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Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse And Raspberry Tartelettes

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse Raspberry Tartelettes


I realized a couple of years into our marriage that the occasions to take out our china and break into grandma’s pretty silveware were going to be limited if we did not expand the meaning of "occasions". Even a simple and casual dinner with friends is now considered one. A moment to celebrate friendship, time set aside to connect or reconnect, all made special by the conversations and the people around them. Even a simple dinner calls for a special dessert like these Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse And Raspberry Tartelettes and my grandmother’s vintage dessert spoons. Just because.

I like to set a pretty table and make a special meal when we have company and you can guess that there is a treat awaiting them for dessert. We are not stuck into fussy table settings and usually end up taking our plates to the back deck during Spring and Summer or cozy up in front of the fireplace during the winter. I also love the fact that I can take the dogs to the dock around 7pm and sit there watching the sunset while the porpoises give us a little show. Pretty idyllic. Something to take in and make time for.

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette


We had friends over the other night and decided to get some crabs at the dock and have a simple crab boil for dinner. I knew we’d have to cover the deck table with layers of newspaper and just get ready for things to get messy. But oh so much fun! What I did not expect was for B. to call me from the dock and ask us to bring the party over there. I trust him and I knew there was a reason. We were not disappointed. The sea was at full tide, the sunset gorgeously pink, yellow and red and the porpoises were giving us the funniest game of hide and seek. Good company, good food, delicious surroundings. I don’t know how I got so lucky and I tried to take it all in since I know we won’t be here forever.

I wish my dad would have been there with us that night because it would have been the perfect setting to wish him a Happy Father’s Day (he also had a birthday just a few days ago!). I know he would loved it and he would have loved the whole meal, complete with these tarts. And I know my grandma would have loved to see her pretty silverware hanging out at the dock in a very informal setting. She was cool like that.

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette


My intentions were to make pistachio and mascarpone mousse tarts but I was already using all of my pistachio stash for another project. I am stubborn though. I wanted something green to contrast with the red of the raspberries I intended to use. I looked around in the pantry and remembered a container of raw pumpkin seeds. Hmmm…would it work? Well, there is no better way to find out than to just do it, right?


Oh yes…it does! The tartelettes start with basic shortcrust rounds (or sable dough) set at the bottom of a tart ring and topped with a layer of almond cream. The pumpkin seeds are finely ground before being mixed in with mascarpone and whipped cream to make the mousse. To finish the tarts are studded with plump and tasty fresh raspberries. I admit there is a new store opening up nearby and with opening specials running all week, I got ingredients for close to nothing but if either mascarpone are hard to find or cost prohibitive where you live, you can substitute cream cheese and other berries like strawberries .

Pumpkin Seed Mousse & Raspberry Tartelette


Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse and Raspberry Tartelettes:

For the tart shells:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar, unsifted
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (190gr) flour
2 tablespoons (20 gr) cornstarch (makes for a lighter crumb)
pinch of salt

For the almond cream:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (100 gr) ground almonds
2 eggs
1/4 cup (60gr) heavy cream

Pumpkin Seed Mascarpone Mousse:
200 ml heavy cream
4 oz (120gr) mascarpone, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1/3 cup (80gr) raw pumpkin seeds, ground

2 cups fresh raspberries

Prepare the tart shells:
In a mixer, whip together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen it up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will need half the amount of dough to make the tartelettes. The other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out eight rounds with a 3-inch pastry ring. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare the almond cream:

Place the butter, sugar, almond powder, and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). Add the cream but stir it in carefully instead of whisking it (you do not want to emulsify it or it will rise while baking). Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place the 8 baked rounds of dough in eight 3-inch pastry rings, divide the cream evenly among the rings and bake 20 minutes at 350F. Let cool.

Prepare the mousse:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium stiff peaks and reserve it in the refrigerator while you prepare the mousse.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar with a spatula (really no need to put your mixer to use on that one). Add the ground pumpkin seeds and mix thoroughly until incorporated.
Carefully fold the reserved whipped cream into the mascarpone base by placing your spatula in the center of the bowl, scooping the bottom over the top. Give your bowl a 45 degree turn and repeat until the batter is smooth.

Assemble the tarts:
Place the mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a large dollop of mousse right in the center of the tartelettes, leaving a small border all around. Place raspberries all around the mousse. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I need to end this post by telling you that I feel like the luckiest girl on my block lately and I’ll tell you more about it during the week when I am done rubbing my eyes in amazement. All I can say is that you will see a group of bloggers doing a bunch of fun and food related things in a pretty cool place. All in the name of research. Of course. Which reminds me I need to start packing…

Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes and Pink Macarons

tartpink3g


I can’t quite tell if it is my mother’s warm hugs or Spring pointing its nose that has me thinking in all shades of pinks, purple and reds lately. Greens too. Colors are starting to pop everywhere and everyone around me seem to have that awakened sense of things changing around them.

I have been sneaking some work time early morning and late nights but there is one particular thing I have been looking forward to when my parents said they’d come visit: sneaking into the bed with my mom after when dad gets up. Yep, I am slightly regressing and that is all fine by me! My dad gets up early and my mom likes to linger in bed just a half hour longer. When I hear his footsteps down the stairs, I fetch him a cup of coffee, kiss him "bonjour Papa" and make a rush for the bedroom. I love the morning sun there. It kisses you just so, making you want to roll over and just enjoy.

