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Challenge: Apple tart a la Amsterdam

12 Jan

Here it is, in all its glory, the Amsterdam apple tart. Part cake, part pie, amazingly delicious. Hannah and I loved this so much on our trip to Amsterdam that we went back to Winkel on our last night in town to try it again. Perfect dessert.

Amsterdam apple tart


So, without further ado, it’s time for us to try making our own.

Here are two recipes I found last year that could guide us to a terrific tart.


Solo project: Tomato tart

5 Sep


Just a quick word about my weeknight dinner experiment: tomato tart.

This sounded like a nice end-of-summer treat, so I bought some cherry tomatoes, made a pie crust and adapted a couple recipes based on what ingredients I had.

Here are the basics.

Pie crust: I’m a crust purist, so I always use an all-butter crust (using Yankee Magazine’s recipe with vinegar, but substitute the shortening for butter). This is also a great tutorial from FoodDay (in The Oregonian) about how to make and flute a pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool a little before filling.

Filling: I adapted a recipe from “The Oregonian Cookbook” by spreading a layer of Grey Poupon country dijon mustard as the base and substituting mozzarella cheese for chevre (sorry, turophiles — had to look that one up). No eggs or cream involved.

Baking: Halved cherry tomatoes went on top, and it baked for 30-45 minutes, until the tops of the tomatoes got close to caramel and the crust browned a bit.

I was initially worried that the juice from the raw tomatoes would make the tart soggy, but I was pleasantly surprised. A tasty and easy weeknight dinner, I’m sure adaptable for all kinds of vegetables.

Apple Galette: Portland

14 Sep


Sadly, these photos are not the best. But this galette was. The reason for the photos is simple: My memory card decided to cease functioning not five minutes before I started baking. The reason for the galette is also simple: This uncomplicated recipe let the apples shine through, complemented by a buttery crust and little sugar or spice. I decided to go free-form with Hannah’s apple tart challenge, as I’ve always been intrigued by the idea, and deliciously pretty presentation, of a galette.

imageI started with what turned out to be way too many darn apples for one galette (see below)…

image…which I later turned into applesauce by adding some of the glaze we were instructed to make (by simmering the reserved apple cores and peels in sugar water for about 30 minutes). I used honeycrisps, as the recipe recommended, and I ended up really liking them.

imageAndrew was in charge of the crust, which I proceeded to almost ruin by giving him too much butter. He pointed out that 6 Tbsp. is not the same as one stick, and we added more flour accordingly to make the dough less buttery and easier to roll out. Still, I had the same troubles as Hannah, in that my dough kept cracking in places. I may go back to my go-to crust recipe, which includes a bit of vinegar. That gives it a more cohesive and more malleable texture. (Also included with this recipe is Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Pie…mmmmmm.)

imageFinally, when the ginormous stack of apples was assembled and ready to go (and after wrestling, yes wrassling) with the crust, we started layering the apple slices.


Last year, around Thanksgiving, I finally learned how to properly crimp a pie crust, thanks to the tutelage of the Internet. Because this dough was prone to cracking, I decided to use this method to make it stick together and look at least slightly put together.


This turned out to be the perfect prelude to fall, with its just-right temperature, apples and pumpkins galore, and my favorite part: soup. Served warm with Tillamook vanilla ice cream, this recipe won my approval.

Challenge #9: Chocolate Espresso Tart

15 Jan

For this challenge, Hannah and I were (surprise, surprise) in the same city, Denver. I went out in January to check out the museums, mountains and mystery of her hometown. We decided because this was a rare opportunity to bake in tandem, we couldn’t pass it up.

I’d gotten Hannah the Martha Stewart “Pies and Tarts” cookbook to complete her trifecta of Martha Stewart baking editions (she also has Cupcakes and Cookies).

We decided to pick something without fresh fruit (not in season) and without booze (heartbreaking, but a bit expensive). We decided on a chocolate espresso tart with ganache and mascarpone cheese.

Check out our next entry, courtesy of Hannah, to see how it turned out.

Chocolate Espresso Tart: Denver

15 Jan

One time, I visited Hannah in Denver, and we made this delicious tart out of Martha Stewart’s new Pies and Tarts book. Here’s a visual journey through the experience. And by the way, the cat hat is tradition.