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Nectarine And Pomegranate Tarte

Nectarine & Pomegranate Tarte


Back from Seattle after an amazing workshop and visit with dear friends. I love that the city is becoming like a second home away from home where I can visit and enjoy a great support system of friends and fellow photographers. There is always work associated with a trip to Seattle but it downright feels like a vacay-workathon for me. Yes, it’s work chilling and sipping wine too you know…!

Nectarines


I have yet to go through all my pics from the workshop and our visit there. So much done and so much left to see! It was Bill’s first time in Seattle and he absolutely loved it. The weather was a wonderful reprieve from our scorching hot days. A light breeze and 80F days felt like Spring and absolutely delicious.

We love hanging out with friends who love their city as much as we love ours. It was a treat to spend some time with Jeanne again. She gives the best hugs. Seriously. We were honored to have dinner at Sitka and Spruce with Anita and her husband who flew from San Francisco for the weekend. They never miss an opportunity to visit their old stomping grounds and I was thrilled to finally introduce them to Bill after all these years.

Nectarine & Pomegranate Tarte


Once again… lots of good times, good wines, good sun, good talks and sunshine. I love how each workshop teaches me "more and better" as I like to say. More about myself so I can always work toward being a better person. Every trip, anywhere, I try not to sweat the small stuff and focus on the bigger picture. Sometimes it is just me and my work, others and the moment, sometimes it is our couple.

A constant work on improving. With taking stance and remaining silent. Much like this tart I want to share with you today. Everytime, with time and experience, it turns out a little bit better. A little bit stronger and definitely a keeper. Until the ext one…

Pomegranate


Nectarines in South Carolina right now are as good as the best natural candy you can imagine. Juicy, fragrant. Wonderfully soft and simply at their best. I usually cut up about a pound worth and store it in the fridge so we can have a refreshing treat anytime we get a whiff of that hot humid air.

I got a bigger appetite than the number of days we would be home so I decided to use some of the nectarines I had (over) bought in a tart and take it to my in-laws who were dog(s) sitting for us. As well as watching over the fish. Always seem to forget mentioning Elliot.

Nectarine & Pomegranate Tarte


I made a regular pie crust (not gluten free) but the mix I usually use (my friend Jeanne’s) works perfectly well with this. I must tell you soon about this Brazil nut crust I tried on Clare and Becky last week though. I want to tweak it one more time first… Bear with me!

In the meantime, I am leaving you with this super simple, yet delicious Nectarine and Pomegranate Tarte. Yes. I know. Pomegranate are not in season in the US at the moment. See, I love pomegranate so much, that once Winter rolls around, I freeze enough pomegranate seeds to last us through Springs and Summer. We use them all the time in refreshing salads, as sprinkles on desserts and so forth. Here, they were in perfect tandem with the sweet ripe nectarines.

Nectarine & Pomegranate Tarte



Nectarines and Pomegranate Tarte:

Makes one 9 to 10-inch tart:

Ingredients:
For the crust:

2 tablespoons (20gr) slivered almonds
1/2 (60gr) cup powdered sugar, unsifted, divided
1/2 stick (57gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (90gr) all purpose flour or Jeanne’s gluten free all-purpose flour mix

For the filling:
4 to 6 just ripe nectarines, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced thin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (fresh or frozen)

Directions:
Place almonds and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to help the dough come together if necessary. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in a 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready).

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle shelf.
Layer the nectarines in the shell, overlapping each other until the whole tarte area is covered. Drizzle with the honey and almonds.
Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes until the tarte is golden.
Remove from the heat and right before serving, sprinkle the top with the pomegranate seeds.

Heirloom Tomato Tarts & Panzanella Salad

Tomato Tarts & Panzanella Salad


All packed and ready to go! I think. First stop Scotland for a couple of short days. Then we will head over to Ireland and backroad our way to Belle Isle Cookery School for the 4-day workshop I am teaching there. To say that I am excited would be the understatement of the year. I have not been to that part of the world yet.

House sitter all set up. Dog sitter already thrown in the middle of a creek chase by Bailey. Raincoats. Rain boots. Layers. Maps and big giddy smiles. Yep. I think we are about ready. Oh and Elliott, our 6 year old beta fish (so not joking) also found a temporary pad with friends, becoming their kids' first official visiting pet. Everyone is pretty much set.

Panzanella In The Making


It’s been such a long time we went abroad together. And the first real time off we have in a completely uncommon, unknown and foreign (to us) location. Pretty cool. We have been pouring over Google Earth for so many months checking the scenery and trying to figure out where his ancestors had lived that I am about as ready as can be to check things out.

I have no idea of what we will actually find, see and who we will end up meeting along the way. And we are completely open to that. I have learned to just learn and get familiar with things as much as possible and let thing unfold the way they do. There will always be something to come out of it, an improvement to be made, a lesson to be learned, another place to discover.

Panzanella Salad


That’s pretty much the motus operandi I have had these last few days as I was trying to empty out the fridge before our departure. Grab a few ingredients and spices agreeing with our taste buds, toss them up together and see where that gets us. Adjust attitude seasoning and keep going until dinner comes together.

And well…With an small peleton of heirloom tomates leading the race (yes, I may have the Tour De France playing in the background of my studio), we ended up with Heirloom Tomato and Rosemary Tarts one evening, accompanied by a few big spoonfuls of panzanella salad. And yes, tarts again. One of the easiest thing to do to clean out a fridge before a trip.

Tomatoes


There are as many ways to make a tomato tart as there are cooks out there. And wait until you taste the quintessential Southern tomato pie. Oh dear. And well, there are as many versions of the panzanella salad as there are people having an opinion about it. That diversity is one of the many reasons why I love reading stories and anecdotes behind recipes. It’s also one of the reasons that make me grab my camera to make an imprint of the moment and tell another story. Or the same one, with a different look.

Traveling is very much the same. You see the same things as the many people around you. With a different look. For all of us.

Have a fantastic weekend! I will try to post some pics and updates as the trip unfolds but if you want first hand thoughts and pictures, best is to read my Twitter feed, @helenedujardin or check my Instagram shots at helenedujardin.

