Skip to main content


Stone Fruit Galette

Stone Fruit Galette

I sort of took last week off from blogging, writing, commenting, etc… It does not mean I took the week off from cooking or shooting but I had to focus on prepping the coming months. We celebrated a friend’s birthday, enjoyed the fireworks for the 4th of July while I already started shooting Fall and Thanksgiving features for a couple of magazines.

I thought shooting pumpkin pies and plump turkeys would make me crave the cooler weather of Fall but nope…did not happen. At the hand of a day spent in the heat of a covered porch or a well lit studio, all I wanted was to dive in some ice cream, grill a little and just put my feet up while sipping a gin & tonic.

Stone Fruit Love

I also made a commitment to be gentle of myself last week. A way to protect my time with friends and family before the chaos of the next few months. When I going over my schedule with my mother-in-law, she exclaimed in the sweetest Southern drawl "Da’lin…you made my head spin. Let me fix you some iced tea". Iced tea fixes everything. I am about 95% convinced of this by now.

Starting this week, it will be a few months of "crayzeeeee" until the Christmas holidays. Kicking things off when I head out to Alabama today for a real tasty two day shoot. Then it’s Scotland and Ireland, Washington D.C, Seattle, Canada, New Hampshire, more Canada and home for more shoots. There is time enough in between two planes for an anniversary, his birthday, a load of laundry and a few good meals with friends.

Stone Fruit Galette

A good mix of workshops and photo shoots. I was asked to submit a couple of bids for photography on cookbooks (which got accepted) and while I must wait a little longer to give you all the deeds on them, I am very grateful for the opportunities they provide. One takes me out of the country while the other lets me create a team with stylist and assistants I am friends with but also trust with my eyes closed. And the fun part? I won’t have to pay them in lollipops! All legit!! Ahahah!! Feels stupendous to be able to spread the love and create a team that inspires you and has the same need to create.

If only I did not have to have to crunch numbers, prepare bids and tally invoices. Always feel like it’s taking me away from creating, heading in the kitchen on a whim and just unplug and bake and write and blog. It’s a balancing act I am still trying to figure out. Everything I have done so far was to lead me to what I am doing now so it’s my responsibility to find the balance, the happy medium.


And thank goodness for pies! Galettes, tarts, tartelettes… you name it. Where there is a crust and a filling, there is me, generally baking one or trailing not too far behind a piping hot generously filled pie.

They bring balance into my life. Or more precisely, the act of making a galette or tart forces me to stop. The action of rubbing flour and butter together gives me those five crucial minutes I needed to just take a moment. Rolling pie crust is incredibly good for stress relief. The moment you take a pie out of the oven. That wonderful "ahhhh…" that follows a sigh. Happy sigh.


Then comes the wait. The ever so long twenty minutes to let that wonderful pie cool so you can go right ahead, grab a fork and dig in. If it’s for dinner with friends, it’s even harder to wait. But the rewards are well worth it. The smiles on other people’s face as you hand out a slice of pie. As long as I have served pies, I haven’t seen any furrowed brows yet…

Right in the middle of Summer, it would be criminal not to fill such a galette with all the stone fruits well abundant around at the market. Apricot, velvet apricots, peaches, cherries, nectarines, etc… Stupendously delicious. My new favorite word combination.

Baking With Stone Fruits

I love the simplicity of free formed galettes once in a while. It’s relaxing not to have walls and edges, trims and pie shells. Make dough, roll a rectangle, a square or a circle and fill. Pull the edges together and bake. Then dig in.

I am leaving some of that stone fruit galette in the fridge as I head out of town but you can be sure I am fixing myself a little slice for the plane ride. Or breakfast. It’s all about finding balance.

I hope the months ahead provide you with the same feelings of exhilaration, accomplishment, necessary adrenaline rush and relaxation. Hopefully with pie…

Stone Fruit Galette

All pictures © Helene Dujardin Photography.