I often told my mom that I like to pick up a book and start my day with a few pages up there, in the silence of the sun and the skyes around me. The other day when she asked why, I did not know how to explain it at first. Suddenly I felt a rush of peace and warmth. "It’s like when you hug me. It’s that moment when we are on the bed and chat with sleepy eyes and fuzzy brains."

Raspberry tartelettes


Later that afternoon, I was flipping through some of the pastry magazines she brought me from home and I stumbled on the cutest little sables tarts, filled with raspberry jam, pink mousse cream and adorned with pink macarons. A fuzzy morning sun embrace. I turned to her and I said "That’s it! That’s how it feels when we share! Like a pink creamy tart with a bit of a crunch!" She replied "Well, we should bake some then!"

And we did… And we were quite happy to discover that they are also perfect during a passionate game of cards in the evening to calm every one’s edge!!

My apologies if I am not around as much in the coming weeks and especially if I am extremely slow in visiting your blogs. Soon I’ll be able to get a breather and park my brain on "Spring break" mode before new adventures I hope!

If you want to read more about the macaron recipe I used here, head over to Design*Sponge "In The Kitchen With" where Kristina asked me to provide a basic recipe to illustrate Matt Amerendiz’s (Matt Bites) latest photo shoot. I dream of the day I would actually spend some time on a shoot with this super talented and genial photographer. Thank you Kristina!

Tart and Macarons


Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes Recipe, inspired by Vincent Gerlais

Makes six 3-inch tartlets.

For the sable crust:
1 stick butter (113 grams) butter, at room temperature
ÂĽ cup (50 grams) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups (190 grams) all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30gr)of cream, optional

1/2 cup raspberry jam

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl in between each addition. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just starts to come together. If the dough seems too crumbly, add some cream, one tablespoon at a time. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it a little to a small disk and wrap it well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate one hour before using.

Preheat oven to 350F. Flour your work area well and start rolling the dough from the center out, lifting it from the work area every 2-3 times you roll over it. Do not be afraid to flour the work area well as you feel the dough getting warmer and softer.
Cut out six 4 inch rounds and fit them inside six 3 inch tartlet molds pastry dough inside them, patting the dough in with your fingertips if needed. Place a small piece of parchment paper inside the tart shells, fill with beans or pie weights and blind bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and remove the shells from the rings. Divide the raspberry jam evenly among the tart shells.

For the raspberry Diplomat cream mousse:
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 sheets) gelatin
1 tablespoon (15ml) cold water
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (throw the seeds in the pot with the milk)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (50gr)sugar
2 tablespoons (25gr)cornstarch
1/3 cup raspberry jam
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

In a ramekin, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until you prepare the cream. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, egg and egg yolk together, add the cornstarch mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling, (pour through a strainer if this happens). Remove vanilla bean. Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add the jam, cook another 30 seconds and remove from the heat. Immediately add in the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream so that it does not develop a skin as it cools to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and gently fold it into the pastry cream. Pipe or spoon the mousse immediately in the cake rings. If you have any leftover, spoon into dessert dishes or glasses for quick snack.
Decorate with a macaron and some chopped pistachios.

Tangerine Creme Brulees Tartelettes

Tangerine Creme Brulee Tartelettes


I was making a dessert for a client the other day to celebrate their anniversary when I started wondering if there was any anniversary for B. and I to celebrate soon. No first kiss, first dinner cooked together, no first trip anniversary in sight. Actually there is one soon…if I wrote real fast and everyday: I almost have written 500 posts on this blog. Five hundred stories, five hundred desserts, five hundred times I shared, laughed and cried with you… Now that made me nervous, like after a first date…"Did I talk to much? Did I laugh too hard? Did he/she have a good time?" Thanks for stopping by and offering a minute of your time as well as your stories, comments and emails. Let’s plan a big bash for post 500! Any (sweet) suggestions welcome!

Back to that lady’s anniversary and dessert. I like bumping into patrons I knew at the restaurant, it’s always fun to catch up and as fate would have it, I always end up with an order for macarons, tarts, cakes, you name it. The occasions are as varied: birthdays, showers, romantic dinners, business luncheons. In Lauren’s case, a 30th wedding anniversary and a dessert request for a quiet dinner at home with close friends. I really like Lauren. Impeccable taste in everything, down to earth and sincere. That to me is sophistication. She mentionned how much she loved my creme brulees I could not help but frown. She added that anything would be great but that they did not need anything super fancy or elaborate this time. Woohoo! I have zippo time for elaborate these days. Actually I have zippo time to even notice my socks are mismatched (oh yeah…not so cute at 33!).

Making Tangerine Creme Brulees


I went home and told B. about our meeting and mentionned the creme brulees bit and frowned again. He noticed it. "Do you realize it’s lack a nervous tick with you everytime someone mentions creme brulees? You frown." Yes dear, I know. "Wouldn’t you frown too if you made them day in -day out, twice a day, every day and you can’t even recall which batch you are on and the restaurant’s owner does not want, will not have anything but vanilla creme brulees, and that the only time you got away with flavor was for a Grand Marnier tasting and that was cutting close and what was once your favorite dessert became "the one that shall not be named"? Phew… I needed to breathe so I stopped….He was staring, with that "oh my god, she is crazy" look on his face and took a step back before asking what I was going to bake then. Smart man, taking a step back.

