Showing posts with label tart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tart. Show all posts

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rhubarb Syrup

This bright pink rhubarb syrup is great in cocktail, drizzled over ice cream and pound cake or even spooned over crepes. 

Rhubarb syrup is easy to make and it goes down even easier in a cocktail. Best of all, when refrigerated, it preserves the beauty and flavor of rhubarb much longer than the cut stalks could stay fresh.

Ingredients to yield about 2/3 cup or 155ml of syrup (This recipe can be easily doubled.)
2 cups, loosely packed, or 230g chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/2 cup or 120ml water
Pinch salt

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly.

Set a fine-meshed strainer or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large measuring cup.

Pour the rhubarb into the strainer and allow the syrup to drip down into the bowl.

You can press the solids with a rubber spatula to squeeze more liquid out or just leave it some place cool for an hour or two to make sure it has dripped completely.

Decant your syrup into a clean bottle and store it in the refrigerator.

I fold the leftover rhubarb solids through some whipped cream, adding raspberries for more color and a drizzle of the syrup for a lovely rhubarb raspberry fool. You can also spread it on toast.

The syrup has many uses but my favorite is a rhubarb fool cocktail with a drizzle of cream and orange zest.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart

This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer. 

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.
Sure, you could slow cook whole shallots until they are caramelized and sweet, add wine and anchovies for extra flavor and just eat them with a spoon, but why not bake them, topped with puff pastry tarte tartin style and make a meal of them?

Let the shallots shine
Technically speaking, the anchovies make this non-vegetarian so if you want to leave them out and add in a little salt, feel free. My goal was not to have a meat-free meal but to showcase the wonderful French shallots I can afford here from time to time. What I mean is, they are almost always available but sometimes the cost is so crazy that I can’t possibly justify it. But summer is shallot-harvesting season in France so the prices have dropped to a more reasonable level, even in Dubai. In fact, a 250g (almost 9 oz) bag of these beauties were on sale at my local supermarket for just a little more than one dollar last week. How could I not take advantage?

If you’ve never had the opportunity to cook with proper French shallots, do seek them out. Their flavor is robust, some might even say strong, but they are less sharp than their fellow alliums, like onions and garlic. They are beautifully sweet when caramelized and divine chopped finely in a vinaigrette dressing. I fell in love with them when we lived in Paris, along with skinny little green beans, stinky cheese, bargain-basement Côtes du Rhône and, especially, a certain little blue-eyed blond we named Cecilie. Oh, yes, Paris was good to us.

No shallots on hand?
Can you make this tart with normal onions? Of course, you can. I substitute them all the time when a recipe calls for shallots, but just cut the onions up into wedges and keep an eye on them as they caramelize. You don’t want them to burn.

I served this beautiful savory tart with a big casserole dish of baked zucchini topped with spicy tomatoes and crumbled feta. I’ll share that recipe on Sunday when our Sunday Supper group brings you fresh whole food recipes for the theme we are calling “unprocessed.” If you are trying to eliminate multisyllabic ingredients that sound like chemicals from your daily diet, you’ll want to check back this weekend.

Meanwhile, if you just caramelize the shallots and eat them with a spoon, you’ll get no judgment from me. Carry on.

1 lb 10 oz or 750g shallots
Olive oil
1/2 cup or 120ml wine – red or white as long as it’s dry
5 or 6 anchovy fillets
Black pepper
8 oz or 230g ready made butter puff pastry

Optional to serve: crème fraîche or sour cream

Peel each shallot from the top.

Now, gently whittle off the roots with a sharp knife to keep the shallot whole.

In an ovenproof pan, drizzle a little olive oil and a little water and add the peeled, whole shallots. You want them to fit fairly snuggly because they will shrink a bit as they soften.

Slow cook them over a low flame with tight-fitting lid on for about an hour. Check on them every once in a while and add a few drops more water, if necessary. Shake the pan or push the shallots gently around to make sure they aren’t sticking but don’t break them apart. We want them to soften and caramelize, never burn.

After an hour or more of simmering, add your five or six anchovies, broken up into pieces and then the wine.

Add a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Turn the fire up just a little bit and cook the shallots with lid off until the pan is almost dry.

Turn the oven on to preheat to 400°F or 200°C and take the pan off the stove.  Allow the shallots to cool for about 15 minutes while your oven preheats.

Unroll your puff pastry and cover pan with it.

Tuck the edges under all the way around the shallots.

Cut a few holes in the pastry to let the steam out.

Bake in your preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then invert on serving dish.

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.

Serve each slice with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream, if desired. Although the cream is rich, somehow it complements the silky sweet shallots. I’m not even going to tell you because I’m sure you already know, but pour yourself a glass of wine as well.

