Onion Tart with Goat Cheese Custard

Red Onion Tart- A Stack of Dishes

If you’ve been following along with this instagram account, or perhaps that instagram account, you will know that I’ve been working on this Onion Tart. It’s been a complete labor of love as not only is this the prettiest thing, but it’s also so remarkably yummy.

You may or may not be a fan of onions. In fact I know a few of you out there that downright don’t like them one bit. To my mind, once roasted and brought to toasty sweet deliciousness, there is nothing like them. Plus, don’t you just love the smell of onions cooking in the kitchen?? I mean really.

Roasted Onions for Onion Tart-A Stack of Dishes

But I have to be honest.

I had to work this one. [Read more…]

Rustic Free Form Asparagus Tart

Free Form Asparagus Tart - A Stack of Dishes

This is a first for me. With all my years of baking and cooking I’ve never made a free form tart, sweet or savoy. The beauty of it is that this rustic free formed asparagus tart was not entirely planned. It was more of a- well I’ve got this, and I’ve got that, and I don’t have the other thing…

You see, last night I had a few friends over. All relatively new friends, and a couple that I had yet to meet who are new to the neighborhood like myself. Now that I am settled into my new place I have the where-with-all to do some entertaining- which, as you know, is my absolute favorite thing to do. However, my place is small, and not all my baking bits and bobs made it into the tiny, albeit genius, storage system I have here. Alas dear Alice, there is only so much space in this Wonderland.

I also have a superbly ridiculous stove in this new place. A mere 24″ wide, which offers great challenges to my pot and pan array. Not everything fits!  On top of that, the inside does not have rack ridges for the entire height of the oven space, especially in the middle. What that translates to is that the things I am baking are either too low in the oven, or too high.

So far this has lead to a few too many burnt bottoms. Can you imagine? A professional baker for nearly 25 years and I am burning things now?

I do not lament however, it’s part of the learning curve- I WILL make this work. Nothing, my friends, is ever perfect. Nothing ever, so why fight it?

So back to tart making. For my guests I planned this long tart, but at this moment I have only the one pan.

Asparagus Dill Tart - A Stack of Dishes

I had some leftover filling, a bunch of pastry dough, and just a few asparagus spears, and some of the trimmed ends. I also had a bit of goat cheese left over in the fridge that I felt I should use up too. So this is what happened- No pan=free form tart on parchment paper. No available cookie sheet that fits the oven so I used the broiling pan top piece.

Free form asparagus tart-A Stack of Dishes

This all went very well, but as you can see from the dark paper, I placed it on the bottom rack of the oven first. That paper got toasty pretty fast, which cast off a bit of smoke. The result was the piercing scream of my smoke detector.

Who was it that said it’s not party unless the smoke alarm goes off? Somebody? Anybody? Ha! well, it made me laugh (and flap wildly at the smoke detector to get the damn thing to simmer down). 

In the end, even when things don’t go exactly as planned- with good food and good people, it’s always a success.

Don’t you agree?

Free Form Asparagus Tart

(or traditional tart pan too)

makes two

 

1 recipe of pastry dough

2 cups whole milk ricotta

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch asparagus

1/4 cup minced dill weed

2 oz goat cheese

drizzle of olive oil

 

Prepare the dough, roll it out and either press into a tart pan and trim, or lay flat on a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl combine the ricotta, eggs, milk, garlic and some salt and pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine. Fill tart pan with ricotta mix, alternatively spread filling in center of free form tart, covering 2/3 of the circle. For the long tart I simply place the asparagus on top and sprinkled with dill. For the free form tart I chopped the asparagus ends (not the dried out part) and tossed them on top along with the dill.

Then I coated the long spears with a little olive oil added them on top. Then I simply folded up the sides of the dough. My dough was soft and very breakable, so I just tucked and patched where I needed to. All part of the charm. In the end I pulled up the heads of the asparagus so that they stuck out from under the dough. A sprinkling of goat cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil on top and into the oven it went.

Depending on the pan and the thickness of the filling, baking time should take about 35 minutes. I keep an eye on mine since this oven seems to have a mind of it’s own- and with the free form tart, after I nearly burned down the house I moved it up to the higher rack. Baking as an art- not a science. Hoo yah!

Serve warm-preferable amongst friends.

Coconut Chocolate Tart

fronttart

This different coconut tart recipe has an interesting texture from a dense layer of chocolate truffle on the bottom, light coconut cream in the middle and crunchy toasted coconut on top. It’s a creation that I had originally come up with for a luncheon I was attending. I fine tuned it for the week’s holiday meal with my family, and it’s a perfect addition to your Easter Dinner table.