I actually did not think about it long because it always boils down to this, what the client wants and what the client likes and I like them both a lot. They will get creme brulee. Only I’ll have my say in it, somehow. Since we are in full citrus season, I went for a tangerine creme brulee tartelettes: a tangerine pastry cream, baked in cocoa and cardamom shortbread (sable) shells and finished with a little sugar creme brulee crust. To commemorate their 25th anniversary of "tying the knot", I toppped each tartlet with a knotted candied citrus zest. I am such a love dork sometimes…

Tangerine Creme Brulee Tartelettes


Tangerine Creme Brulees Tartelettes Recipe:

Kitchen Notes: The dough recipe was enough for four 4 inch fluted tartelettes and four 3 inch straight edged tartelettes, so I would say it makes between 6 to 8 tartelettes depending on your molds. You can replace the tangerine with orange or grapefruit, and leave the Grand Marnier out.

For the cocoa cardamom sable dough:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (188gr) flour
1 tablespoon (10 gr) natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon (2gr) ground cardamom
pinch of salt

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cocoa, cardamom and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will have extra dough that you can save for another use in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out 8 rounds two inches larger than your pastry rings. Fit the dough inside the rings with your fingertips and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Line the rings with small squares of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

For the tangerine cream:
2/3 cup (120gr) sugar
3 eggs
6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons (30gr) all purpose flour
1 stick butter (115gr), melted and cooled
2/3 cup (160ml) tangerine juice
grated zest of 2 tangerines
2 tablespoons (20gr) Grand Marnier (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, whole eggs and egg yolks until pale. Add the flour and butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the tangerine juice and zest. Place the mixture in a saucepan over medium low heat and cook until thickened about 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly without letting it boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Grand Marnier if using. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream to prevent it from forming a crust while cooling. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble:
tart shells
tangerine cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/4 cup packed brown sugar for the brulee crust
tangerine slices and candied tangerine zest (use the recipe for candied kumquats, using tangerine zest instead)

Divide the cream evenly among the shells and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top each tartelettes with about 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixed and using a blow torch, caramelize the top of the tarts to create a sugar crust. If you do not have a blowtorch, set the tarts on a sheetpan under the broiler and broil them until golden, watching carefully to monitor that the edges don’t burn.
Decorate with segments and zest of tangerines.

Update: Thank you to all of you who voted for Tartelette in the 2008 Food Blog Awards. I am grateful for your support in making Tartelette the Best Food Blog in the Chef Category and the Best Food Blog Of The Year. I will proudly honor this vote of confidence!

Hazelnut Tartelettes With Spiced Creme Fraiche Parfait

Hazelnut Tartelettes With Spiced Creme Fraiche Parfait


We all procrastinate at one point or another, and we all have different ways to go about that. B. for example will spend an hour doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen (which I will mess up in 2 seconds flat) before grading papers. The other day he suggested we put down the Christmas tree and decorations. Like a kid who does not want to go back to school, it makes me sad to take the decorations down and to realize it will be "one whole year" before Christmas. As soon as his back was turned I started cleaning and reorganizing the pantry instead. It needed it after the holidays when a bunch of things started to get shoved in there due to lack of time, focus and general "I’ll deal with it after the holidays"…so you see I was actually working my end of the deal.

In that little pantry winter cleaning, I reorganized the nuts and spices and set a bunch aside feeling inspired by some hazelnuts, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, cloves…the scent was intoxicating. The perfect post holiday antidote: more seasonal winter spices. I made a pomander with some of the cloves, mixed some cardamon with Meyer lemon zest and sugar and that’s when it hit me… hard… I just wanted to eat it… the bowl… of spiced lemon sugar.

Hazelnut Tartelettes With Spiced Creme Fraiche Parfait


So I procrastinated some more and made some sable breton dough with lemon zest in it and baked large cookie to use as bases for tartelettes. I shelled enough hazelnuts to make a variation on my beloved’s beloved pecan tart, with honey and cloves. I still had other spices dancing in my head and in front of my nose that I made a quick spiced creme fraiche frozen parfait to top the tarts with. Let’s face it, pies, tarts, tartelettes, are good..even "naked" but a little ice cream does not really hurt either.

After lunch, B. started again with his desire to put away the decorations, push the furniture back where it was before we moved everything for Christmas dinner. My philosophy is furniture belongs where it feels good, where you are comfortable…and right then, right there in a quiet afternoon with a bright sunbeam coming through the window…it felt good. So I got up. And I went to the kitchen. Again. I put some sugar and water in a pan and I make caramel, and I played with sugar, making caramel twirls to decorate the tarts with, procrastinating a little longer. I made four tarts and we have been sharing one every night for dessert, so yes…"we" have been staring at the Christmas decorations for four days…Bliss…I could not make up my mind for the pictures I like best, so you get them all…oops!

In The Beginning...


