Apple Crostata for Two
We went apple picking and we have A LOT of apples around here so I’ve been thinking of ways to use them up but keep it simple at the same time. I just don’t want to go to the trouble of baking a whole pie for two people. These mini apple crostatas are easy and quick to throw together with their fold-over crust. The apples are spiced with a little cinnamon and cardamom, one spice that is comfortingly familiar and the other is appealingly different. These crostatas are rustic and elegant and just the thing to treat yourself without over-doing it as you only get one. You have to share the other! 🙂
Using a mix of sweet and tart apples offers a perfect balance of flavors. I used Stayman Winesap and Red Delicious as that is what we picked on our apple picking trip to Terhune Orchards.
You don’t want the filling to be dry so to remedy this, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar and dotted butter over the crostatas.
Allowing the tarts to cool on a wire rack is the last small but significant step toward a crisp crust. This keeps the crust from steaming itself as it cools.
For the effort used to throw together these crostatas, the reward was amazing!
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
- 2/3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 small tart apple like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small sweet apple like Macintosh, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons white sugar (plus one teaspoon for sprinkling over crostata before baking)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- Process the flour and salt in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds.
- Scatter butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Continue to pulse, adding 1 tablespoon ice water at a time until the dough forms a ball, about 10 pulses.
- Transfer the dough to the counter.
- Divide dough in half, then form each half into a 3-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let chilled dough sit on the counter to soften slightly for about 10 minutes before rolling.
- Roll each disk of dough into a 7-inch circle between 2 small sheets of floured parchment paper. If the dough sticks, gently loosen and lift sticky area and dust parchment with more flour. Slide dough circles, still between the parchment onto baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 15 to 30 minutes. If refrigerated longer and the dough is hard and brittle, let it sit at room temperature until pliant.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss apples, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and cardamom together in a medium bowl. Remove top sheet of parchment from each dough round. Stack half of apples onto circle, leaving 1 1/2 inch border of dough around edge and reserving a few apple slices to fill in the the middle of the crostata.
- Fill in the middle of the crostata with the reserved apple slices. Fold outermost 1 inch of dough over the apples, pleating it every 1 or 2 inches as needed. Be careful to leave a 1/2 inch border of dough around edge of apples as this will help to keep the apple juices from leaking. Repeat with remaining apples and dough round.
- Lightly brush the top and sides of dough with the egg white and sprinkle crostata with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Dot crostatas evenly with the butter.
- Bake crostatas until the crust is golden and crisp and the apples are tender, 35-40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the crostatas to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then use the parchment to gently transfer the crostatas to a wire rack. Use a spatula to loosen crostatas from parchment and remove parchment paper. Let cool on the rack until apple juice has thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.
We saw this cute dog on our way out of Terhune Orchards and I had to get a pic of him. <3
Easy Sour Cream Biscuits for Two
I love biscuits for breakfast but most of the time I don’t feel like going to the trouble of cutting in butter, and rolling out and cutting the dough, especially before coffee! I just want a hassle free breakfast. These biscuits are light, tender and buttery with a nice tang from the sour cream and a golden-brown exterior. I like that they make such a small batch and that’s another reason I want a simple recipe. It just doesn’t seem worth it to go to a lot of trouble for 4 biscuits. I need a recipe that’s quick and easy and this one is just that! Just stir, scoop, and bake!
Go ahead and adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Add the sour cream and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into the dry ingredients.
Stir everything until just combined.
Using a quarter cup spring-loaded ice cream scoop, or a greased 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out and drop the dough onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet spacing them out about 2 inches apart. Brush them with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking. Let the biscuits cool for 10 minutes.
I ate mine with butter and mango-peach preserves!
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for brushing on top of the biscuits before baking.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sour cream and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and stir until just combined.
- Using a greased 1/4 cup measuring cup or a #16 ice cream scoop, scoop out and drop dough onto prepared baking sheet spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted butter.
- Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Cool biscuits for 10 minutes and serve warm.
- Use a spring loaded #16 ice cream scoop for easy portioning or if you don't have one a greased 1/4 cup dry measuring cup works too.
Key Lime Pie for Two
Key lime pie always reminds me of my wedding in Key West so Key lime pie always makes me happy! Key limes were actually the jumping off point for our theme. We had a Key lime cake and the florist used Key limes in some of the arrangements. We also sampled LOTS of Key lime pie while on our honeymoon. I can’t wait to go back! In the mean time I will console myself with these cute little individual sized Key lime pies. I wanted something that tasted like those pies in Key West but we also don’t need to eat a whole pie so these perfect little portion control pies for two really have that authentic taste I was looking for!
You can use regular grocery store limes in this recipe. I’m in New York so Key limes aren’t readily available. You won’t be able to taste the difference, I promise! IF you do have Key limes available to you, you will need 10 of them to get 1/4 cup juice. You will also need two mini pie plates, like these: Corningware French White III Mini Pie Plate. These are 5.4 inch x 1 inch. It’s also important to add the filling to the crust while it’s still warm so the filling “sticks” to the crust and doesn’t separate when you cut into it. If your crust does cool off though you can rewarm it in the oven for 5 minutes before adding the filling.
The filling is really simple. Just whisk the egg yolks and lime zest until the mixture has a light green tint, about one minute.
Next you’ll whisk in the condensed milk and then the lime juice of two limes to total 1/4 cup. Don’t be tempted to use bottled lime juice, it’s just so tart tasting and you won’t get a great tasting pie. Cover the mixture and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will thicken it.
While the filling is thickening make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and heat it to 325°. Process the graham crackers in the food processor, mix in the butter and sugar. Sprinkle crumb mixture between the two pie plates and using the bottom of a measuring cup press the crumbs into and even layer on bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust until it’s fragrant and beginning to brown, about 13-18 minutes. Transfer the pie plates to a wire rack but don’t turn off the oven yet. Add the filling to the warm crust.
Bake pies until the center is firm but jiggles slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the pies cool on a wire rack for about an hour and then wrap them loosely and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Now we didn’t come all this way to put imitation topping on our cute little pies. This topping is super simple and quick. It’s lightly sweetened and perfectly balances the tartness of these pies so don’t skip it! Using your handheld mixer beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl on medium low speed until foamy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form, about another minute longer. Spread over the top of the chilled pies and have a taste of Key West!
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup lime juice (2 medium limes)
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 4 whole graham crackers or a heaping 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk egg yolks and lime zest until mixture is light green, about one minute. Whisk in condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in the lime juice. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will thicken the filling.
- While the filling is thickening adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process graham crackers in the food processor to fine even crumbs or if you're using graham cracker crumbs that have already been processed measure out a heaping 1/4 cup. Add melted butter and sugar to crumbs and either pulse or stir to combine.
- Divide mixture between the two pie dishes and using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and beginning to brown, 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer pie plates to wire rack; don't turn off the oven. (Crust must still be warm when filling is added.)
- Pour thickened filling into the warm pie crusts, dividing equally. Bake pies until center is firm but jiggles slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let pies cool on a wire rack for an hour and then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is chilled and set, about 3 hours.
- Using a handheld mixer set at medium-low speed, ,beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Divide the whipped cream in half and spread on each chilled pie.
- If using Key limes you will need 10. Be sure to add filling warm crust. If it has cooled you'll need to rewarm it for 5 minutes before adding the filling.
Fresh Strawberry Mousse for Two
It’s finally strawberry season here! I usually make jam or strawberry shortcake but I wanted to elevate them somehow and this recipe feels very summery and elegant! I love that you can make it up to 48 hours in advance too.