Tomato Tarts



All pictures © Helene Dujardin Photography.
Heirloom Tomatoes Tartlets:

Makes eight 4-inch tartlets or one regular tart

Ingredients:
For the crust:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour or Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free mix
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, kept very cold
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
6 to 8 heirloom tomatoes
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
pinch of salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:
Prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Add the salt and pulse on more time. 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.

Flour your working surface with tapioca flour (if gluten free) or regular flour and start rolling out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick adding more flour as you feel the dough starts to stick. You can also roll it out in between two sheets of plastic wrap of parchment paper, especially with working with the gluten free version. Cut eight 5-inch rounds of dough and place them inside eight 3 to 4-inch tartlet pans. Place a small piece of parchment paper inside each of them, fill with dried beans and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F (both convection and not) and position a rack in the middle.
Place the tart shells on a baking sheet and bake the tartlets for about 15 minutes (with the dried beans inside). Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and remove the beans and parchment paper.

Prepare filling:
Slice the tomatoes and lay them flat on a couple of sheets of paper towels to soak up some of their juices.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk until well incorporated. Add the rosemary, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk again.
Divide the mixture in between all the cooled tart shells and arrange the tomato slices over the top.
Bake at 350F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the center is barely set.

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Panzanella Salad:
Not so much a recipe but more a big toss up according to your own appetite.
( for recipes, here is a good start)
Mine goes something like this:
some leftover bread
plenty of tomatoes
some anchovies
some olives
lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
freshly chopped basil
fresh arugula
fresh minced garlic

Toss all the ingredients together and let sit for about an hour so the bread gets a good soaking…

Creamy Salmon Bisque & Rhubarb Tarte Tatin

Salmon Bisque

A little update before I talk Salmon Bisque and Rhubarb Tarte TatinThe workshop in Ireland sold out so fast that we decided to exceptionally open up four more spots. There are three remaining. So, if you missed registration and would love to be able to join us for an amazing three day- four night food photography workshop on the grounds of Belle Isle Castle and Belle Isle Cookery School (all details here), here is your chance! Follow this link to the registration page. Hope to see you there!

Salmon Bisque

 Back to today’s recipes…

Multi Potato Goodness

Let’s back track to a couple of weeks ago when I had tooth issues. Bear with me, something incredibly tasty came out of one little inconvenience. Well, it did not feel "little" at the time but in the grand scheme of things and with two more family members in bad shape, you won’t hear me complain of anything. It was just a tooth and one minor setback not the end of the world…

Salmon Bisque

I could not eat more than two or three spoonfuls of soup at at time. I started dropping weight. If you know me, you know this is the last thing I need. I was starting to lack energy while my gigs were getting more intense. Not a good combination. I knew I could easily fix this by making meals that packed a punch in nutrients. I could eat soups. I devised a plan to make a big batch of a super nutritious soup and to keep a bowl by my side at all time during the day. A few spoonfuls there, another couple here and within the course of the morning, I would finally have eaten a normal lunch. Same thing for dinner.

Fresh From The Market

What soup did it? A Salmon Bisque, full of good-for-you wholesome ingredients such as wild pacific salmon, potatoes, Vidalia onions, zucchini, garlic, fish stock and herbs. I could make it thin, chunky. I could change the vegetables with whatever was in the fridge such as subbing carrots for the zucchini, lefover rice instead of potatoes, etc… As long as I had a good combo of protein, carbs, fat and veggies, I was good to go. Getting all my nutrients helped heal at a normal pace. I did that for five days and it worked. Hooray!

Radishes

Not going to lie, but the first thing I sank my teeth into after that episode was a big plate of crunchy radishes, a plump kebab of local shrimp and a big slice of tarte tatin. Rhubarb tarte tatin. With plenty of buttery goodness from the puff pastry crust and long pieces of caramelized rhubarb that just melted in your mouth. The latest edition of Donna Hay magazine was just chock full of tatin recipes with puff pastry. And well, those two words tend to make weak in the knees as soon as I see them..

Rhubarb Tarte Tatin

Since I can occasionally eat gluten (once or twice a week without showing signs of Meniere’s) I figured a Tarte Tatin would be a darn good way to go for it. And it was. And I have one in the oven as we speak. I wish I were kidding. But this one is for my in-laws. Because they can’t ever have too much tarte tatins. Or rhubarb.

After a nice bowl of soup. This tarte is definitely melt in your mouth decadence of the best kind.

Rhubarb Tarte Tatin



Creamy Salmon Bisque:

Makes enough for 6 to 8 large portions.



Ingredients: 

 1 tablespoon olive oil 

3 small baby Vidalia onions (sweet onion) or 1 large onion, sliced 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 

3 zucchini, sliced 

1/2 pound small potatoes 

3 garlic cloves, minced 

1 pound wild salmon, boned, skinned and cut into large cubes 

4 to 6 cups seafood stock 

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and sautee the onions and rosemary for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the zucchini and potatoes and sautee another 2 minutes. Add the garlic and salmon and saute for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add about 4 cups of seafood stock and pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool for about another 10 minutes and puree in a food processor or blender (immersion blender works great too) until completely smooth. Add more stock to adjust the consistency to your liking. For example, we like thick soups but some don’t – adjust accordingly. Salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve warm.

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Rhubarb Tarte Tatin, very slightly adapted from Donna Hay magazine: 

Serves 6 



Ingredients: 
1 sheet of puff pastry (I made my own using this recipe) (you can also find a gluten free puff pastry here)
3/4 cup (165g) sugar 

1/4 cup (60ml) water 

2 tablespoons (50gr) butter 

1/4 teaspoon cardamom 

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 10cm long pieces (4 inches long) 



Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll the puff pastry to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out a 22cmx32cm (8.5 inch x 12.5inch) rectangle from the pastry and set aside.
Place the sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium low hear and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for 8 minutes, until the sugar turns to a caramel color Add the butter and cardamom and stir until the butter is completely melted and combined with the caramel.
Pour the caramel into a 20cmx30cm (8×12-inch) baking pan and arrange the rhubarb pieces over it.
Top with the puff pastry and tuck the edges under a little. Place on a larger baking sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. or until the puff pastry is cooked through. Allow to cool for five minutes or so. Loosen the edges with a knife. Invert the tart onto a serving tray.