Hazelnut Tartelettes With Spice Creme Fraiche Parfait:

Serves 4

Sable base:
1/2 stick (65 gr) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup (105gr) all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixer, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will have extra dough that you can save for another use in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months.
Cut out four 4-inch disks into the dough and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

Hazelnut Tartelettes Recipe:
1 egg
1/2 cup (110gr)dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (85gr) honey
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon (15gr) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (86gr) chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 275F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, dark brown sugar and honey until fully combined. Add the salt and butter and fold in the nuts with a spatula.
Grease four 3 inch tartlet shells and fill with the batter. Or, place four 3 inch tart rings on a parchment paper line baking sheet (I wrap the rings with foil to make sure the batter does not sneak out) and divide the batter evenly among them.
Bake for 30 minutes or until set and firm. Let cool. Run a knife along the edges of the tartlet shells and unmold carefully. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spiced Creme Fraiche Parfait:
1/8 grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground star anise
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (75gr) sugar, divided
3/4 cup (175gr) creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1/4 cup (60gr) heavy cream

In a stand mixer or handheld mixer, combine the spices, egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the sugar and whisk until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they have firm peaks, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, one at a time, until the egg whites are glossy. With a spatula, hold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, working carefully not to deflate the batter. Wipe the bowl where the whites were with a paper towel and whip the creme fraiche and heavy cream together until thick, about 2 minutes. Fold this into the egg batter.
Line a 8×11 inch baking pan with plastic wrap and pour in the parfait batter. Smooth the top with a spatula. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

To serve the tartelettes: place a nut tart on the cookie base and top with the spiced creme fraiche parfait. Serve at once.

Hazelnut Tartelettes With Spiced Creme Fraiche Parfait

Poached Pear and Quince Frangipane Tartelettes

Poached Pear And Quince Tartelettes


On this eve of a brand new year, (edit: I was writing this last night) I have spent a good part of this last week reflecting on the year gone by while helping our best and dearest neighbors move. We dealt with it the only way we have handled life in the past three years on our street: a long table in the backyard, lots of oysters and a bucket of cold beers, all hurdled around a big fire, watching the kids run around, the dogs chase each others and the adult pretend they were still twenty and carefree. No, it wasn’t all rosy but not everything is and as we went around the table and gave personal highlights of the year passed, I exclaimed "It’s been a pretty fantabulastic year!".

Professionaly for sure as I am currently buckling down in finishing the manuscript for the cookbook and working on a couple of surprises for you. But looking at all these friends gathered around the table hugging, laughing and reminiscing, my heart was soring for having formed stronger ties will all of them and all of you in the past year. I love and live hard and you listen…

Forelle Pears


As a last get together in the tradition of 2008, we each brought our own specialty and as you can imagine, I brought dessert. We decided to go all out and have a pre New Year’s Eve celebration since much like Christmas our little nucleus would be spread out on Wednesday night. Candles and garlands were hung around the yard, Champagne replaced beers and toast and smoked salmon replaced chips and dips. In my family, we share a slice of Galette des Rois on New Year’s Day but I decided to change things around keeping the main components of the galette, puff pastry and almond frangipane cream and layering poached quince and pear slices that I had in the freezer. I did tuck in a little ceramic figurine inside one of the tartelette as the tradition calls for and one of us was indeed crowned king that night. Good cheer and good fun.

Poached Pear And Quince Tartelettes


Poached Pear and Quince Frangipane Tartelettes Recipe:

Serves 6

For the puff pastry:
1/3 puff pastry (recipe here)

On a lightly floured board, roll the puff pastry into a 15×6 rectangle, cut out 6 rectangles (5×3). Prick them with a fork, lay them falt on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate while preparing the fruit and the frangipane.

For the poached pear and quince:
1 quince, peeled, cored and sliced
1 pear, peeled cored and sliced
4 cups water
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
6 cloves
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons lemon zest

In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, place the quince only and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Remove the quince from the liquid and let cool to room temperature. Proceed the same way for the pear but only cook it for 15-20 minutes.

For the frangipane cream:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (100 gr) ground almond
seeds from one vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup (60gr) heavy cream

Place the butter, sugar, almond powder, vanilla bean seeds and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). Add the cream but stir in it instead of whisking not to emulsify it or it will rise while baking.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Evenly spread the frangipane cream over the puff pastry rectangles and layer the quince and pear slices over it. Sprinkle with chopped almonds or pistachios if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Happy New Year! Bonne Annee!


I am looking forward to 2009! You might see some new and familiar faces come and tend the fort while I wrap things up writing. They illustrate what 2008 has been for me: discovery after discovery of talents, creativity and friendships. A year in which the support and art of others have pushed me to get better, live better, breathe stronger.

You all have made 2008 a wonderful year for me and this site. I will continue to give back to you the best way I can through baking and photographing it of course but also by being more regular on your blogs as soon as things calm down a bit.

So cheers to you in 2009! Wishing you the best 🙂

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes


With the holidays just upon us, I hope you won’t mind a little pre-Thanksgiving dessert and have to let you in on a little secret: I won’t be cooking or baking this Thanksgiving. Argh!!! Horror!!! Truth is, I never cook or bake that day as I am reminded each year that it is not "my" holiday. Well yes, French people did not have Pilmgrims and Native Americans (we had Romans and Vikings but that’s another story), but Thanksgiving is important to my American. I know that Thanksgiving is more than that, the viking-pilgrim thing is just a joke between us when people ask me what the French do for T-Day. What is important to B. is important to me. In his family dynamics however, I get to sit this one out.

I love entertaining, holiday cooking and baking, having a bunch of friends and dear ones around. Planning, making the menus…I miss this greatly being so far away from my family most holidays. Comes Thanksgiving and my head is spinning with recipes, both sweet and savory and I get to relax. Horror!! I am serious here, I know a lot of you super master entertainers and foodies can relate!! By Christmas I am so terribly homesick that we elope to the mountains and regroup while B. lets me reminisce about my Christmases by home.

