Free-Form Nectarine and Almond Tart (served with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Salted Caramel Sauce)

by Jennifer

I’d wanted to make a nectarine tart for a while, and had some ground almonds in my freezer to use up, and then found a salted caramel sauce recipe on, and this dessert all came together.

  • pie dough for a single pie crust, homemade or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 4 – 5 ripe nectarines, sliced (I used both yellow and white nectarines)
  • 1/4 cup, packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla frozen yogurt
  • Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (or storebought)
  • Toasted sliced almonds for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough to a rough 13” – 14” circle, then transfer it to the parchment paper.

Spread ground almonds on top, leaving an inch or so margin.

Toss nectarines with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt.

Arrange nectarines on top of ground almonds,

then fold up crust.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden.  To serve, top each slice with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt, a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of sliced almonds.

Rustic Apple-Walnut Tart

by Jennifer

The apple filling for this tart is from Sam Sifton’s apple pie recipe in a February 2012 issue of the NY Times magazine.  You can make the filling earlier in the day and refrigerate, after it cools, until you’re ready to make the tart.  We topped our tart with Caramel Sea Salt gelato from The Gelato Fiasco, Inc., in Maine.

  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar plus 1 TBS
  • 2 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 TBS cider vinegar
  • pie dough for a single crust pie (I used the whole wheat version of the Fool-Proof Pie Dough)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, finely ground (use a food processor, just avoid over-processing and making walnut butter)
  • 1 TBS milk
  • ice cream or freshly whipped cream

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add apples and stir to coat with butter.

Whisk together allspice, cinnamon, salt and 2/3 cup sugar;

add to the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle flour and cornstarch over apples and cook, stirring occasionally, another 3 – 5 minutes, until the apples are tender but not mushy.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar.  Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough into a rough 14” circle (I seem completely unable to roll out pie dough into a perfect circle).  Transfer dough to the baking pan.

Sprinkle the ground walnuts on top of the pie dough, leaving about a 2” border.

Pour apple filling over the walnuts.

Fold the border up in an overlapping pattern over the filling.  Brush top of dough with milk and sprinkle with remaining TBS of sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.  Serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Very Full Tart with Caramelized Fennel Salad

by Jennifer

The Very Full Tart comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty, and it’s absolutely delicious.  The original recipe called for 7 cherry tomatoes, halved, added to the tart when you add the cheese, which I did not do.  One thing:  my prebaked pie crust shrunk considerably (not enough overhang?), and of course the egg/cream filling spilled over the crust and surrounded it.  The result – no longer a crisp tart crust, but still fantastic!  (Seen here served with Challah.)

Serves 6.

Very Full Tart

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 7 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into 2” pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 11 oz. pie crust dough (I used the Fool-Proof pie dough recipe, which I made the day before)
  • Fresh thyme leaves from 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with one rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the center.  Carefully remove the stem of each pepper, reaching in and cleaning out the seeds and membranes (shake them over the sink, or rinse them out and shake dry).

Place peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with about 1 TBS olive oil, and place on the top rack in the oven.

In a bowl, toss the eggplant with 4 TBS oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the center rack;  roast for 12 minutes.

To the eggplant add the sweet potato, stir gently, and roast for another 12 minutes.

Check the peppers;  if the top side is blackened, use tongs to turn them over.

Add the zucchini to the sweet potato and eggplant pan, stir gently, and roast for another 10 – 12 minutes.  Remove all vegetables from the oven, cover the pepper dish with foil to let them steam, and lower the oven to 325 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 TBS oil in a 10” – 12” saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and bay leaves and saute, stirring frequently,

until brown and tender, about 20 minutes.  Set aside, discarding bay leaves.  When the peppers are cool, peel and roughly chop them.

Combine all of the roasted vegetables in a bowl.

Coat a 9” – 10” tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.  Roll out pie dough to about 1/8” thick and transfer to the tart pan, pressing gently into the corners and letting some overhang.

Line the dough with a circle of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake the crust at 325 degrees for 30 minutes;  carefully remove pie weights and parchment paper and bake the crust for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.  (I baked the crust a few hours ahead and let it sit at room temperature.)

Scatter the onions over the tart crust,

then top with the roasted vegetables, sprinkling half the thyme leaves over everything.

Drop teaspoons of ricotta cheese over the vegetables, and scatter the feta cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper to taste;  pour this mixture over the vegetables, sprinkling the remaining thyme leaves on top.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before removing tart from the pan and serving.

Caramelized Fennel Salad – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 3 bulbs fennel, halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. salad greens
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl toss together the fennel through pepper.

Spread fennel mixture over a large rimmed baking sheet (on parchment for easier clean up) and bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool (you can make the fennel up to a day in advance;  let it come to room temperature before serving).  Toss caramelized fennel with the salad greens and vinaigrette;  serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients;  you can make the vinaigrette in advance and refrigerate — let it come to room temperature before using.

Caramelized Garlic Tart, Simple Arugula Salad

by Jennifer

This tart, adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty,  was absolutely amazing, despite the cracks in the crust which caused the filling to leak out.  It says it serves 8;  I won’t confess how many it served tonight!  We served it with Challah;  feel free to substitute your favorite bread.

Caramelized Garlic Tart 

  • 1 lb. puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 medium – large heads of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • salt
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 4 oz. hard goat cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 1/2 TBS creme fraiche
  • 6 1/2 TBS heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper

Use a 10” or 11” tart pan, ideally with a removable bottom.  Roll out the puff pastry and transfer it to the pan, gently pressing down to cover the bottom and sides.  Trim so that only a little hangs over the edge.

Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pastry and cover with something heavy – pie weights, dried beans, or in my case, glass marbles!  Place the pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes;  meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake pastry (good idea to put pan on a rimmed baking sheet at this point, just in case!), with the weights, for 20 minutes,

then remove the weights and parchment and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden.

While the pastry is baking, place garlic cloves in a 10” skillet, cover with water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the cloves for 3 minutes;  drain.

Return cloves to the pan and add 1 TBS oil;  cook on high heat for 2 minutes, stirring.

Add 1 cup water and the balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add sugar, herbs and 1/4 tsp salt and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated and

what’s left is just the garlic cloves and a dark caramel syrup.

Scatter the garlic cloves and syrup over the baked pastry.  Break the cheeses into pieces and distribute them over the garlic and pastry.

Whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, heavy cream, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.

Pour over the garlic and cheeses, making sure they poke out of the filling.  Return pan to oven, reducing oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the filling is set.  Remove from the oven, decorate with fresh thyme sprigs if you have them, and serve warm.

Simple Arugula Salad

  • 5 oz. arugula
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 1 TBS champagne or white wine vinegar

Toss arugula and olive oil in a serving bowl.  Add sea salt and toss well.  Add vinegar, toss, and serve.