This make-ahead strawberry mousse is rich, creamy and full of intense berry flavor! Processing the strawberries into small pieces and letting them sit with sugar and a little salt causes them to release liquid. Reducing that into a syrup before adding it to the mousse reduces the amount of moisture in the dessert and concentrates the berry flavor. Pureeing the juiced berries results in bright, fresh berry flavor. Gelatin adds structure and cream cheese gives the mousse the perfect rich and creamy texture!
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled (3 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- Cut enough strawberries into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1/2 cup and refrigerate until ready to garnish. Pulse the remaining strawberries in a food processor until most pieces are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick about 6 to 10 pulses. Transfer strawberries to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. (Don't clean the processor.) Cover the bowl and let strawberries stand for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Strain processed strawberries through a fine-mesh strainer into bowl, you should have about 1/3 cup juice. Measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons juice into small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the juice, and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Place remaining juice in small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add softened gelatin mixture, and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
- While juice is reducing, return strawberries to empty processor and process until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on the solids to remove seeds and pulp, you should have 3/4 to 1 cup puree. Discard the solids in the strainer. Add strawberry puree to juice-gelatin mixture and whisk until combined.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Portion into dessert dishes and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours. Serve, garnishing with reserved diced strawberries.
- If chilled longer than 6 hours, let mousse sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Blueberry Muffins for Two
When I wake up on a Saturday morning and I want just want something quick and easy these blueberry muffins are great! They are loaded with sweet juicy blueberries and the hint of lemon zest adds just the right amount of tartness. This recipe only makes 4 muffins, two for each of you and you’ll want two; one just won’t cut it! I could have had all four but we’re supposed to be practicing a little restraint here. I mean that’s what this site is all about! Portion control for two! Plus, it’s not nice to not share. 🙂
Blueberries are one of those fruits you can get at the grocery store when they aren’t in season and they still taste really good.
Blend the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients, (yogurt, egg, and lemon zest) until smooth in another bowl. After mixing both together gently fold in the blueberries and coconut oil, or butter if you prefer.
Sprinkle the lemon zest-sugar mixture before baking.
Bake in a 325 degree oven until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.
…and you’re done! See how easy that was? Remember to share and if you don’t feel like you’ve had enough bake them again on Sunday morning! 🙂
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, divided
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup blueberry yogurt or plain if you don't have blueberry
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted and cooled, or butter if you prefer
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 4 cups of a muffin tin with baking spray.
- Combine sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside for sprinkling on top of batter before baking.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt, egg, and remaining 1/4 tsp. lemon zest together until smooth. Gently fold yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined, then fold in the melted butter and blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 4 prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle sugar topping over muffins. Bake until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
- Let muffins cool in the muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and let cool for 10 minutes before serving, if you can wait that long!
Apple Upside-Down Cake
Growing up in Florida I never saw an apple tree, I saw plenty of orange trees but always wished I could go apple picking. I would see images of people on fun apple picking outings and feel instantly envious! I wanted fall leaves and crisp cool autumn days! While everyone up north was wearing cozy fall sweaters I was still wearing my shorts and flip flops and blasting the air-conditioner! (I have to admit though that when there’s so much ice on the ground in the winter that I can’t walk my chihuahua I wish for Florida weather! ) Ack! We wish for what we don’t have sometimes! 😛
I didn’t get to see a real live apple tree until I moved to New York six years ago. Since picking my own apples was something I always wanted to do, when I got the chance I picked way too many for two people to ever eat! We gave some away but still had too many so I started making spiced apples in the crockpot for spooning over vanilla ice cream and stirring into oatmeal but I wanted to try a recipe that just lets the flavor of the apples shine through. I think this upside-down cake recipe really showcases my gorgeous apples without hiding behind a lot of spices although if you really wanted to you could certainly throw in some apple pie spice if you like.
The cake part of the recipe is really just a quick bread so it comes together easily plus the addition of cornmeal in the batter helps the cake hold up to the weight of the apples. Pre-cooking some of the apples before putting them in the bottom of the pan infuses the apples with caramel-like buttery goodness!