June, September & October Squam Food Photography Workshops, A Giveaway, A Ratatouille Tart & A Blackberry Cobbler

Squam Workshop


The first time I heard about Squam Lake and Squam Workshops I said outloud "Ugh?". That was last year. Now, when I hear those words, something inside of me lights up and I say "heck yes!"

Squam Workshop


Squam is truly a magical place. A three day retreat put together by a group of talented women with the gorgeous Elizabeth leading the troups. I was honored to be asked by Elizabeth to come teach last September and the experience changed me deeply. I understood I needed to be nicer to myself. My inner child resurfaced. The one everyone in my family talks about. I found her again. It made me progress and gave me what I called a work inspired. A direction. I am not letting go of that feeling, no matter how hard it is to express.

Squam Workshop


At Squam, I met women so reserved, it was a gift to see their personalities transpire through their paintings, screen printing or story telling sessions. I also meant women so gifted at expressing themselves and leading others into tapping into their resources, that it was inspiring in itself when I went to lead my workshops there.

Squam Workshop


Back in September, I taught two food photography and styling class at Squam and really did not want to see the sessions end. The morning was devoted to cooking the food we would be styling and photographing in the afternoon. We had the luxury of the camp’s commercial kitchen, equipped with everything we could need. During one session we made savory tarts and the day after we made cobblers and crisp.

Squam Workshop - Blackberry Cobblers


And we shared with everyone…I had the best roomates to come back to at night and share a glass of wine with in front of a warm fire. A couple of slices of tarts or a spoonful of cobbler and we were good to chat the night away.

I was thrilled when Elizabeth asked me to come back and teach again this year. Not once but three times! I just can’t wait. I love how each session combines cooking and photographing so no matter what you forte is with food and pictures, you will learn and have fun in the process. I loved all my students last year and learned so much from them too that I can’t wait to meet the new ones this year!

Squam Workshop


I will be teaching two classes at the Squam June Retreat In New Hampshire(I know it reads that one class is over 2 days but both are all day classes. All day Thursday and all day Friday). Then I will be back in NH at Squam for their September Retreat with two more classes. And I am super excited to be teaching at Squam By The Sea on the North Carolina Outer Banks. Check all the classes and schedules on the website. Hope to see you there!

Making. Creating. Having fun. Letting go. Going with the flow. There is something for everyone at Squam. No matter your skill level. Hanging out is also a art form you know…!

group of squam tea cups

Picture by Christine Chitnis.

To celebrate this year’s workshops and their brand new shiny website, the folks at Squam are doing a little giveaway for you guys. Every month, the Squam site will offer one exclusive item for sale. This January, it’s these much coveted cups from Gleena Ceramics. I am thrilled to see my friend Asya’s gorgeous pieces associated with all the goodness that is Squam. Up for grabs is the "s" is for squam cup.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. I will draw the name of the lucky winner on Tuesday at noon (Eastern US time). Why not taking this opportunity to tell me one Special talent that you have…!

s is for squam tea cup

Picture by Christine Chitnis.

Squam is fun, Squam is enriching, Squam is what you want it to be. No one to force you into anything. No one to frown or look at you sideways. Squam is sharing. Tart and cobbler recipes after the jump!

Squam Workshop - Ratatouille Tart



Ratatouille Tart:

Makes one large 9-inch or eight smaller 4-inches tartelettes

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or same amount of Jeanne’s gluten free flour mix)
generous pinch sea salt or kosher salt
1 stick (115gr) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup ice cold water, or enough to just hold together the pastry
1 egg wash – yolk, pinch salt, splash water, blended together

Half the quantity of ratatouille recipe here.
1/2 cup feta or goat cheese.

Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the cold butter all at once. Pulse until the flour is the size of tiny peas. Drizzle the ice water through the mouth of the food processor, while pulsing. Stop just when the pastry begins to come together. Empty the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk using your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This can be done up to 2-3 days in advance. You can of course, do the whole thing by hand.

Once the pastry has rested, preheat the oven to 375F. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/4″ thickness. Line the tart pan with the pastry (or several tart shells if doing small ones). Line with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, brush down the bottom, sides and edges of the tart shell with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Return the tart pan to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Fill the tart shell(s) with the ratatouille, top with the feta or goat cheese and return to the oven for about 20 minutes.

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Blackberry Cobbler:

Makes 6 to 8 (depending on your ramekins)

Ingredients:
For the fruit:
4 cups blackberries
2 tablespoons honey
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

For the crisp:
1 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or same quantity regular flour)
1/2 cup (100 gr) light packed brown sugar
1 stick (113 gr) butter, softened

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F (convection or regular) and position a rack in the center. Prepare the fruit filling:
Place the blackberries in a large bowl with the honey, lemon zest and juice, cornstarch and cardamom. Toss well and reserve.

Prepare the crisp topping:
In a medium bowl, combine with your fingertips or a pastry blender the flour, sugar and butter and form large clumps of dough. Refrigerate at least an hour or freeze overnight.

Assemble and bake:
Divide the fruit filling evenly among 6 gratin dishes or ramekins. If the crisp dough was refrigerated, just break apart clumps of it over the fruit with your fingertips. If it was frozen, you can simply grate it on top with a large cheese grater.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Let cool.

Thin Apple Tart & Linguine With Scallops And Roasted Beets

Sundays Are Good For Apple Pie


My grandmother used to say "Sundays are good for apple tart". I have to agree, and add that any day is good for apple tart. But also, days begging for a warm embrace, a soft kiss and a little balm to the soul are greatly improved with a slice of my grandmother’s apple tart. Especially when shared with friends.

Apple Tart


I believe our friends have heard my stories about my grandparents and family a million times over. That’s part being proud to be of their flesh and blood, part being away and nostalgic, part keeping connected across the miles with some basic traditions. Such as gathering with friends and listening to their stories as well.

