 lbs.

His birthday fell on a weekday so we had a party for it the following Sunday with all the uncles, aunts and cousins. He wanted to have an ice-cream cake so I  went to the closest ice-cream parlour and bought him a cake.

Of course I was not going to serve a bought  ice-cream cake to my guests. I am a much better host than that. Instead I decided to make a pear tart with a maple custard cream.

This recipe is for a  9 inch pie or for about 6 3 1/16 individual pies.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature,
  • 2 1/2 cup of sugar,
  • 2 cups of flour,
  • 1 tsp of salt. 
  • 1 cup of whole milk,
  • 3 large egg yolks,
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch,
  • 1/2 cup of whipped cream homemade,
  • 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.
  • 2/3 pears or 1 can of canned pear halves.

Ingredients for the pate sablee ( or shortbread pie dough): 2 sticks of butter at room temperature, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of salt. 

In a mixer beat the butter and the sugar until it fluffs up and becomes a pale yellow. Reduce the speed and slowly add the flour and the salt. Mix until the dough becomes crumbly. Do not overmix. With your hands, shape a ball then cover the ball with some plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 days. Turn the oven to 375. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place the dough on the large roul’pat, and with a rolling pin, roll a 11 inch circle if you want to make a large pie or cut small circles using the dough cutter of of 3 1/16. Place the dough into the large round mold or in the opening of the medium tartlet tray. Perforate the dough with a fork. Place a parchment paper over the dough. Fill the parchment paper/ pie with some dry white bean and cook the dough at 375 for 15 minutes. When it is cooked, remove it from the oven, and let it cool. When it is cooled, remove the beans and the parchment paper and set aside for later use.

While the pie is cooling prepare the maple pastry cream.

Ingredients for the maple pastry cream: 1 cup of whole milk, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3 large egg yolks, 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch, 1/2 cup of whipped cream, 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and cook the milk until it is almost boiling. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is becoming lighter in color and is becoming fluffer. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture while stirring. Place the mixture back onto the stove and cook at a medium temperature until it is becoming really really thick. Remove it from the stove.Place the mixture into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

Poached Pear:  2 to 3 pears, 1/2 cup of sugar. 

Peel the pears and slice them thinly. Place the pears on the flexipat. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sugar over the pears. Cover the pears with a medium silpat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pears are poached and tender. Let them cool.

If you do not have time, you may use canned pears. They are a great substitute.

When the pastry cream is cooled. Slowly add the whipped cream to the pastry cream. Also flavor the cream with the maple syrup. You may use 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.

To prepare the pies. Place the cream into a plastic bag and pipe the cream into the pies. Lay the pears slices over the cream superposing them. For the small tartlets you will only be able to place 3 to 4 slices. For the big pie you will place the pear slices going around the pie crust.

For added decoration I drizzled some fresh caramel over the pear tart. Making caramel is quite easy. You place 1 cup of sugar into a small saucepan and you place the saucepan onto the stove at medium high temperature. Do not mix, just be patient. The sugar will start dissolving and will start to get an amber color on the outer rim. At that point start stirring until the caramel is a light golden color. With a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the pies et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Framboisier or Raspberry Cake

Last week was my mother-in-law’s birthday and since she loves, loves, loves raspberry I thought of making her a Framboisier. I really wanted to make her a Raspberry Bavarois but since it requires several hours to set and I did not have time to bake her cake before her actual birthday I decided to make her a Framboisier out of Sable Breton and Creme Patissiere ( Pastry cream). Both require very little time to prepare, and can make succulent and wonderful looking cakes.

For the cake base, we will be making a salty shortbread dough or in French “Sable Breton”.

Ingredients for 10-12 individual tartlets, or 2 10 inches tarts:

8 oz or 225 gr. of all purpose flour, 1 pinch of sea salt, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 2/3 cup of salted butter at room temperature, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 4 large eggs lightly beaten.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until is is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating until they are well incorporated. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and with your hands kneel the dough until it is homogeneous. Mold the dough into a ball, place it inside a ziploc bag and place it in the fridge.

While the dough is “resting”, prepare the cream for the cake. We are making une creme patissiere also known as pastry cream.

Ingredients: 1 cup of whole milk, 1/2 vanilla bean, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3 large egg yolks, 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch, 1/2 of a tube of marzipan from Odense or about 3 oz of marzipan paste( can be found in most grocery store).

Pour the milk into a small saucepan. With a sharp knife, cut the bean in half in its length and with the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds out of the bean. Place the seeds and the bean into the milk and cook the milk until is is almost boiling. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is becoming lighter in color and is becoming fluffer. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture while stirring. Place the mixture back onto the stove and cook at a medium temperature until it is becoming really really thick. Remove it from the stove. Add the marzipan, mix and place the mixture into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

Turn the oven to 350. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out so that it is about 1.5 cm thick or 5/8 inch thick. Roll out two discs of about 10 inches, and place those discs into two large round mold. With a fork prick the dough and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the dough is a pale golden color.

If you are making individual cakes, you can use metal pastry rings of about 3 inches. Cut the dough with the pastry rings, lift the ring and the dough and place both onto a silpat. And cook like that for 8-10 minutes.

You may also cut the dough in circles, and place each circle into a muffin pan to cook. It will take about 8-10 minutes as well.

