Archive for the ‘Tart’ Category

National Pie Day

Since today is national pie day, I thought I would get in the spirit and bake a little pie. I mean that literally. A 9 inch pie is just too much for just us without company coming over, so I made 12 mini pies so we could give some away. With a pie crust in the freezer (see, things like this do come in handy), and a regular muffin tin, this was quite quick to put together.  If you don’t have a large, round cutter, you can flip a small bowl over and use that as your template. The crust should only come halfway up the sides of the muffin cup, unless you want a very deep dish pie.

So, do you part and bake a pie today… or at least eat one. Bake On!

Chocolate Banana Coconut Pie

Makes one 9 inch pie or 12 small pies

You will need one recipe for flaky pie dough. (you will need 1/2 this recipe)

Chocolate Ganache:

3/4 Cup (6 oz) heavy cream
6 Ounces Bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until almost boiling and then pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for 3 minutes. Whisk together until smooth and creamy (this will take less than a minute), then stir in the extracts until well blended. Set aside to set up for 30 minutes (my pie crust was thawing during this time).

*Preheat your oven to 350F*


1/4 Cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 Cup (4 oz) dark brown sugar
1/2 Cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 Cup (4 oz) whole milk
2 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 1/2 Cups (6 oz) sweetened shredded coconut

Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk ,mashed bananas, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. It will look slightly curdled- don’t worry. Stir in the coconut. Set aside.


Roll out you pie to 1/8 inch thickness and cut out twelve 4 inch circles. Press each circle into a muffin space so it is evenly and firmly in the bottom well. It will be halfway up the sides.

Drop a tablespoon’s worth of the chocolate ganache into each little pie shell.

Cover with a very large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) of the coconut filling. When you use up all of the filling, each of your little pie shells will be very full. That is what you want; the filling will settle as it bakes.

Place in your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes . Let cool completely. Run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen before taking them out of the pan.

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Cherries, cherries, and more cherries! It’s that time of year again here, cherry season that is. It’s a relatively short season so it really is a time to rejoice. I love that this is a fruit that actually has a season, and you can’t buy them all year round. No, in North America cherries only grow in the summer, and only for a short time. I think this makes me appreciate their juicy goodness that much more.

We decided to take a quick trip this past weekend to the Flathead Lake region of Montana and get in on some of those amazing berries. While we were there we also took in the Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival and the Whitefish Huckleberry Days Arts Festival. What is not to love about Montana?! The drive along the eastern side of Flathead Lake is just one cherry orchard after the next; a truly beautiful drive. We stopped the Cherry Hill Orchards (hobug@montanasky.com), owned by the lovely Heidi and Jim.  After a few fun-filled hours there we left with 12 pounds of cherries (plus the 5 lbs we already had in the car!) and headed back home.We are definitely going back  next year and making that an annual summer jaunt.

Needless to say, I have been pitting cherries like a madwoman. So far I have a large bag in the freezer, made a clafouti (I’ll get to that another day), and oven dried a portion. Here is another amazing dessert using fresh cherries. At first glance it looks very complicated and time-consuming, but I promise you – it isn’t. In fact it is quite simple to make. Make the tart dough the day before if you want to spread it out. Bake this, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and I must tell you…. I made the tart shells in the morning, planning on baking them later in the day. Well… I forgot. I made the filling and poured it onto the rectangle shaped tart and then realized, “I forgot to bake the shell first!!!!”. Oh well, it was too late for that one, and into the oven it went anyway. I baked the other crust. Funny thing is, they both tasted great, and no one was any the wiser…. Bake on!


Yield: One 9 1/2 inch tart, 8 to 12 servings

Chocolate Tart Pastry

1 egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C + 2 Tbls (5 ounces/140 g) all-purpose flour
3 Tbls unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (I like to use black cocoa)
3 Tbls firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbls granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 ounces (3/4 stick/85 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla; set aside

In a food processor, combine the flour, cocoa, sugars, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture kind of looks like cormeal. With the motor running, pour in the egg white mixture and process until it starts to come together and form a ball (this is one of those times that I appreciate having a food processor; it takes so little time and effort to make this). Transfer the dough to a work surface and press the dough together, using the heel of your hand to help you. Shape it into a disk. You are now ready to roll out your dough! You can always just press the dough into your pan with your fingertips, however it’s much faster to roll it our using a rolling pin. If you don’t want to use the dough right away, wrap it up in plastic  wrap and place in the fridge for up to 3 days, or, wrap it in foil and freeze for up to three months.  Just make sure that either way you dough is nice and pliable before rolling out.

Here is a great method (thank you Flo Braker!) to follow:

You will need 1 piece of parchment paper and 1 piece of plastic wrap. Put the plastic wrap down,place the dough down, cover with the parchment paper,  and roll out to your desired shape. This will depend if you are using a round/square/rectangle shape pan. Center the rolling pin and push out from you in one stroke. Rotate the dough slightly and roll again. Keep rotating (in the same direction) and rolling until your tart dough is 1/8 thick. With a tart, you want a thin crust so you don’t end up with more crust than filling.