If anything, I live for my family dinners as his family is way smaller and calmer. There are no less than 20-30 people at my parents' house gathering around the table for Christmas Eve and just about the same number on Christmas day. There are kids everywhere, toys all over the place, bottles behind curtains (remind me to tell you about that when we get closer to Christmas). There is virtually no room to move around, the garage is the same temperature as the refrigerator so my parents' car is transformed into a cheese and dessert shelf. There is noise, loud noise, jokes, laughters, discussions, disagreements. We eat and chat for hours. B. will say that he needs to train a couple of weeks in advance to match the 6 hour festivities of eating and drinking two days in a row. We do take our time and talk a lot in between courses. One year we tried to rush so that my grandparents would get to bed at a decent hour but they got mad and stayed up with us until 2am….we did not tell them we kept at it until 4am!

Photobucket


One of the things I learned early on about my husband is his love for two Thanksgiving classics: pecan and pumpkin pies. Pecan pie was an easy one to get used to when I moved to the US as it was very close to our "tarte aux noix" that we have in the North. The concept of pumpkin pie was new to me yet completely fascinating. When I exclaimed "pumpkin? In a pie?", he was quick to say "you guys preserve all chestnuts in sugar syrup and then glaze them with more sugar syrup…and you eat them…just like that!!" Ah yes, the Marron Glace! I could see his point, it’s an acquired taste. However, a taste for a cold slice of pumpkin pie is ve-ry easy to acquire!!

Even if we don’t get to have the family over on that special Thursday, we created our own tradition years ago by hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner the week before with a few of our close friends. We gather early around in the kitchen and dining area and we cook and bake together wile chatting and sipping wine. Each person has his or her favorite thing to make and eat and early on I started combining my heritage and B’s by combining ingredients I’d find here in dishes I would make back home.

One thing I love in the world of sweet things is meringue. I can eat meringue all day and never reach the bottom of the cookie jar. When time came bring dessert to our gatherings the first thing that came to my mind was to make a Pumpkin Meringue Pie, combining two of our childhood favorites. I like to use a sable base instead of the traditional pate brisee crust and once the filling is baked, I pipe rosettes of Italian meringue on top and use the blow torch to finish it off. We have had this way for the past ten years so I guess you could say we now have our own tradition for Thanksgiving albeit a week early!!

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes


Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes:

Makes 8 small tartelettes (3 inches diameter) or one 9 inch round pie

Sable Dough:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (188gr) flour
2 tablespoons (20 gr) cornstarch (makes for a lighter crumb)pinch of salt

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will have extra dough that you can save for another use in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out 8 rounds two inches larger than your pastry rings. Fit the dough inside the rings with your fingertips and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Line the rings with small squares of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

For the Pumpkin Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (not the whole can but 8 oz)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2/3 cup whole milk

In a large bowl, beat the egg and sugar until pale. Add the pumpkin, spices and salt and mix until just incorporated. Add the milk and slowly and mix well. Divide the batter among the cooled tart rings and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350F until the batter looks like it is just set, don’t overcook or it will crack on you. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before proceeding with the meringue topping.

For the Italian Meringue:
2 egg whites (60 grams)
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons water

In a heavy bottom saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook the mixture until it reaches 245-248F on a candy thermometer. In the meantime, start beating the egg whites firm peaks but not stiff or dry. When the sugar syrup has reached the proper temperature, slowly add it to the egg whites with the mixer on low-medium speed. Once all the sugar has been poured in, turn the speed to high and beat until the meringue has cooled. Place it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe rosettes of meringue on top of the tartelettes. Use a blowtorch to slightly caramelize the tops or place them under the broiler in your oven but make sure to keep a close eye on them.

Pumpkin Meringue Tartelettes

Apple Frangipane Tartelettes With Cheesecake Ice Cream

Apple Frangipane Tartelettes And Cheesecake Ice Cream


When I was a little girl I had quite a few nicknames. I will spare you the ones my dear and gentle (hmmm…) brothers gave me but my family gave me two that are still around today: Tartelette and Reine des Pommes. The first one is obvious as I love to make tarts and they were probably my first venture in the kitchen. The second needs a little French idiom explanation. It’s not that I ate that many apples but " une pomme" is also a person with a kooky or funky personality. I was just that as a child, coming up from my day dreams just long enough to breath some fresh air, realize the world out there was not that great and going back deep into my fantasies.

Whenever something was wrong I’d find comfort eating some of my mother’s apple cake while reading a Charles Perrault’s fairy tale. A slice of my grandmother’s apple pie was also enough to transport me into a magical world of brave knights and pretty princesses. Yes, just from one slice. One of my favorite fairy tale was indeed Snow White, so Pomme quickly became my nickname. Even today B. calls me his "petite pomme" and I know he does not mean his "little airhead" as the idiom is sometimes used too. No man in their right mind would call his dear wife that when she is holding a plate of his favorite cookies right under his nose!

A couple of times before I have written here about our friend M. who is facing the biggest battle of her life right now. On the weekends, we go visit M. and her husband and try to help as much as we can. I do a little grocery shopping for her on my way there and try to fix a couple of dishes for the week. B. and her husband work in the same department so they talk shop or fix something around the house. I usually end up reading some pages to M. while she rests or tries to eat something. Last weekend she did not feel like reading from her current book. "Why don’t you tell me one of your stories?" she asked instead. "A fairy tale", she added. "Allright, but we need apple tartelettes for that!" I replied.