Apple Tart


This past week has been trying for my family back home, leaving me with the need to get in the kitchen and cook and bake comforting family recipes. The one that were never handwritten, passed down from mother to daughter. The ones that were shared among friends around a cup of tea. The ones prefaced with a simple phrase "well, that’s just one way of doing it…"

Apple Tart


I often think of the recipes I was given by family members as the backbone for what I am doing today. I always think about who, among my family members, would enjoy a few gingerbread cookies, who would come share a little seafood pasta for lunch on a last minute notice? The stories associated with food or gatherings always fuel my own photoshoots as much as the actual dishes already do.

Linguine With Scallop And Roasted Beets


It can be a tough navigating act to keep balanced, energized and creative during the holiday seasons while navigating the million gazillion things we all have to do. Writing, crafting, keeping kids busy, baking goodies to share, etc… I find it helpful to balance nutritious, health boosting main courses with sweet little indulgences here and there.

Scallops & Parsley Lemon Garlic Marinade


A big bowl of crab soup and a little chocolate rice pudding. A big salad and a scoop of ice cream or sorbet. You get the idea. Find balance in what makes you happy.

Last week, a bowl of linguine with parsley lime marinated scallops and roasted beets followed by a slice of my grandmother’s apple tart was key to my own peace. A typical thin crumbly French crust, topped with a layer of vanilla bean applesauce then covered with thin slices of apples. Crispy and buttery smooth at the same time.

And if it’s having dessert first once in a blue moon or a little extra pasta on your plate…by all means, do.

Linguine With Scallop And Roasted Beets



Thin Apple Tart:

Note: my grandmother used to say that the only good thing about Golden Delicious apples was that they made great applesauce (apple compote). I tend to follow her thought and much prefer this way than fresh. The flesh and skin become so soft and buttery that you don’t have to peel them (but feel free to if you prefer, especially if using non organic apples or a different kind). My grandma’s applesauce is something of a family remedy with us…

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
For the crust:
2 tablespoons (20gr) slivered almonds
1/2 (60gr) cup powdered sugar, unsifted, divided
1/2 stick (57gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (90gr) Jeanne’s gluten free all-purpose flour mix
1 egg yolk

Directions:
Place almonds and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in a 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready).
In the meantime, prepare the applesauce.

Apple Compote: (you can prepare it up to 2 days in advance)
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
6 medium Golden Delicious apples
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup (60 to 80ml) water

On a flat surface, cut the vanilla bean in half lenghtwise without cutting all the way through and scrape the seeds from the pods with a pairing knife. Place them in a large saucepan along with the sugar. Set aside.
Core and roughly chop the apples. Add them to the vanilla and sugar mixture along with the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down, cover and let the apples stew for about 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes to and add water to the mixture if the liquid evaporates faster than the apples can cook. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups applesauce inside the prepared tart pan.

Apple Topping:
2 tablespoons (15gr) granulated sugar
zest of half a lemon
2-3 medium apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest so that the citrus natural oils can flavor the sugar.
Core and thinly slice the apples. Decoratively arrange the slices over the compote and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Scatter the butter over the tart shell.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top appples are golden brown.

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Linguine With Roasted Beets and Lemon Parsley Scallops:

Serves 2

Ingredients:
juice and zest of one lime
1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 sea scallops
4 mini beets or 2 medium/large (color of your choice)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound linguine (I went with gluten free but use the pasta of your choice)

Directions:
In a glass or non reactive bowl, place the juice and zest from the lime, the parsley, garlic cloves and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix briefly with a spoon and add the scallops. Spoon some of the marinade over the scallops and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375F and position a rack in the middle.
Place the beets in a baking dish, add the teaspoon of oil, some salt and pepper and roast for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool, peel and cut in halves or quarters depending on the size.
When about ready to eat, place a large pot of water on the stove and cook the linguine until al dente according to package directions.
In the meantime, heat a large non stick pan over medium heat. Remove the scallops from the marinade (do not throw it away), cook the scallops about 2-3 minutes on each side.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with a spoonful of the marinade, divide the pasta among 2 bowls, add the beets and scallops and serve.

Braised Artichokes With Olives & Feta, a Lavender Buttermilk Tart & A Cookbook Giveaway!

Baked Artichoke Hearts With Olives & Feta


I’ve had the chance to travel to the West coast and back twice in the last couple of weeks and twice I had high hopes of experiencing some lower, nice Fall-ish temperatures. I was ready. Sweaters picked. Scarves tied up to my purse. Instead, it was tank top and summer dressed that ended up in my suitcase. It felt exactly like what October is here in the South. A soft stroke of the sun, a lull of breeze in the trees. A delicious moment.

Since we never really get a transition between seasons, it’s always a bit difficult to feel in an autumnal mood with food and recipes. I do, however, like to get in the kitchen and try to conjure up some wicked good Fall recipes whenever possible. It most often involves roasting, slow simmers, braising. Warmth and aromas filling the house with the comfort of nostalgia and the promise of another season ahead. Yes, it does make me mellow.

Artichokes


One of the dishes I made recently that really invoked Fall as I knew it back home was artichokes, braised with plenty of onions, lemon, olives, thyme and feta. I did not vary much, if at all, from the original recipe I found in a magazine my mom sent me. I usually ad lib the recipes I read but this one was too intriguing to pass up.

When it comes to artichokes, we usually fix them two ways: steamed ad served with vinaigrette to dip or barigoule (barigoule is the name of a certain kind of mushroom in Provence by the way). We had this with sauteed scallops one night which turned out to be a perfect match. Hearty and light. Not quite Summer anymore and not yet Fall either.

Baked Artichoke Hearts With Olives & Feta


I made the artichoke dish the evening before a trip to Portland last week and fully expected to have some leftover for B. to warm up while I was gone but we almost polished the entire thing with our dinner companions that evening.