Peel off the parchment paper. Using the overhang of the plastic wrap as handles, invert the dough, pastry side down, over the center of you tart pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan, fitting it into all the nooks and crannies. Peel away the plastic wrap (how easy is that?). Trim away any excess. Now you place the dough into the fridge to get nice and cold (at least 1 hour).

You need to partially bake this tart shell (but remember my error…). Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. This allows the steam to escape while it is baking. Place in the oven and check after 7-8 minutes to see if the shell is bubbling. If it is, just prick the center to deflate it. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes or until it is no longer shiny and looks dry. Take of the oven and let cool completely.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Cherry Filling

2 ounces (1/2 stick/55 g) unsalted butter
1 C (3/12 oz/100 g) powdered sugar
2 Tbls whole almonds, finely ground to yield 6 Tbls (1 ounce/30 g)
1/3 C (1 1/2 oz/40 g) all-purpose flour
1/3  C (2 1/2 fl oz/75 ml)egg whites (3 large)
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
2 Tbls cocoa nibs, finely chopped (optional)
10 ounces (280 grams) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted, and left whole (about 25)

Preheat your oven to 350F

Follow the directions here to make brown butter. Pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, ground nuts and flour. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg whites just until foamy (this takes about 30 seconds by hand). Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Gradually add the browned butter to blend thoroughly. Stir in the extracts and cocoa nibs. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to thicken slightly.

Spoon the filling into the tart shell and spread evenly. Press the cherries all around the perimeter of the tart, saving a few to place decoratively down the middle. The filling should reach about half way up the cherries.

Bake the tart for 22-25 minutes, or until the surface is dull and springs back when lighlty pressed. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Chocolate Drizzle

2 ounces (60 g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbls heavy cream

Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil (I admit that I always use the  microwave for this; 1 minute). Pour the cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth and creamy.Set aside at room temperature until the mixture cools a bit and starts to thicken.

Drizzle the chocolate over the tart in a zig zag pattern. this can be done using a disposable pastry bag, the corner of a small ziploc bag, or even just a spoon.

I also made a square version using a small cake pan that had a removable bottom. I just used my fingertips to get the sides.

Recipe source: Baking For all Occasions by great Flo Braker

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Raspberry Ricotta Tart

Summer is pretty much in full swing right now, and the berries on our raspberry bush are in abundance this year. It seems that no matter how many you pick, there seems to be that much more the next day. I think I have frozen at least 8 -10 pints so far, besides all of the ones eaten fresh daily. Ahhh… the life. It helps that raspberries are one of the easiest things to grow. Basically, leave it alone. My kind of plant.

For the BBQ the other night I made a raspberry ripple ice cream and this, a raspberry ricotta tart. I’m calling it a tart but it could also be a crostata, I think.  This is real simple, rustic, beautiful summer eating. I wasn’t even planning on posting this until one of my guests stated that this was his favorite thing of the entire meal. If you have the ingredients on hand it only takes moments to put together. Again, perfect for summer. The base is puff pastry (who doesn’t love that?), so you can either make your own or use store-bought. While I actually like making my own (I am a glutton for punishment) and keeping it in the freezer, I had a sheet of store-bought sitting in the freezer and used that. Whatever you have will work. Bake on!

1 sheet puff pastry
1 small container ricotta cheese (I think mine was 225 g)
1/4 cup runny honey
1/4 granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 egg yolks (save or freeze the whites for another use)
2 pints fresh raspberries, divided

Preheat your oven the 425 F

Roll out your sheet of puff pastry to approximately 12 x 15. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make a small lip by folding over the pastry about 1/3 of an inch all around. Lightly prick the center portion with the tines of a fork. Place the sheet into the freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a medium-sized bowl add the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, honey, sugar and corn starch. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the bowl (Do not throw out the pod-save for another use). Stir everything together for about 1 minute, making sure it is fully smooth and blended.

Take the pastry out of the freezer and gently pour the cheese mixture into the middle of the tart. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly out, to about 1/8 inch of the border. If some goes onto the border, don’t worry, this will add to its rustic charm. Evenly sprinkle one pint of the raspberries over the top. Brush the border with a little cream or an egg wash (this helps to give it that golden brown color).
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. As soon as it comes out,immediately sprinkle the other pint of raspberries over the top and drizzle a little more honey (if you wish) over the top. Let cool completely. Enjoy!

P.S.- since writing this 45 minutes ago, I have picked another 1 pound 4 ounces!!!!!

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Ricotta Cheese Crostata

This months Bakers Challenge  was brought us by Simona  from briciole. It is a simple, yet delicious, Italian tart traditionally made with a jam filling or pastry cream and fresh fruit. I chose to do another  Italian filling; ricotta cheese with Marsala soaked raisins.