Stone Fruit Galette:

Serves 6 to 8

2 peaches, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 apricots, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 velvet apricots (or 2 large plums), skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Saturn peaches, skinned, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup cherries, pitted and halved
juice and zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Your favorite pie crust. Or this one which I love.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, toss all the prepared fruits with the lemon zest, juice and the honey. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
On a silpat or piece of parchment paper, roll the dough into a 10×15 rectangle (approximate). spoon the fruits right in the center, leaving about a 2-inch border on all edges. Fold the edges of the two short edges over the fruit, do the same for the long edges as if you were closing up a package but not quite closed all the way in the middle.
Brush the milk over the crust with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Heirloom Tomato Galette & Feeling At Home

Heirloom Tomato Galette

I was going to start this by saying that I had not married into a typical Southern family but to tell you the truth, I can’t think of one typical Southern home. Here in the South you can be from the Lowcountry, the Midlands or the Mountains. Three different ways of life, three different Southern twang lingering after each word. Three different ways of seeing the sun shine bright and to make a tomato pie.

Homemade Ricotta

I married into a Southern family with history and well, more history. My family is nomad in comparison with a history of adaptation, made colorful by the people in it and the countries we come from. I married a guy with a keen ability to retain only the goodness of the past to move into the present. He understands that I will adapt both our traditions to keep connected to my family and call his, my home. The Lowcountry does feel like home to me now. I have embraced its food, its ingredients, the seasons (sort of) that bring picnics at the beach in December and ripe juicy tomatoes in March. And tomato pies.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

I had never had a tomato pie until I met my mother in law. Actually, I met the pie first. Bill brought it to a picnic date and I also fell in love with my future family that day. If she wanted to tie me up to South Carolina through its culinary traditions, she had me at "another slice honey?" Juicy tomato slices in a buttery crust, happily nested in a creamy filling with plenty of basil, garlic and topped with a generous handful of sharp cheddar.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Nothing that my doctor would be thrilled about. Nothing that my brain, deeply anchored in its own culinary ways, could compute. Nothing that I would admit craving as soon as Spring rolls around. And yet, I could not control my will power and had another generous slice. I felt completely and utterly happy, satisfied and calm. Giddy from my brain to my toes. From a tomato pie. Alright…and from the man before me.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

That very same day, I vowed to do something my grandmother and mother had advised years before: never ever, under any circumstance try to replicate that pie. I had now entered the potential "it’s not quite like when my mom makes it" territory. I ain’t no fool…Instead I decided to create my own version. The one adapting ingredients we have here to flavors and tastes from back home. A different approach to the same theme. A Tomato galette with homemade ricotta and plenty of oregano. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Heirloom Tomato Galette:

Serves 4 to 6:

For the crust
1 1/4 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup icy cold water

For the ricotta filling:
1 cup ricotta (I use this recipe to make homemade ricotta)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon parmesan
2 teaspoons olive oil

Prepare the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and oregano until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold water until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Slice the tomatoes and spread them out on layers of paper towels to drain some of their moisture out while you roll out the pastry.

On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to a 10-inch circle, spread the ricotta filling but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Layer the tomatoes on top. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Sprinkle the tomatoes with parmesan. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly, drizzle with the olive oil, some more oregano and serve.

Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie For A Special Friend

I wanted to post this yesterday but somehow I kept starting over and over again, never satisfied with the angle I chose to tell you the story behind this dessert….the post itself is as deconstructed as the dish itself, much like the great story that goes along with it. So forgive me if this post has "ni queue ni tete" (literally "no tail nor head").