When the dough or the “Sable Breton” has turned to a light brown color, remove the sable from the oven and let them cool.

To assemble:

For the large, pipe the marzipan pastry cream all over the cake and place the raspberry on top of the cream. Sprinkle some powdered sugar for added decoration.

For the individuals cakes, pipe a very small amount of  pastry cream all over each cake to allow the raspberries to stick. Place the raspberry only on the outer part of the cake. Then pipe more cream in the middle inside the ring of raspberry.

For added effects, melt 1/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips into the microwave for about 60 sec. When the chocolate is melted, use a pastry brush and make streaks of chocolate onto a silpat. Let the chocolate set, and brush more chocolate on each streaks. Repeat this process at least 4 times in all. Then place the silpat into the freezer for the chocolate to set.

Once the chocolate is set, place one on each cake. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the chocolate.

Decorate the plate with some raspberry syrup, and place each cake in the center of the cake. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Tarte au Citron ( or French Lemon Tart)

My mom was a wonderful cook, she would always whip us something fantastic any days of the week. Most of the time, my sister and I would run down to the kitchen smelling what she would be cooking:-) but we always stayed afar because she did not like for us ” de rester dans ses pates” or to be in her way. She was good at everything, mostly.. .

She tried so hard to make macarons, meringues and croissants but always failed:-( they tasted great but the appearance was not always on par:-)
She would make the wonderful desserts, even though she did not like chocolate. I always found that so funny, or so weird that someone did not like chocolate. But she baked us chocolate cakes all the time any way.
Mom was more more fond of fruits. She particularly loved strawberries and lemon.

She liked simple desserts, and would be completly satisfied with just diced strawberries seasoned with  a bit of sugar and red wine vinegar;-)
On occasion she would make us une tarte citron, of French lemon pie. She never made them too often as she was the only one eating them.
Well, isn’t it funny how our taste buds change with time???
This year and more particularly this summer I have been craving lemon, lime, citrus and in any shape or form. This must show on this blog;-)

I like tarte au citron much more than tarte au citron meringuee or meringue lemon pie because this French lemon tart is more sweet and tart. It’s like eating a lemon square, just not as heavy and much  smoother.
Today I will share with you the recipe of a tarte citron.
Pie crust : if you want to make your own. You can however substitute with a regular pie crust from the storeif if you are running out of time. It will still taste good…
ingredients for the dough:
With the pie dough recipe, you will be able to make a large pie, or 12 individual ones:
1 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 4oz or 115 gr. of unsalted butter. 1 egg yolk beaten, 2 tbsp of water.
To make the pie, place the salt and the flour in a bowl. Add the butter cut up in small squares and kneel the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the eggs and stir. Add water up to 2 tbsp to make the dough stick together and you are able to make a pie. Wrap the dough and chill for at least an hour.
Take the dough back out and place it on the roulpat. Roll it out. If the dough starts sticking, roll the dough back onto the roulpat and place it back into the fridge for a few minutes.
Roll the dough out so that it is about 1/16 of an inch thick, cut out as many round as you need. You may decide to cut one big large circle or several small ones to make small pies. If you want to cut individual pies to fit the large tartlet mold, use the 3 7/16  cutter
Place the pie into the large tartlet tray, prick the base all around. Place some dry beans and cook at 400 for 12 minutes.
Let the pies cool and prepare the filling.

Filling: grated rind of 2/3 large lemons. 2/3 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of superfine sugar, 1/2 cup of cream, 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks.
In a bowl first mix the lemon juice, lemon rind and the sugar and mix. Then add the rest and mix again. Pour the mixture into the pies and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Let them cool. Sprinkle some powdered sugar when they are cold, and devour:-) yum!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Mini Lemon Tartlets

With this heat, I have very little appetite. I am easily satisfied with a few bites of whatever I am fixing. But however hungry, or not I am, I need my little dessert at the end of my meal. Sometimes it is a square of chocolate with my evening coffee and sometimes it is a dessert that I fixed. These days I crave fruits, most particularly tropical fruits and citrus.

Today I will offer you a recipe of a very very simple desserts that is very ” summery”: lemon tarts.
Ingredients for a big lemon pie of 9″, or 40 mini:
Juices of 2 lemon, 1 1/4 cup of water, zest of 2 lemon, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3 tbsp of corn starch, 2 box of pie crust ( to be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store).

  1. Cut the pie crust to fit your pie crust mold. I wanted to fix bite size lemon pies so I used my mini tartlet mold. I used the 2 1/4  Round to cut my little crust. Place them on my tray, perforate each tartlet with a fork and bake them at 400 for 8-10 or just until they are a nice golden color.
  2. While the tartlets cool off, prepare the lemon filling. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil.
  3. In another bowl, mix the 1/2 cup of water with the corn starch and mix well!!
  4. Add the lemon, lemon rind, sugar and mix.
  5. Add this mixture to the boiling water and stir. The mixture should thicken.
  6. Bring it to boil again and once it does, lower the temperature to medium low and cook for 2 minutes or until the mixture has began to thicken.
  7. Add the 2 egg yolks and mix well. Set it aside.

8. Whip some heavy cream into a whipped cream and empty the mixture in a separate pastry bag.

9. Pipe first the lemon in each tartlet and then pipe the whipped cream. And grate some lemon zest for added color. Et voila!!!! Very satisfying dessert!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!