Thanks to my Aunt Josephine, who was the inspiration for my starting this blog, I have a wonderfully diverse family. Her second husband Ed, had three children of his own, and along with them came their Jewish heritage and traditions. None of us are particularly religious, but we certainly have made the most of the holidays. Really it’s any excuse to gather around long tables, and indulge in delicious foods.

We celebrated this year at the home of my Cousin Patty and her intended Jay. Last year we celebrated “East-over” since the two holidays were right on top of each other. This year it was “Pre-Passover” since we gathered on Sunday, the day before the official start of passover. So you can see that we don’t hold too closely to the the rules. However, it should be shared that we did all read through the Seder stories, dipped parsley into salted water, ate our share of charoset and hid the afikomen. All the “kids” are well into legal adulthood, but the chase to find the hidden matzoh caused quite the ruckus.  The whole day was filled with love and laugher and ease and family, for which I feel blessed.

Both sides of my family are chock full of foodies, both professionally and non, which makes these get togethers tremendous fun and ridiculously delicious. For instance, my “soon to be official” Cousin Scott, is presently working on a new restaurant in Hudson, NY called Fish & Game, which is opening in a few weeks. The restaurant is focused on locally sourced ingredients, and the menu incorporates a nose-to-tail approach to the animals procured. Listening to him talk about the build out of the kitchen and the research involved in finding local, organic and biodynamic wines, is what keeps us perched at the dinner table. I can tell you it all sounds (and looks) incredible. {I promise you that once they are open I’ll be taken a drive up there to dine- then I’ll be back to tell you about it.}

As an ex-baker it’s not surprising that I choose to make dessert for my contribution, but I rarely opt for a layer cake. I mean, after cracking about a gazillion eggs in my life it’s far more appealing to turn flour, butter and sugar into other sweet treats- hence this tart.

When I started to think about this dessert my criteria was to have something somewhat decadent, but not too over the top- because believe it or not, summer IS coming and the time has come to shed one’s, shall we say… winter coat(ing). Nonetheless, I wanted something tasty, not leavened, pretty and different.

The tart gets most of it’s sweetness from the crust and the chocolate. The filling and coconut topping are much lower in sugar which is a very interesting taste sensation when you eat it. So many things happen in your mouth. Gritty graham cracker crust, dense sweet chocolate, delicate soft coconut cream with a slight crunch of aromatic coconut at the end.

To be honest it’s a little time consuming to make since it’s made in stages- but there is no great pastry skill involved here- so plan ahead and give it a whirl.

coconut tart, chocolate coconut tart, light coconut tart, easter dessert

Chocolate Coconut Tart

Each layer of this tart is prepared in stages. The total time is about 2 hours. If you prefer you can make the crust and chocolate layer ahead of time and finish the cream filling later.

makes one 9″ tart that serves 8-10, or 4 4″ tartlets

12 sheets graham crackers

.75cup of sugar

6 T melted butter

pinch of salt

8oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

.75c heavy cream

2c lite coconut milk, unsweetened (not cream)about a can and a half

3T sugar

1.5 T unflavored gelatin

6 T cool water

1c shredded, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350˚ 

In a food processor, pulse the crackers to a rough crumb, add the sugar, butter and salt and process to a damp sandy mixture.

Spoon the mixture into your preferred tart pans and press firmly and evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until browned. Remove and set aside.

While the shell is baking prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the chopped chocolate into a medium sized bowl. Warm the cream until it’s hot but not boiling- microwave is fine- about 45 seconds.

Combine the cream with the chocolate and stir smooth. This is thinner than a traditional ganache so that it won’t be too stiff in the chilled tart.

When the shell is cooled, pour the chocolate into the bottom and spread evenly. Important* place the chocolate laced shell into the freezer and chill well. About 15 minutes, the colder the better.

To prepare the coconut filling, reserve .5 cup of coconut milk in a heatproof bowl. In a separate small bowl combine the water and the gelatin and combine well. Let the gel sit for 3 minutes to bloom. Meanwhile warm the remaining coconut milk and stir in the sugar until dissolved. 

Scoop the gelatin into the reserved coconut milk and warm until the gelatin is melted but not boiling. Then stir into the warm milk/sugar mixture.

Carefully pour the milky mixture into the tart shell. It will be very soupy and may soak the crust. Don’t worry about that, it will be fine, I promise.

Carefully place into the fridge until the filling is set, about an hour, maybe more, depending on how cool your fridge is.

To finish, toast the coconut in a dry skillet, then spoon over the tart.

Keep the tart cold until ready to serve.