Tonight, I prepared a Lavender and Buttermilk Tart for tomorrow’s dinner, right on the eve of my departure for New Hampshire. I am teaching two food photography and styling workshops at the bi-annual creative retreat Squam Art Workshops. I like for Bill to have a little something sweet while I am gone. In moderation right now because I’m pretty much here and gone for another couple of months for various work projects.

Lavender & Buttermilk Pie


The tart is from Holly Herrick's newly released "Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet" and for which I was honored to be commissioned to do the photography. I must tell you why I dig this book so much. Beside the fact that I am thrilled of the work that the designer and publisher did with the photos and lay out, I am completely enamored with all the recipes in this book. Holly is not only a prolific recipe writer but a darn good one to boot. Her flavor combination were at times intriguing but always spot on and a sure success. Trust her to know what flavors and tastes work together and in what quantity.

The woman is an amazing chef. Her pastry crust is flaky, rich, easy to make and easy to roll and re-roll without ending with rubber. The recipes are creative, fun and quirky at times: Feisty Shrimp & Grits Pockets, Salad Nicoise Tart, Raspberry Creme Brulee Tartlets, Butterscotch & Caramel Apple Tarts. I love her titles as much as I love that Holly’s personality and love of seasonal produce comes through each recipe.

Lavande


I could talk about the tarts in this book for hours. I loved making all of them as much as I loved photographing them. Whether you are a novice or an advanced cook, you will find more than ten tarts you can start baking right from the start. Seriously. If you are nervous about making a tart crust, Holly takes you through each step with care and ease. If you wish you had more interesting or just some new/other tart fillings in your repertoire, this is also the book for you.

Trust me. I just received my "official" copy the other day and I have rediscovered, with great excitement, recipes I had cooked just a year ago. I am thrilled to give away two copies of Holly’s book, Tart Love. Fresh from the press, tested, tasted and approved by yours truly. And my husband and about everyone in the neighborhood when I was done taking the tarts mug shots, ahah!

Tart Love

Photos from Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet. © Helene Dujardin 2011

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to:
– leave a comment at the end of this post. One entry per person, duplicates will be rejected and anonymous will not be accepted (unless you are my mother, but she knows better…!)
– Please allow 48 hours for your comment to be moderated and to show up on the blog as I will be traveling this week.
– The giveaway will close Sunday September 18th 2011, at midnight Eastern time

Keep your eyes peeled for other reviews and giveaway of the book as some bloggers have graciously offered to take it on a virtual launch tour! Could not be more excited for Holly to give her hard work the recognition it deserves.

Lavender & Buttermilk Pie



Braised Artichokes With Onion, Olives & Thyme, barely adapted from Saveurs (France)

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 lemons
6 baby artichokes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup white wine or stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
6 sprigs of thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar

Directions:
Turn the oven to broiler setting. Slice one of the lemons horizontally and spread the slices on a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Place under the broiler until the lemons turn a bit dark on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of the remaining lemon. Cut the top of the artichokes and remove the outer leaves almost down to the core (only the softer leaves should remain). Save the leaves to steam later and snack on if desired.
Cut the artichokes in half and clean the inside of that fuzzy part (in France, we call this the "hay"). Cut each half once more and place each quarter immediately in the lemon water to prevent oxidation.
Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauteeing pan and cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until tender.
Add the artichokes to the pan, the white wine (or stock) and the same amount of water (1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper according to your preference. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Place the artichokes and onions on serving plate, randomly add olives, feta cheese, lemon slices and chopped thyme. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and the vinegar. Check the salt and pepper if necessary.

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Lavender & Buttermilk Tart, adapted with permission from Holly Herrick’s Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet.

(Serves 6 to 8)

Tart Crust:
2 1/4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour (or other brand if White Lilly is not available)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together

At least 30 minutes before rolling and baking (or up to one day in advance), prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse rapidly, 40 – 50 times, or until the butter is blended into the flour and is coarse and the butter is the size of small peas. Gradually, add the water in a small trickle, with the processor running. Continue adding just as the pastry starts coming together in the shape of a loose, crumbly ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a disc, about 1″ high, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

1 egg wash – yolk, pinch salt, splash water, blended together

For the lavender infused buttermilk:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup whole cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers or lavender leaves (available at most gourmet specialty stores and some groceries)

For the custard dry ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

For the custard wet ingredients:
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
1 teaspoon best-quality vanilla extract

Prepare tart crust. Chill 30 minutes (or overnight), and roll out into your preferred tart pan, creating a little border above the rim of the pan itself. Chill 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the prepared shell on a baking pan and partially blind bake the pastry by placing a piece of parchment paper on the bottom crust, filling it with dried beans or pie weight and baking for about 10 -15 minutes. Let cool and remove weights and paper. Brush down the pastry with the egg wash, and return to the oven to finish baking until golden brown, another 10 minutes. Remove the pre-baked shell from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Allow the shell to cool slightly at room temperature.

Meanwhile, infuse the buttermilk with the lavender. Combine the buttermilk, cream and lavender flowers in a saucepan, whisking to combine. Turn the heat on high and bring up to a low boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep five minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain the infused buttermilk into a medium bowl and refrigerate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt), whisking to combine. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk the eggs for one minute until light and lemon-colored and fluffy. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. When the buttermilk has cooled to body-temperature or cooler, it’s time to add it to the wet mixture, slowly streaming into the egg mixture and whisking to combine. To finish the custard, stream the milk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard into the prepared tart shell. Bake 35 minutes or until the custard has browned to a light tan and the custard still quivers to the touch. Remove from oven and cool for at least one hour before slicing.

Comforting Recipes: Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad, Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart, Peach & Nectarine Granita

Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad


We’re back home. Everything and everyone is getting back to normal. Groceries, laundry, walks with the pups. And yet, everything’s different. Every move taken and every thing said is tinted with a veil of deep sadness and compassion.

As some of you may have learned, one wonderfully kind and talented food blogger, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband suddenly this past weekend. I did not know Jennifer well. We had met briefly at several conferences in the past. We were Twitter and Facebook friends. We did not live close. We did not email. We did not talk on the phone. Yet, if I could wrap my arms around her today and hope it helped a little, I would.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Over the year, I have come to deal with the fact that I don’t care that much of August. I have a love-hate relationship with August actually. My brother passed away in August. My grandmother too. It’s my mother’s birthday in August. And my grandfather’s too. He’s 101 this year by the way. Talk about witnessing life and mortality.

