Results tagged tart from David Lebovitz

The Malakoff

malakoff

I know the Swiss are famous for their discretion and secrecy, but this is getting ridiculous. When I first saw Malakoff on a menu, I thought it was for Charlotte Malakoff, a classic (and hardly made-anymore) French dessert which is a round of chocolate mousse held together by ladyfingers.

malakoff

When I saw it on several menus in Switzerland, I thought it odd that it was a first course. I mean…I know the Swiss love their chocolate, but even for me a chocolate mousse cake before dinner isn’t considered normal.

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Swiss Chard Tart (Tourte de blettes)

tourte de blettes

When I was in Nice a few months ago with my friends Adam and Matt, I wanted to show them some of the more unusual local specialties, ones you wouldn’t come across unless you were actually in a certain region. French cooking is very regional, which is why you won’t find bouillabaisse in Paris or all that many macarons in Nice. And a lot of people visiting a certain town or city might not be familiar with some of the more unusual things that are only available there, like Socca or Panisses, simply because no one would think about eating them outside of the area where they originated.

swiss chard pine nuts

In case you’re wondering, you can’t make a Tourte de blettes without Swiss chard (blettes). For one thing, if you did, then it wouldn’t be Swiss chard tart. So get that notion out of your head right now. And believe me, if you can’t find chard, I feel your pain. One fine morning at the market, I bought my big, beautiful bunch of chard from a big pile at the market to make this tart.

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French Tomato Tart

kate's tart

This week I saw the first promise of tomato season. A few brightly colored cherry specimens were brought home from the local market, as well as the more standard varieties. I was down in Gascony visiting my friend Kate Hill, and her photographer friend Tim Clinch was there preparing to lead a photography workshop. Looking for something tempting and colorful, tomatoes seemed the obvious choice as willing subjects.

cherry tomatoes erika

In addition to the profusion of flowers plucked from the lush garden by the canal du Midi, the tomatoes had their moment in front of the camera. But once the participants stopped clicking, we grabbed them and put them where they rightfully belong: In the kitchen.

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Improved Lemon Curd

Did you know that there is no such a thing as a Meyer lemon anymore? Well, at least not as we know them. Officially, they haven’t existed for about fifty years, when a virus attacked the Meyer lemon trees and they were banned in the United States.

juicer

Then in 1975, a new, “Improved” Meyer lemon tree was released that was virus-free, and people began planting them in backyards in America. And in Paris apartments, too. (More on that, later…)

squeezing lemons butter

Some think that the now-extinct Meyer lemons, and the new, Improved Meyer lemons, are a hybrid between oranges and lemons. But I’ve been told by my produce guru that no one is certain as to what the heck they are, exactly.

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French Pear & Almond Tart Recipe

french pear tart with cherries

I’ve been living in France for almost eight years and in all that time, I’ve yet to make even one of these classic French pear tarts. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a bakery that didn’t have wedges of this tart in little paper footings, ready to take out and be consumed right away. So I guess because I could always buy one, why make it? But since I had a kilo of almond paste that I bought for another project, a batch of poached pears on hand, and an unbaked tart shell waiting it’s turn in my freezer, I decided to give one a go.

This is a wonderful tart: pears fanned out in a golden-brown, buttery pastry shell that’s been spread with almond cream, then baked. And after I pulled this one out of the oven, I realized why it’s important to make this yourself; because it tastes amazing when still-warm from the oven, and you can use your own poached pears so you can vary the spices to your taste. (However you can use canned pear halves, which many of the French pastry shops do.)

Aside from the almond paste, I also had a jar of quick-candied sour cherries on hand from another baking project (if it seems like I have a lot of baking odds and ends on hand, welcome to my world…), so I used them as well, which is something I haven’t seen in any French bakery. I’m thinking of suggesting they use them on my next visit.

poached pears peartartb&w

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Herbed Ricotta Tart

ricotta tart

I don’t think I’ve ever made a savory tart, until now, which marks the mid-point in my life. And after this one, I’m wondering-what took me so long? I also sometimes lie awake at night and wonder if this really is the mid-point in my life. But that’s a whole nother post because it has nothing to do with baking. (Although that hasn’t stopped me before…)

Neuroses aside, this tart may look fancy, but it’s one of the simplest thing to make that you could imagine. True, it does require a bit of chopping and cooking, but there’s no mountains of long-cooked onions like pissaladière, it doesn’t call for an artery-busting even-handed pour of cream, and it’s wonderful served warm or at room temperature. And it’s even better the next day, when the top gets crusty-brown during reheating. What’s not to like?

sauteed bunch of allium

I made this tart on the spur of the moment after leafing through the excellent book, Local Flavors by Deborah Madison, which explores all of the magnificent produce from the diverse greenmarkets and small-scale farms spread out across America.

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Lime Meringue Tart Recipe

lime meringue tart

I once asked a restaurateur, who owns restaurants in European and in America, what he thought was the main difference between the food in American and the food in Europe.

“Everything’s very sweet,” he replied, right away.

I thought about it for a moment, and considering everyone’s got their panties in a knot about all the sweeteners that are dumped into everything from tomato sauce, bottled salad dressings, to supermarket bread, he’s got a point. A lot of stuff that doesn’t need to be sweetened, is. But one thing that we Americans do like is tart citrus desserts. The tangier, the more mouth-puckering, the better.

golden limes

Backing up his claim, though, we do tend to pile ours up to the moon with whipped cream or sweet meringue. So he does have a point.

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Tarte au citron: Lemon Tart Recipe

lemon tart 1

I’m happy to say that I finally got rid of the two eggs yolks in my freezer. They were packed together in plastic, then again in foil…and of course, quickly forgotten as over the course of the next few months, got pushed further and further back into the morass that is otherwise know as mon congélateur.

The other morning I woke up, and when I went to get an ice cube for my orange juice (one of my perks–I absolutely have to have an ice cube in my morning jus d’orange), everything came tumbling out. Long-forgotten flax seeds from a batch of seriously-healthy scones I’d planned to make, to six 2-cup containers of egg whites, plus a mysterious little foil-wrapped packet whose name had been scraped off after months of being away by jagged crystals of frost. It was like watching the last six months of baking projects crossing in front of my eyes, with a few things landing near my feet.

tart shell

So there I was, at 7:04 am, defrosting my freezer in my jammies, reliving my not-so-distant past, taking everything out, and scraping out massive amounts of ice for the next hour or so.

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