I definitely recommend using firm apples like Granny Smith so that your apples hold their shape during the cooking process. I did mix it up with what I used but all the apples I had were pretty firm.
You will need a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides for this cake. If you don’t have one you could use an 8-inch square pan. Give this easy cake a try and let me know what you think!
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for pan
- 4 Granny Smith apples or firm red apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and cored
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE TOPPING
- Generously butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round, 2-inch-deep nonstick cake pan; set aside. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut all apples in half, then cut 2 of the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; set aside. Cut remaining 2 apples into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Heat butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add 1/2-inch-thick apple slices and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, about 6 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Add 1/4-inch-thick apple slices, brown sugar, and lemon juice; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are coated, about 1 minute longer. Transfer apple mixture to prepared pan and lightly press into even layer. Set aside while preparing cake.
- FOR THE CAKE
- Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in large bowl until thick and well mixed, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly over apples. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cool pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Place a wire rack over cake pan. Holding rack tightly, invert the cake pan and wire rack together; lift off cake pan. Place wire rack over baking sheet or large plate to catch any drips. If any fruit sticks to pan bottom, remove and place it on top of the cake. Let cake cool for 20 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter.
Orange and Rosemary Roasted Turkey Breast
This roasted turkey breast is super easy and tastes amazing with the orange and rosemary mixture roasted under the skin. Starting the turkey off at a higher temperature ensures that the skin is crisp and then lowering the temperature to keep the meat moist results in the perfect main course for your Thanksgiving.
Sometimes you just don’t want or need a whole turkey so roasting a turkey breast is the perfect option. A turkey breast is perfect for a small gathering or just for the two of you. You’ll have left-overs but who doesn’t want that? I know I love the left-overs! It seems I enjoy it more the next day anyway. Maybe because all of the frenzy of cooking a big meal is over and you can just relax!
The first thing you’ll do is mix together the butter, garlic, rosemary, orange zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Next you’ll carefully separate the skin from the turkey meat by sliding your hand in between the skin and breast and working your way up to the breast bone. It seems weird at first if you’ve never done it but hang in there…it’s easy! Once you’ve done that you will work half of the softened butter-herb mixture under one half of the turkey breast, repeating the process on the other side of the turkey breast.
Using your hands again, gently rub the turkey skin to evenly distribute butter over the entire breast. Basically you’re smoothing out all that butter and herb mixture so it’s evenly distributed under the skin.
Place the turkey in a V-rack sprayed with cooking spray and set it inside a large roasting pan. Pour one cup of water into the roasting pan.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue roasting turkey until the thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 whole turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), bone-in and skin-on, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
- 1 cup water
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix butter, garlic, rosemary, orange zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Carefully separate turkey skin from meat over breast; avoid breaking the skin.
- Work the butter mixture under skin on both sides of breast and rub skin of turkey to evenly distribute butter over breast. Spray V-rack with nonstick cooking spray and set inside large roasting pan. Place turkey in rack with skin side facing up; pour water into roasting pan.
- Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue to roast turkey until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
If the only succotash you’ve ever had was corn and lima beans, frozen in a bag and drowned in a heavy cream sauce then you have to try this recipe! It’s so easy and quick to put together using fresh corn off the cob. You absolutely don’t want to substitute the fresh corn in this recipe for frozen or canned. The crisp kernels really make this a stand out dish that everyone will love.
I know, I know…nobody loves to take the corn off of the cob. It can be a messy job! I have a trick that makes removing the corn from the cob super simple and neat. Just place the stem of your corn cob into the hole of a bundt pan and then remove the kernels with a sharp knife. The bundt pan catches the kernels with no mess!
To keep this recipe quick and easy I’m using canned butter beans for a creamy consistency and mild flavor, reserving some of the liquid to make a light sauce. Fresh red peppers add gorgeous color along with onion and garlic sauteed in a little butter because well…corn and butter just go together! Adding a little lemon juice to the reserved butter bean liquid really brightens everything up, don’t skip it. Parsley adds more freshness to the flavors and the little kick of cayenne makes this dish perfect! It tastes like summer on a plate!