I am finally ok with August being a crappy month for myself. I hate, hate, hate the fact that now it will be a difficult time for Jenny and her daughters. I, and others who have lost dear ones, know the journey ahead. And we hurt inside for Jenny and her daughters already. How to make it better? How to make it easier?

Peaches


Just like finding a few dishes prepared for you when you come back from travels, or finding the fridge a little fuller than when you left. Just like noticing a full basket of fruits on the counter and a "welcome home" note; we can be there for Jennifer and her family just the same.

Those little gestures mentioned above done by my mother in law right before we walked in the door, were immensely appreciated and resonated deeply within us. Caring for one another does is not about climbing the highest peaks or diving the deepest sea. Little gestures. A meal. A note. A walk. A hug. Expressing respect. And compassion.

Quinoa, Feta and Watermelon Salad


When I went back home to my brother’s funerals, I came back to many cards of condolences, many phone calls and texts. I also had many friends drop by with a bite to eat. They knew food was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to disappear. I was numb. But mechanically, I ate the dishes they brought over. It was sustenance. I let Bill rocked me too sleep many many nights. It was a necessity. I still sleep as little now as I did then.

For weeks, life was on auto-pilot but I do remember the comfort of sharing memories with people who came over with a giant green salad or a pint of sorbet. I remember those moments gently pulled me out of this quiet space I had made for weeks. The comfort of my neighbor Camille’s voice as she scooped her famous peach granita into little cups for us and her kids. The warmth of the oven touching my cheeks as I opened it to retrieve the first tart I had made since…since Thierry had left us.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Normalcy mixed with extraordinary circumstances. Jennifer and her family are going through this as I write it. They need us, our thoughts, prayers and memories of them for those who knew them. They need them now but they will need them months and years form now. Thankfully, and because the food community and humanity in general is pretty damn grand, reaching out to them is already happening.

Erika from Ivory Hut, who went through her own tragedy last year, losing everything in a house fire, is gathering the troops to help out. A care package program is being organized for those who are not in Jennifer’s area so a little piece of love and care can be delivered now and for months to come right to her doorstep. Locals are also organizing a relief effort to show her that not only we care but we are here for her.

White Nectarines


To get more details and to lend a hand and a comforting gesture, please email Erika at erika@ivoryhut.com

My heart is heavy for the Perillos right now. But it is also full of hope. I know there will be many a smiles in their future even only through the solace of your thoughts and words for them.

When someone around Bill and myself is going through tough times and could use a night off, we volunteer to take care of their kids, their pups or we just drop off a collection of dvds and a good meal. It’s small compared to the void we cannot fill but it’s a start. Food I can do. Which is why I am sharing three recipes (click on "continue for recipes" that are good options to bring to someone who might need a little comfort and a lot of hugs.

Peach & Nectarine Granita


This post is dedicated to Mikey, Jennifer and their daughters. We don’t know each other all that well, but I really wish I could change your August. Now and forever.

Please read this.

Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad:

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

When it comes to food and comforting friends with a little something to nosh on, I always gravitate towards dishes that can easily last a few days and only get better with a bit of time. Lately, we have been feasting on bowls after bowls of Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad many days in a row. Sometimes with a poached egg on top. In the heat of the summer, this salad is not only healthy and light but also super refreshing.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup watermelon, rind removed and cut into small cubes
2 oz feta, crumbled
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped thin
1/3 cup loosely packed mint, chopped thin
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot halfway and cook until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is translucent (about 20 minutes). Let cool completely.
When the quinoa is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and fold carefully. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Ricotta Tart:

Serves 4 as a light main dish.

Another dish that I always find easy to fix, transport and leave in someone’s fridge or freezer for them to reheat easily and quickly is a gluten free Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart. Accompanied by a green salad and you have something satisfying and nourishing. A little balm for the heart. And the belly.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or pinch red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3 egg yolks (save one white for the filling)
pinch salt
1/2 cup (80gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) potato flour
(or 1.5 cups of all purpose flour if not using gf flours)

For the filling:
3 to 4 bell peppers of various colors (red, yellow, orange)
1 cup ricotta
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip together the butter, piment and mustard on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add all the different flours and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. 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 two sheets of plastic to fit your preferred tart pan. If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months and prepare it up to 4 days in advance.

Prepare the filling:
Method 1:
Preheat the oven to 400F and then roast the peppers until their skin turn black, remove from the oven, place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Method 2:
Blacken the skin of the peppers over an open flame such as a gas stove or grill. Place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg white, salt and pepper. Layer at the bottom of the prepared tart shell. Layer the roasted pepper pieces on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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Peach and Nectarine Granita:

Makes enough for 8

Since it’s August, and it’s still mostly to very warm just about anywhere, I got to say that the most comforting thing for me and many others I know, is still to dig my spoon in soft soothing ice cream. Or sorbet. Or granita. In this case, I was pressed to use the four peaches and nectarines we still had from our trip to the market before heading down to Florida. So easy to make and since it’s stored in the freezer, it’ll be there anytime you need a little cooling treat.

Ingredients:
2 peaches, skin and pit removed
2 nectarines, skin and pit removed
1/4 cup honey
juice of one lemon
1 cup Greek yogurt or creme fraiche

Directions:
In a food processor, puree all the ingredients together. Place in a large baking dish and freeze. After two hours, run a fork along the length of the dish, breaking up the fruit mixture into a granita. Repeat the process every hour or so for about 4-5 times until the mixture is completely frozen but you get a shaved ice consistency all the way through. We like ours chunky but the more times you run your fork in the mixture, the thinner the shavings will be.

Cooking My Way Through Super Natural Everyday By Heidi Swanson: Macaroon Tart and Shaved Fennel Salad & A Giveaway

Macaroon Tart

Macaroon Tart.