She was a little caught off guard by my response and I quickly explained the pomme nickname, the childhood day dreams, the apple desserts and Snow White. Her request was perfect as I had brought some freshly made apple tartelettes to have for dinner with them. I remembered they liked theirs with ice cream so I also made a fresh batch of cheesecake ice cream to change from vanilla. Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted something a little different. We sort of forgot to tell the men we were digging into the dessert and sat on her bed with our tartelettes and ice cream while I proceeded to tell her a fairy tale.

Yes, she was the heroin, defended by her valiant King, conquering the villain Cancer Witch with the help of Little Pomme and her wonderful Prince Pomme and their two fearless and giant dogs (hum..hum..). I know M. I know I can come up with stories like that and not make her depressed or sad. Indeed, she cracked up and felt invigorated by this little tale proving my parents they were wrong to tell me that day dreams are useless. You just have to know when to use them, that’s all.

The tartelettes are built in ring molds, starting with a sable breton base (shortbread), filled with a layer of frangipane (almond) cream and topped by slices of honey roasted apples. If you do not have ring molds, you can of course build the tartelettes into regular individual molds, they may not be as tall. The cheesecake ice cream is so easy to make and delicious I wish I could have some everyday for breakfast. Well, I could….I can….day dreaming again…oops! It is not too sweet and a nice change from vanilla ice cream. I like to add some graham cracker crumbs when I serve it on its own but I left it plain this time as they were already plenty of crust to go around. I used 3 inch round molds bought at the local craft store (Mickael’s). Same store where I get the cupcake liners (Wilton brand) that some of you asked about in the previous post. The ribbons were added with a piece of thin double sided tape.

Apple Frangipane Tartelette


Apple Frangipane Tartelettes With Cheesecake Ice Cream:

Serves 8

Sable Dough:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (93 gr) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups (188gr) flour
2 tablespoons (20 gr) cornstarch (makes for a lighter crumb)
pinch of salt

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between the sheets of plastic. You will need half the amount of dough to make the tartelettes. The other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 3 months. Cut out rounds with a 3 inch pastry ring. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

For the Honey Roasted Apples:
4 medium apples
1/2 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel core and cut the apples in thin slices. Lay them on a couple of parchment paper lined baking sheets and drizzle at will with the honey. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Let cool.

For the Frangipane Cream:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
1 cup (100 gr) ground almond
seeds from one vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup (60gr) heavy cream

Place the butter, sugar, almond powder, vanilla bean seeds and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). Add the cream but stir in it instead of whisking not to emulsify it or it will rise while baking. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place 8 baked rounds of dough in 8 pastry rings, divide the cream evenly among the rings and bake 20 minutes at 350F. Let cool. Once cooled, remove the tarts from the rings and arrange the apple slices decoratively on top.

For the Cheesecake Ice Cream:
2 cups (50cl) whole milk
1/3 cup (10cl) heavy cream
3/4 cup (170gr) sugar
2 egg yolks
4 oz cream cheese (120gr)

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. In a saucepan set on medium heat, bring the milk and the cream to boiling point, slowly pour a small amount on the egg yolks to temper. Pour the remaining over the yolks and sugar. Stir well then pour back in the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the cream thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until completely melted and incorporated. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Process in an ice cream maker according to your machine’s manufacturer’s instruction. If you do not have an ice cream machine, follow the directions laid out in this post.

Apple Frangipane Ice Cream And Cheesecake Ice Cream

Pine Nut Tartelettes – A Taste Of Two South

Pine Nut Tartelettes

Being a Southerner in one continent is often nothing like being a Southerner in another and I am sure many other expats can relate to this. I never thought that things I’d find here in SC would be the same as back home but I never imagined what a wonderful bounty was awaiting me. I know I often reminisce about good times and childhood moments I had in Haute-Provence but I found that they are very similar to the ones B. experienced as a child and young adult. A lot of outdoor times, campfires with his cousins, we had barbecue pits dug right in the ground, they had oyster roasts, we would sleep on the lawn watching meteor showers and they would build a tree house and divert phone lines (yeah…that’s a story for the phone company never to find out!).

When I moved here, I starred amused at yellow mustard potato salad and fried chicken but fell in love with gumbo, okra, yellow squash, cornbread, spoonbread, and pecan pies…I quickly understood that very few people other than B’s mom would make them the "right" way. You know what I am talking about, the way that makes your memories tickle so bad you instantly close your eyes and go "mmm,mmm,mmm…" Instead of trying to duplicate the impossible taste associated with memories, I decided early on in our relationship to bring my South to his and create new flavors, new tastes, new memories. It’s not uncommon for yellow squash to find its way into my ratatouille, my "petit sale aux lentilles" (cured pork slowly cooked with lentils) to spot a couple of pieces of ham hocks, or have lima beans replace broad white beans when I make a lamb roast.

I also carry this "your South meets my South" attitude in a lot of the desserts I make. Most of the time it is because I miss using something and B. bugs me to make one of his favorites and I end up incorporating the two together. This is what happened with these pine nut tarts. I was browsing the aisles at the store and I spotted B. looking at the pastry display, particularly focused on tarts filled with pine nuts, freshly pulled out of the oven. We started talking about doughs and fillings wit the baker and she mentioned being totally in love with these "new" tartlets molds and offered to let me use a set for a while (we know each other so it was not like "eh stranger! Come use my equipment!"). The tarts made me think of pecan pies gone Italian or Provencal. B. wanted to buy one but at $3.99 a pop….I gave him the look…you know if you cook or bake a lot, the one that reads "I can make it cheaper, better, nicer…so keep moving".