How did this dessert come about? If you have been following this little blog of mine this summer, you have read me say that the house was constantly filled with guests, good times, laughter, good eating and of course good drinking. The hotel Tartelette is now empty and it feels somewhat strange to have an evening by myself, starring at the dog who has been spoiled with so much petting! Our last guest was my very bestest friend Tim, aka Trouble coming to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before he’d have to face the cold weather of Cincinnati. We met while working at the same restaurant downtown. As the pastry chef, I always had the waiters try the special dessert of the day or refresh their memory with an item from the current menu. The rest of the kitchen crew used to love to butthead with them and I figured I could bring a little TLC with a bite of chocolate cake. Well, under Tim’s lead, there were a few of them endlessly coming back for seconds, which always resulted in getting me in trouble with the rest of the kitchen crew, hence his nickname. They were worse than a group of women on Midol with their sweet tooth, but what was I to do in front of killer smiles and batting eyelashes?!! We became instant friends, that was over 7 years ago and we have remained thick as thieves ever since. He’s seen me happy, in love, upset and has always lifted my spirits up. The first time I met him, I found him rather… can I say?…"deconstructed"? He thinks a million thoughts a minute, has many interests in completely unrelated fields, he’s been all over the place, and it seems that between the two of us, we are making a point at trying every job under the sun!! I have to add that it seems that we are both growing up lately and "deconstructed", although never a derogative term for him, is less of a personality trait these days.

As a "thank you" for putting him up for the weekend, he took us out to a renowned restaurant in town, Tristan. It was late Sunday evening so we were the only table in the dining room and enjoyed the spa treatment given by our waiter and hostess(es). Upon perusing the extensive food and wine menus we opted to have a table covered with appetizers as they sounded far more interesting and researched than the entrees and enjoyed a selection of 8-10, plus wine (both bottles made my hiney tingle…it was that good!). Hickory smoked lamb ribs with barbecue chocolate sauce, foie gras with pear and brie panini, Point Reyes cheese and huckleberries preserve, veal sweetbreads in perigueux sauce and truffle crust were among my favorites. But you know by now that I was really dying to sample the desserts! I was really dying to try the Spiced Beignets with coconut emulsion, Chinese five spice and passion fruit curd, but they were sold out…hmmmhmm. We combined our penchant for sweets and ordered the Warm Black Forest Cake with Kirsch spiked chocolate sauce and sour cherry chutney and a giant Citrus Panna Cotta on top of lemon curd and drenched in fragrant lemon-basil oil. I think this one never left my sight and I left the two boys with the chocolate. I am telling you…give me lemon and cream and I am happy!! Best panna cotta ever….

Ok, still nothing that relates to the Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie of this post…well…Now I am getting to it. Between the appetizers and desserts, our waiter brought us a little palate cleanser: a tiny scoop of strawberry-kiwi sorbet….plated in the same cups you see in the pictures. All our dishes were brought forward in the most beautiful, so-great-for-blog-posts dishes that I wanted to keep several. I hung on tight to my little sorbet dish (per Trouble suggestion) thinking the waiter would forget about it but alas he removed it when I reached for my wine (darn French me!)….B. suggested we asked if we could purchase a couple for my blog, pictures, etc…brilliant! I asked how much they would charge me for one set and when I heard "5 bucks a piece", I exclaimed "Pack me up 3 please!!". Since Tim almost got me in trouble (I am telling you) for keeping one, he bought these for me as a hostess gift and a pack of Haribo strawberries for B. for almost putting his lovely Tartelette in jail!!

To properly thank Mr. Trouble for making my blog look good, I wanted to make one of his favorite desserts, coconut cream pie using my new dishes and I thought a deconstructed version would work best in this case. I did not have the chance to do it before he left, so it is a virtual taste for him, sorry! The recipe makes more than my three little dishes, so I assembled a larger one and took it over to the neighbours. If you know me a little from this blog, you have read me mention that B. can’t stand coconut, the shreds, not the flavor….so guess who was left to enjoy these….me, once again getting me in trouble with my skinny jeans and my love/hate relationship with the treadmill. Sheeesh…!

So after what is the longest post in the history of Tartelette, I give you Tim’s Deconstructed Coconut Pie…Enjoy!!

Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie, inspired by this one:

Serves 8

3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 portion of Martha Stewart Pate Brisee ( I make the whole thing and refrigerate the other portion for other tarts or quiches)
2 Tb. sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into serving dishes and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm.
In the meantime roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick, with cookie cutters , cut out different shape. Lay them flat on a parchment lined baking sheets, sprinkle with the sugar and bake at 350 F. until golden brown (10 minutes). When ready to serve, sprinkle the remaining coconut over the dishes and stick a couple of dough shapes in them.