*******************GIVEAWAY ENDED APRIL 14TH************************************
Last night, as I was waiting for my flight in Orlando for my flight back home, all I could think about was the serving of Heidi’s Macaroon Tart awaiting me back in Charleston.

Wild Blackberries


I have had a great time teaching at Food Blog Forum on Friday and I can’t wait to share pictures and information of what was shared a little later next week. My head is still full and my heart is bursting at the seam. I knew it already, but let me say it again, Food Bloggers Rock! Thanks to Julie who helped plan the whole weekend, I was able to teach a photography and styling workshop today before my flight. Awesomeness again…

Wild Rice Casserole

Wild Rice Casserole.

Today, I really want to talk about Heidi Swanson's book Super Natural Everyday except everything I want to say never seems enough. Everytime I get a book for review, I make sure to devote a chunk of the week to cook from it. It helps see the thread use by the author to build the book. the stories, the photography. All the dishes I cooked this past week from her book led me down the same path: practical, satisfying, energizing, good and good for the soul.

Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad.

In one word. I can’t wait to cook from it even more. The food is tasty, fresh and Heidi’s personality and wonderful soul shows at every turn of the page. A beautiful soul with a wonderful message to share. Good food, made with wholesome ingredients does not have to come in gargantuan portions nor is it difficult or time consuming to make. The flavors in all of Heidi’s dishes are a burst of everything that is good with eating and cooking in this world.

Tomatoes


And the photography…always loved how Heidi’s lets her readers eat with their eyes first. Her photography is authentic and hers. Just as she is. Just as her food.

Millet Muffins & Strawberry Jam

Millet Muffins & homemade strawberry jam.

I emailed her publicist a few days ago and asked if I could hold a giveaway of a copy of Heidi’s book for you guys. To my delight, I am happy to be able to share two copies with you guys! If you need a little enticing, check out the recipes for her Shaved Fennel Salad and Macaroon Tart after the jump!

Frittata & Millet Muffins

Millet Muffins and Frittata.

heidi cover


To enter the giveaway:
leave a comment on this post starting today until Thursday April 14th midnight Eastern time.
– one comment per person
– no anonymous comment please
– two winners will be picked randomly by the hand of the wise, my husband
Note: it may take up to 24 hrs for your comment to appear on the page.

Pixie Tangerines


Heidi has this fabulous Buttermilk Cake recipe that she makes with plums but I used Pixie tangerines since they were in season.

Buttermilk Cake With Pixie Tangerines

Buttermilk Cake.

I had such a blast cooking, eating and photographing her recipes. I take immense pleasure at shooting other people’s recipes and Heidi’s was not exception. When it comes from the heart, the photography part becomes a source of intense joy. I hope the next few shots entice you to get her book and start cooking from her book soon.

Fennel, Zucchini, Dill & Arugula Salad

Shaved Fennel Salad.


Shaved Fennel Salad, with permission of Ten Speed Press:

Serves 4 to 6

1 medium large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
2/3 cup/.5oz/15g loosely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup/80ml fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
1/3 cup/80ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
fine grain sea salt
4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
honey, if needed
1/2 cup/2 oz/ 60g pine nuts, toasted (I used walnuts)
1/3 cup/2 oz/ 60g/ feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon slat. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and our most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.

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Macaroon Tart, with permission of Ten Speed Press

Makes 24 bite size servings (I made 2 rectangular tarts with one recipe)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups/6oz/ 170g white whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup millet flour)
3/4 cup/ 2 0z/ 60g unsweetened finely shredded coconut
3/4 cup/ 3.75oz/ 106 g sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
10 tablespoons/5oz/140g unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
2 cups/50z/140g unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup/2.5oz/70g sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
4 large egg whites
8 ounces/225g fresh blackberries, halved
1/3 cup/1.5oz/45g pistachios, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8×11-inch tart pan (I used two 14×5 ones) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter and mix until dough is crumbly but no longer dusty looking. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan (it should form a solid, flat layer). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the coconut macaroon filling by combining the coconut, sugar, and egg whites. Mix until well combined.
Evenly distribute the blackberries across the tart base. Now drop little dollops of the macaroon filling over the tops of them (dirty up your hands for this part), and mush and press the coconut topping around into the spaces behind the berries. Be sure to let at least some of the colorful berries pop through for visual flair.
bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peaks of the macaroon filling are deeply golden brown. Let the tart cool, then garnish with the crusted pistachios before slicing into small squares.

Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Tart With Mascarpone Cream

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie


Holidays really have a tendency to make us marvel at the time gone by year after year don’t they? We shake our heads in denial and wonder how can time fly by this fast. Right now I am grinning as I look at the calendar, thinking that I’ve done a lot and yippee there is way more to do! There are things I’ll happily leave behind when the new year rolls in but overall I am saying out loud "Yes! Let’s do this again and often please!" That’s worth a good slice of pie and glass of milk.

Pumpkin


Like most of you celebrating Thanksgiving, the week is going to be a bit of whirlwind at the house. Some of you travel to be with your family, some of you host the traditional dinner, some of you try your best to avoid the madness of it all, stores and crowds. Some of us still have to work and meet deadlines in the middle of it. That’s the holidays indeed.

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie


This year we decided to break the routine and decided that since Christmas was already planned to happen here with B’s family, we could make ourselves scarce and gather some of our favorite people around a table full of good food, good cheers and good talks. If I had one word for the driving force behind this past year for us, it would be "friends" and I am thankful for the ones coming to stay with us this week.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream


One thing I have learned to bake for Thanksgiving in B’s family was pumpkin pie. And sweet potato pie. And pecan pie. And…well that’s plenty to give you an idea that pumpkin pie was not something I grew up eating or making. I have to admit that up until a few weeks ago I liked it "fine" or "ok". Yes, I am definitely a pecan pie kind of girl. So what changed?

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie


Well. The great thing about photographing cookbooks is the amount of recipes I get to cook and style before anyone else. Like a secret mission. No matter how complicated, long, short, easy…from just ok to outstandingly delicious. There is a bit of a void when a shoot wraps up and I know that once the files are processed and sent off, well the baby is not mine anymore. It grows in the hands of a team of people putting the author’s words together with my images. A part of me does not want it to end.