Pine Nuts


B. loves pecans, I love pine nuts. He loves pecan pies, I like honey and nut pies. He wanted "the same [he] saw at the store" and I wanted peace and quiet after a long day spent separating old crazy dog and young crazy dog….I apparently failed because the old one lost a tooth while they were trying to prove their virility….Oops! But the tarts turned out exactly like I wanted, the perfect mix of both our cultures and upbringing. The pine nut tartelettes are filled with a similar filling as you would use in pecan pies, replacing the corn syrup with acacia honey, and adding half a vanilla bean, seeded just to give the whole thing a boost. Feel free to use any other honey you like, acacia and lavender happen to be among my favorites. Funny thing is that while making these, I came up with yet another variation but I have to keep it a secret for a little while longer, ehehehe… but if you volunteered to test some recipes for the book, you might find it in your email box pretty soon (makes me nervous already!!)

I am sending these to one of my favorite Italians, Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for her Blog Anniversary Bash!
I know, I know…the recipe….

Pine Nut Tartelettes

Makes 6, 4-inch tartelettes.

For the tart shells:
1 1/2 cups (185 -190g) flour
1/2 cup (65g) powdered sugar
1 stick (113-115g) butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg yolk

In a food processor, combine the flour and sugar, add the butter and pulse a few times. Add the egg yolk and pulse a couple more times until the dough barely comes together. Dump it into a lightly floured work surface and knead until it just comes together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and cut out circles larger than your tart shells, fit the dough into the molds and cut out the excess. Set them on a sheet pan, line them with parchment paper rounds and fill them with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool before adding the filling.

For the pine nut and honey filling:
150g (1 cup) pine nuts
2 eggs
75g (5 Tb) butter, melted and slightly cooled
100g (1/2 cup) packed light brown sugar
100g (1/3 cup) acacia honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split open in the middle and seeds scooped out with a pairing knife
or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

In large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, honey and vanilla seeds. Add the melted butter and whisk until incorporated. Divide the pine nuts among the tart shells. Slowly pour the filling over the nuts, trying not to move them around too much. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Pine Nut Tartelettes

Maple Cardamon Mousse And Strawberry Tartelettes

I realised the other day that I have been turning the oven on late in the evening lately. The heat is not conducive to "wanting" to bake, nor is the rain that makes me crave soft and cold flavors. Airy mousses and creamy puddings, clouds of meringue and pools of creme anglaise…ice creams, let’s not forget ice creams, one of my weaknesses. So when Old Chef asked me if I could come up with a couple of items for a private dinner for a client on Thursday, I cringed…Well, just a little, because I like him, I like the clients and let’s face it, you don’t need to twist my arm when it comes to baking! One of the requests they had was to have berries….lots of berries….beside a cold berry soup that I will tell you more about next week, I thought I would combine my ongoing love affair for mousses with fresh strawberries in individual tartlets.

Back in May, I told you about our friend M. who had just been diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago and is now back home, tired but already restless. She is not out of the danger zone yet, but there is progress. She called me yesterday all upset because she was tired of roaming around the house, tired of resting and tired of being told to sit down when she wanted to go for a walk. "Want to slice strawberries for me then?" I asked her. "Pick me up in 20 minutes!" was her response. I knew that an afternoon of baking and chatting would cheer her spirits up, not to mention that I am starting to get worried about this trend I developed to talk to the custard while I stir it!!

I set her up a stool by the counter and while she hulled and sliced the berries, I prepared the tart dough. When I turn the oven on, she gave me that look of "oh no! It’s already hot and humid…please!". I promised her it would not take more than 20 minutes to bake them and then we can cool down again. I did not mention that I would have to turn it on for another couple of hours after her departure because she would have given me that "crazy girl!" look and checked my pulse! It’s not only that it is hot outside, it also ungodly humid so opening up the windows is out of the question. She wondered if I had burnt a fuse when I said, 20 minutes…but that’s it really. Once the shells are baked, they are filled with a delicious mousse and topped with sliced strawberries.

We made enough for eight tartelettes as test products since I’ll have to make twice that amount on Thursday so they would be fresh, while chatting about her grand kids, the operation, the road ahead, the journey already accomplished. We each kept a couple and I went next door to my favorite neighbors to drop the remaining 4 (see Dad, I can count!), and then I got a big surprise from C’s eight year-old twins. Remember they got a puppy a couple of weeks ago, Sully? Well, their attention span has already moved on to faster and bigger things so they decided that since I love the puppy and he seems to like me back, I should be his new "mom". So, tonight we brought the newly renamed Bailey home where a brand new crate and a new friend awaited him. I’d say four tartelettes for a puppy is a pretty good deal!

The idea of the mousse came when I was flipping through "The Sweet Life" by Kate Zuckerman, remembering how rich, creamy and delicate her caramel mousse was last time I made it. Her Maple and Star Anise is along the same process and although I love maple syrup, I am not a big star anise fan…so in went one of my favorites, cardamom. I also halved the recipe and used hand held beaters as such a small quantity of mousse is easy to ruin in a deep stand mixer bowl. I was so tempted to make the full batch though….it is so good that I could literally sit by myself and the bowl and be content, my thighs not that much however. You’re warned! The small amount of mousse in each tart is perfect to offer a smooth and spiced contrast to the strawberries without being too sweet or overly rich.