- 1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, 2 tablespoons liquid reserved, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
- 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs or approximately 3 cups
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Stir reserved 2 TBSP of bean liquid and lemon juice together in small bowl and set aside. Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add corn and beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn and beans have cooked through, about 4 minutes only. Add the bean liquid mixture and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Do not substitute frozen or canned corn.
Rustic Free-Form Tartlets for Two
I love summer fruit pies but making a whole pie for just two people is just too much not to mention the pie crust takes time. This simple free-form tartlet is a great alternative to pie.
I wanted a flaky crust so I learned a new technique called fraisage, in which the dough is smeared with the heel of your hand, spreading the butter pieces into long, thin streaks between layers of flour and water. This technique is perfect for free-form tarts where leaking might be a concern. Because you are creating alternating layers of butter and dough, you are less likely to get a clump of butter that will melt during baking and form a hole in your crust as it bakes.
The dough is then lifted up and back over the fruit leaving the center exposed, and loosely pleated. The fruit needs only the simple addition of sugar, 3 to 5 tablespoons depending on the type of fruit.
Some of the best mix of fruits are stone fruits and berries (I’m using peaches and blueberries but plum and raspberries or apricots and blackberries would be delicious too), you can use only one type of fruit if you prefer. Peeling the stone fruit, even the peaches, is not necessary.
Taste the fruit before adding sugar to it; use the lesser amount if the fruit is very sweet, more if it is tart. Be sure not to add the sugar to the fruit until you are ready to fill and form the tart, the sugar releases the juice in the fruit and you’ll end up with a soggy crust if done too soon.
Once baked, the tartlets are best eaten warm, or within 3 or 4 hours, although you can reheat them in a 350-degree oven. Don’t forget to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream…heaven!
- 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces), plus additional for work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 - 3 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 2 medium peaches
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 - 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling
- In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine, about three 1-second pulses. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour, then pulse until the texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas, eight 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over the mixture and process for two pulses; repeat using 1 teaspoon at a time until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. Empty dough onto your work surface; dough will be crumbly (if the dough has large dry areas, sprinkle additional 1 teaspoon water over dry areas and incorporate by gently fluffing entire amount of dough with fingers). Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough mound about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide (mound should be perpendicular to edge of counter). Beginning from farthest end, use the heel of your hand to smear about one third of dough against work surface away from you. Repeat until all the dough has been worked. Using the bench scraper, gather dough again and repeat. Dough should now be cohesive. Form dough into 3-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm but malleable, about 1 hour.
- During the last 30 minutes of chilling, prepare fruit. Halve and pit stone fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Gently wash and dry the berries and combine the fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- (If dough has chilled longer than 1 hour and is cold and hard, let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) Divide dough into 2 equal portions. On a large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll each dough portion into 7 inch round about 3/16 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. If the dough sticks to parchment, gently loosen and lift sticky area with bench scraper and dust parchment with additional flour. Stack rounds and refrigerate until cool and firm but still pliable, 15 to 30 minutes If refrigerated longer and dough is hard and brittle, let stand at room temperature until pliant.
- Sprinkle fruit with sugar and toss gently to combine. Remove the dough rounds from refrigerator. Mound one half of fruit in center of each dough round, leaving 1 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 1 to 1 1/4 inches over fruit, leaving 1/4-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleat dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. Transfer parchment with tart to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fruit and dough. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle each tartlet with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Bake until deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool tartlets on wire rack 10 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, loosen tartlets from parchment and transfer to a wire rack and cool until warm for about 20 minutes, or to room temperature.
- The amount of water that the dough will require depends on the humidity; in a dry environment, it may need more water, in a humid environment, less. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or tightly wrapped in two sheets of plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week. If at any point the dough becomes soft, sticky, and difficult to work with during rolling, chill it until it becomes workable.