You can imagine that after finishing Holly Herrick's cookbook shoot a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear that her publisher wanted her to post a few recipes on her blog already. Teasers if you want until next Fall that the book comes out. A nice little way to hang on to the fun I had shooting a little longer. I am glad Holly started with the Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Tart as you can see in the sliced shot which will be in her book. A little sneak peek and a great recipe. Right on time for Thanskgiving.

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie


I am insanely thankful for all the things I got the chance to photograph and write this year. I am grateful for the opportunities to photograph, co-author and author myself in the year to come. I could never have done it without your support and faith in reading the words on this page. Week after week. Thank you guys for all that you have given me. I hope that I gave it back tenfold and more and will work my hardest to keep doing so.

You are the best! Happy Thanksgiving!

Big congratulations to Audrey Han for winning a copy of Gluten Free Girl and The Chef! Send me your address at mytartelette {at} gmail {dot} com and I’ll pass it on.


Here is the link to Holly’s blog for the Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Tart to check out the recipe and her notes about it.

I used eight 4-inch tart pans instead and baked them at the same temperature for about 15 minutes.

I topped mine with a little mascarpone cream:
4 oz mascarpone at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and honey. Carefully fold in the whipped cream. Spread as little or as much as you wish on top of the baked tart.

For the option of a gluten free crust, check here for a few options.

Thin Crust Pear Tart – Tarte Fine Aux Poires For Gluten Free Thanksgiving & A Giveaway

Pear Tarte Fine


As I was making this tart for Shauna’s Gluten Free Thanksgiving Baking Round Up, I started reflecting on how much I enjoyed being an expat in America around the holidays. I now have an entire second family, a tight group of friends and handful of added occasions to celebrate new traditions and holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc… Even Christmas in B’s family is light years away from mine. Starting with the food of course.

I did not grow up around pumpkin pie, pecan pie or double crusted apple pie but like anyone entering another family, expat or not, there are new traditions I have come to love. Some I have been privileged to make my in-laws discover as they let me bring my own creations to their tables. One of these dishes was my grandmother’s Tarte Fine Aux Pommes. She was famous for it. And for good reason. One of the simplest and yet most aromatic and satisfying thin crusted pie I have ever had.

Forelle Pears


She’d start by making a very basic applesauce with heirloom and very tart apples, a bit of cardamom, and lemon. She’d then layer it at the bottom of a very thin pate brisee crust and top the tart with thin slices of fresh apples. It was thin on all counts, rustic and absolutely amazing. The textures, fragrances. That bit of crunch from the crust, the oozing applesauce underneath and the pretty slices of apples on top. A feast for all senses.

When Shauna sent out an email to put together a massive round up of gluten free baking recipes for Thanksgiving, my head started spinning. Wow! Thanksgiving was indeed so close and I felt like I was already one train wagon behind! But it is indeed necessary to start such a big round up filled with so many options for baked treats for the holidays. Whether you are gluten free or need to bake gluten free for someone coming to break bread at your table, that round up provides you with so many delectable options.

Go check it out on Shauna’s blog. It’s awesome. And tempting. And delicious.

Centerpiece


I first thought about making pumpkin pie but it’s not our true favorite to celebrate. We tend to like apple pie and tarte tatin, tarte fines and the like. Instead of using apples like my grandmother, I chose one of my favorite Autumn fruit, Forelle pears. They are juicy and fragrant. Cute as can be and one fits in my pocket quite perfectly…

I was going to go with Shauna and Danny’s recipe for Asian Pear Tart in their book but the Asian pears were literally the size of mini watermelons so I substituted Forelle pears and instead of making applesauce like Grandma would have, I followed Shauna’s directions to use apricot jam. I knew there was a reason I was holding on to that last of homemade apricot jam from this summer! You don’t have to go that extent but don’t skip on the quality is all I’m sayin’…

Pear Tarte Fine


Did you see the giveaway going there on her blog? Pretty cool, non?! Guess what?…Shauna is graciously giving one copy of their book to one of you guys! Whether you like stories, recipes, tips, challenges, there is something for everyone. There is love to share. Beautiful words, delicious recipes and inspired photography by Lara Ferrroni. A feast for the senses!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday November 21st at midnight Easter time, when my better half will draw a winner at random. No anonymous comment, sign an initial, X or a name so I know you are not a robot! One entry per person. Good luck!

Pear Tarte Fine



Forelle Pear Tart – Tarte Fine Aux Poires – Adapted from "Asian Pear Tart" in Gluten Free Girl & The Chef.

Notes: I am writing down the recipe as Shauna and Danny wrote it for their book and adding my changes as I go along. The only reason behind my substituting flours was due to our personal preferences and what I have on hand in the pantry.

For the crust:
1/2 cup sorghum flour – I used millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca four – I used corn flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon – I left it out
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) frozen butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup ice cold water

Filling:
6-7 medium Asian pears – I used 10 Forelle pears
1/3 cup sugar – I used 1/4 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped – I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup apricot jam

Prepare the tart shell:
Sift together the millet flour, corn flour, potato starch and sweet rice flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon if using and salt. Sift into another bowl (I admit I skipped that part).
Grate the frozen butter directly into the dry ingredients with a medium cheese grater. Work with your fingertips until the dough feels like cornmeal or large pieces of sand.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and the water together with a fork. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the liquid, and start gathering the dough together with your hands or a fork. Gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Butter and flour an 11-inch tart shell (I used 2 rectangular pie shells). Pull the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature a little. Roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to the approximate size of your tart pan. If the dough tears a little, just piece it back together with your fingertips.
Freeze the tart dough for about 30 minutes.

While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 375F. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, fill with dry beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare the filling:
Core and peel the pears and toss them with the honey and cardamom (or vanilla bean and sugar if using).
Spread the apricot jam evenly at the bottom of the pie shell and layer the pear slices on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and serve with whipped cream if desired.