The pastry dough is extremely easy to work with. I used almond flour in combination with all-purpose and whole wheat flour.  You can’t really tell from the picture but there is a lattice crust on top. It was very simple to do and makes any dessert look elegant. I covered mine with some sliced almonds before baking to enhance the nuttiness of the crust but you can leave your plain so the lattice is the focal point; just brush the lattice with an egg wash before baking to give it a nice shine.

There are so many variations for fillings, so use your imagination and have fun!

Pasta Frolla (Italian shortbread pastry) 


  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar (I like to use vanilla sugar)*
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons  unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour, or almond meal, or coconut flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons [90ml, 85 g, 3 oz] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Superfine sugar is often also referred to as ultrafine, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. It’s available in most supermarkets. If you cannot find “superfine” sugar, you can make your own by putting some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and letting it run until the sugar is finely ground.

I make vanilla sugar by putting the pods of vanilla beans (after I have scraped out the seeds) into my sugar container. Shake it well after 1 or 2 days to evenly distribute. It will infuse the sugar with the most heavenly vanilla fragrance.


2 C whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp Foira di Sicilia or vanilla extract
1/2 C raisins, soaked in 1/4 C Marsala wine (or rum) for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.

Combine all the filling ingredients, except the raisins, in a food processor and whirl for 1 minutes. It will become very smooth and creamy. Drain the raisins and stir into the cheese mixture. Pour into the prepared crust. Place your reserved pie strips in a lattice fashion across the top and sprinkle generously with sliced almonds. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a golden brown. Let cool completely before taking it out of the tart pan.
This will keep very well in the fridge for up to 5 days, but bring it back to room temperature before serving.

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With summer coming to end I am finding myself with so many berries around the house and I still can’t resist a good buy when I see them at the store, so besides being busy freezing fruit for the winter I am, of course, baking.  This past weekend we stayed at our friends place in Fernie, BC for the night to break up our drive down to Montana. Since they were so gracious as to lend us their house for the night I thought I would leave them a little treat for when they arrived the next day. This tart is so easy it doesn’t even really need a “recipe” but is still so yummy and summery that it should be made over and over again.

The base of  tart was, obviously, a tart shell. I still had a batch of  pate sucree in the freezer from when I made the Raspberry tart last week so I was already half way there. You could easily use a store bought shell but it is so much easier (and tastier)to just make a double batch and freeze the leftover portion so you will have it ready in a pinch.Your choice.
After blind baking my shell for 20 minutes, I left it to cool while I prepared the blueberries. Since my berry tart last week used uncooked berries I decided to cook these blueberries just a bit. I put the blueberries in a saucepan IMG_3522with sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and cooked it down over medium heat for only 5 minutes before adding  the cornstarch slurry. I then brought it up to a boil , stirring it, and then took it off the heat to cool.

The marscapone layer took even less time to make but is so sublime you realize once again that the simplest recipes, if made with good ingredients, are simply, the best.


I simply whipped up the room temperature marscapone cheese by hand and added honey,orange zest and juice.

Again, I said this was easy.

Next I spread this luscious cheese fiiling into the tart shell and then covered with the cooled blueberry filling and placed in the fridge  until ready to go.


Cooled tart shell
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp orange zest
3 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp fresh orange juice
Cornstarch slurry: 1 tblsp corstarch mixed with 2 tblsp cool water
1 small tub marscapone cheese
4 tblsp runny honey (or to suit your sweet tooth)
2 tsp orange zest
1 tblsp fresh orange juice

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Fresh Berries


When I first moved to Calgary 6 years ago I planted this little Charlie Brown raspberry stick into the ground that has slowly but surely been growing little by little every year. Well, this year it is finally coming into it’s own. While it still can’t compete with other raspberry groves out there, I have been very happy with the amount of berries I have been getting this year. My daughter Scarlet is out there almost every morning eating most of them off the bushes before I can even get to them but I was still able to get this nice bowlfull to make a fresh fruit tart for my husband to take to a b-b-q.

IMG_3491I made a pate sucree,filled it with a somewhat thin layer of pastry cream, then topped with my luscious rasberries and a few blueberries

2 C flour
3/4 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
10 Tbsp butter, cold and cut up
2 eggs
1 Tbsp ice water

whirl up in the food processor, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about an hour. Roll out and blind bake for 15 minutes at 425 and then for another 7-8 minutes. Let cool.

Pastry Cream:
1 C light cream
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 egg yolks
pinch salt

bring the cream ,vanilla,almond,& 1 Tbsp sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, stir together the yolks,the other Tbsp sugar, salt and the cornstarch.Temper with the hot milk, then pour back into the pot and cook over low heat,stirring the entire time, until thickened-maybe 3 minutes. Cool in an ice bath or cover with wrap and place in the fridge.
When cool, spread into the tart chell and cover with the fruit of your choice. I lightly glazed mine with some pansy jam to give it a nice sheen and in the end I sprinkled some toasted almond slices on topIMG_3496

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