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rough Puff Tomato and Olive Tart

Hands up, who has been to Paris?  Who’d like to go?  And what is one of the number one destination for tourists in Paris.  The Louvre, of course.  Well, guess what?  I saw some treasures from the Louvre today.  In Abu Dhabi.  Yes, that’s right.   Right here in the Sandpit.  Apparently, a new Louvre is being built, and it is scheduled to open in 2015.  The plans look fabulous and there is already a small museum to introduce the bigger one to come, full of painted treasures by the likes of Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Magritte, Mondrian and Twombly, as well as sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, tapestry and even a fascinating mobile by Alexander Calder.  Appropriate to the educational mission of the Louvre Abu Dhabi - bridging and connecting cultures - two ancient religious texts, the Koran and the Pentateuch, sit side by side in one protective glass case.  Entrance to the current exhibit - Birth of a Museum - is free, along with the narrated audio guide.  Now I can’t wait for the whole Louvre Abu Dhabi to open.  It’s going to be a beautiful place filled with beautiful things.

And now you know why I am late in posting this recipe.   Let us tarry no longer.  We have tart to bake!

1 rectangle rough puff pastry dough from this recipe
7 oz or 200g large grape or tiny Roma tomatoes
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
4 1/2 oz or 125g (drained) fresh mozzarella
3 1/2 oz or 100g feta
15 whole black olives
2 eggs lightly beaten
Sprinkle cayenne – optional

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Roll out your chilled rough puff pastry, with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.

Laying your tart pan on top, cut a circle out of the dough with a sharp knife.

Transfer the circle of dough to the tart pan.

Fold the top under to neaten the edge.

Use a fork to dock the bottom and sides of the dough.

Pop this back in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

(Stack the leftover dough and wrap in cling film and freeze for later use. Don’t make it into a ball or you will lose your layers.)

Thinly slice your garlic, chop your green onions and crumble your feta cheese.

Pit your black olives and halve them and then halve the little tomatoes.   In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

Okay, now, in a larger mixing bowl, add in your tomatoes, olives, green onions, garlic and the beaten eggs.  Stir to mix.

Fold in the feta.

Pour the mixture into your tart pan.

 I like to straighten out the tomatoes and olives and make the rounded sides face up, because I think it’s prettier that way, but if you don’t care, skip this step.  The flavor will be just as lovely.  Probably.

Now slice the fresh mozzarella into little pieces and poke them in and around the tomatoes and olives.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if desired.

If your tart pan has a removable bottom, you’ll want to put it on top of another pan before putting it in the oven.  This will make it easier to remove from the oven when hot.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely golden and the cheese on top is too.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the tart pan.  Slice into pieces.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rhubarb Nectarine Puff Pastry Tarts

Many years ago, we lived just south of Paris and were blessed with a large garden, most unusual, even in our neighborhood, because of the way our city block was shaped.  The front garden was wide, about 40 feet across, narrowing down by almost 20 feet by the time you got behind the house to the backyard, a large pie-piece shaped garden with the tip cut off.   In the front, we had all the hazelnuts we could eat, courtesy of the left side neighbor, Madame Coucou, so named by us because she would call to me from her porch, “Cou cou!”  In the back, we had a fabulous sweet cherry tree that produced more cherries than we could possibly use, no matter that we ate them steadily and made jam and pies and cherry bounce.   We gave them away to friends and neighbors.  What I didn’t know until our last year there, was that we also had rhubarb in the front yard.  My in-laws came to visit and pointed it out, all hidden under a large bush, so low to the ground.   How could we have missed it!  Rhubarb is one of our favorite things.  My excitement at the discovery was tinged with sadness for the years of missed crops.

Now every summer we eagerly await rhubarb season, when a few choice stalks can be purchased and pie can be baked.  Often it is apple and rhubarb, but occasionally sweet yellow nectarines also make their irresistible appearance.   Summer means a hot kitchen so cooking the fruit on the stove and quick baking puff pastry lets me crank the oven up and then turn it off rather than baking a whole fruit pie for an hour or more.  You could do this with any seasonal fruit.

3 stalks rhubarb
2 ripe nectarines
3-4 tablespoons vanilla sugar or normal sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Good pinch salt
2 sheets puff pastry (about 8in x 8in or 20cm x 20cm)
1/2 cup or 120ml whipping cream

Preheat to 400°F or 200°C.  Fold your sheets of puff pastry in half and then in half again.

Cut around the square with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to create a circle – or, honestly, leave it square if you want.  I just think the circles are prettier.  But do trim the edges off all around.  Freshly cut puff pastry puffs up way more successfully.

Use a large round cookie cutter to score a circle in the middle of the puff pastry.  Do not cut all the way through.

Dock the middle of the circles with the tines of a fork.   Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden all over.  Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb into chunks.

Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits.  Cut in chunks.

Put the fruit in a small pot with the 3 tablespoons sugar and salt.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is completely softened and the nectarines are cooked.  Taste and add the extra sugar if necessary.  Set aside to cool.

When the puff pastry is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut around the scored circle with a sharp pointy knife and then gently press it down, creating a hole for the fruit.  Set aside.

When you are ready to serve, whip the cream and fill the pastry shells with fruit and then top with whipped cream.