Maple Cardamom Mousse and Strawberry Tartelettes:

Makes 6-8 depending on your tart shells, or on 10 inch round tart

For the tart shells:
1 stick butter, cut in small pieces
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk

In a food processor, combine the flour and butter and pulse until you get a mixture that has the texture of cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and cut out circles larger than your tart shells, fit the dough into the molds and cut out the excess. Prick with a fork, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, or until baked through.

For the mousse:
3 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
4 crushed cardamom pods
1 cup heavy cream

Whisk the egg yolks to break them up in a deep large bowl with hand held beaters (my KA has a deeper bowl than the standard model so I don’t know if that would work in a smaller capacity bowl).
Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 Tb of cold water in a small cup and let it bloom.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the maple syrup and cardamom. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and let it reach 240 degrees F. Remove the pan from the stove and strain the cardamom seeds carefully into a cup with a spout (easier to pour) .
Dissolve the gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds, or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
While still whipping the yolks, slowly pour in the hot maple syrup, being careful to temper them and not cook them. Pour the gelatin over the egg/syrup, whip together until cooled to room temperature and has tripled in volume
In another bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks or if you are using a stand mixer, pour the mousse into a large bowl and clean the mixer bowl thoroughly, or use another mixer bowl if you have one. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mousse trying to deflate the whole thing as little as possible.
Divide about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup (depending on how deep your tart shells are) of the mousse among the tart shells and let set in the fridge.

To finish the tarts, slice about 2 pints of strawberries and arrange on top of the mousse filled tarts. Serve chilled but not cold.


And because yummy things are better shared among friends, I am sending these to Susan from Food Blogga who is hosting Sugar High Friday Berries this month, event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess.

Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes

Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008The family is packing for their upcoming departure tomorrow morning, so I thought it’s be best to stay at out of their packing jitters and tell you about the Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes we had last night….I am all about peace…. with tarts.

Back at the beginning of May when Marcela was visiting, we took a walk downtown and kept bumping into dozens of trees bearing a yellow/orange fruit that looked like a cross between an apricot and a plum. I thought about loquats but quickly discarded that thought. Really, what would be the odds to in the Lowcountry?! They grow and flourish in California in April and May, but it seemed like the first time I had ever seen one in town…but again locals are not the most observant people in their own town sometimes, and that day I had my camera in hand looking for the peculiarities of the city.

The loquat tree takes its origins in Southeastern China and was later introduced to Japan where it has been cultivated for over a thousand years. It is believed to have come to America via Chinese immigrants settling in Hawai. (source Wikipedia). We picked a couple off of a tree and scrupulously peeled them, not sure if we were indeed on the right loquat track. I figured that if the squirrels and the birds were feasting on them, it was safe to join them (yeah, I know, weird justification…!). The fruits was sweet and sour at the same time, like an apricot crossed with an Italian plum with a touch of lemon. We kept on walking and found another tree on the street with a sign giving us the confirmation that it as indeed a Eriobotrya japonica, or loquat tree.

We were not equipped for loquat picking that day (ladder necessary) and I vowed to either sneak into somebody’s yard at night or find a person somebody living in town. I started talking about them to one of my clients who lives downtown and she exclaimed that she was going away for the weekend and I was most welcome to go loquat picking at her house because they would otherwise just fall and rot in her driveway. Her waste, my taste….Yippee!! Once off the tree and cleaned of all lovely little bugs, it happens that the fruits turn "bad" very very fast. Not being one to particularly love stomach aches and given that loquats are high in pectin, I opted to make jam with the loot I had left.

Loquat trees-Copyright© Tartelette 2008Dinner time rolled around last night and no dessert was planned…gulp! We were peaking in the fridge and freezer to come up with something, when I remembered having enough almond shortcrust dough leftover from the blackberry tartelettes, a few egg yolks and a jar of loquat preserve. Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes were now on the menu! You can substitute the almonds in the tart dough with any nuts of your liking and do the same with the preserve.

Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes:

Makes 6-8 depending on your tart molds
Printable Recipe

For the tart shells:

1 stick plus 1 Tb. butter, cut in small pieces
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk

In a food processor, pulse all the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse again. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and cut out circles larger than your tart shells, fit the dough into the molds and cut out the excess. Prick with a fork, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before filling with the loquat preserve.

Loquat Preserve:
2.5 pounds pitted and chopped fresh loquats
3 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of water
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Combine loquats, sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes on a boiling water bath. If you need to read more about canning, here is a great site: National Center For Home Food Preservation.

Creme Brulee Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
2 tsp (packed) lemon zest
1 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 Tb brown sugar for the top

Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, cream, yolks, and eggs in a bowl until pale. Add lemon zest. Pour filling into tart shells filled with the preserve. Bake until filling is slightly puffed at edges and set in center, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Remove from rings or tart pans.
Sprinkle tart with 2 tablespoons sugar. If using an oven: broil tart until sugar melts and caramelizes, turning sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes.
If using a torch: start slow and high up to melt the sugar and gradually get your flame closer to finish the burnt effect.

Loquat Creme Brulee Tartelettes-Copyright©Tartelette 2008