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Pies - Tarts

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4 Recipes make up one amazing collection of Thanksgiving tastes in one sweet quartet, including Prize Winning Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving Pumpkin Biscuit Pudding, Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pecan Pie and Sticky Toffee Harvest Bread Pudding Cake.  

A gift on behalf of the 49th Parallel to the 44th Presiden and July 4th: a rich pastry crust lines a cheesecake pan  which is then filled with mounds of apple slices, kissed with pure vanilla and fresh lemon juice. Strips of pie or tart pastry , cut in odd shapes with a serrated pastry wheel create the unusual top crust. Any way you patch together the pastry over the fruit will yield a beautiful finished crostata.  The cheesecake pan  - which is a gentle salute to the American touch of cheesecakes and springform pans (which I use for almost any cake) helps girdle the tart into shape for fine dining (and easy serving). I suggest a mix of Golden Delicious, MacInrosh and Cortland apples for this recipe. I have a ton of apple cake recipews but this one is easy, looks elegant and is reflective of the sort of cake Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary might have enjoyed. In honor of things presidential, an apple cake is purportedly on the luncheon menu for the Presidential Inauguration. If you've missed your invite somehow, you can still have a taste of a timeless apple cake, that anyone, president or not, would enjoy. You can also check out the free recipe, Mrs. Lincolns Vanilla Almond Cake

 

Bake and chill and then luxuriate in this rich but not too rich, cottage cheese based sweet almond pie. Serve with sour cream or fruit or plain. This freezes well too. Dry cottage cheese is a kosher style cottage cheese also called hoop or baker’s cheese. You can also use drained curd cottage cheese. For some reason, my gal pals love anything made with dry cottage cheese. It's one of those things that seems 'diet' but in this case, tastes sublime.

This is one of the first tarts anyone learns in hotel school or if you are from Alsace, by your mother’s side. Concentric circles of tender apple, set in vanilla-scented cream and finished with a veneer of apricot glaze. Granny Smith is the usual choice here but a combination of a Cortland and Golden Delicious makes a more flavorful tart. Use fresh autumn apples those taste you prefer and is regional but try to find apples that are both tart and sweet or use a tart one and a sweet one to ensure a bouquet of apple flavor.

A rich pastry crust (not as rich as tart dough) lines a springform works best. This tart is filled with mounds of apples and berries and then topped with more pastry, in a regular or lattice work weave. Use a serrated pastry wheel to cut lattice strips. What's nice about tart doughs, as this one is, is that it lasts longer than pie pastry, making this a good keeper for a few days. This is a lovely fresh tart to have on hand in spring and summer or anytime guests drop by. If you bake it, they will come.

This is the perfect marriage between cake and pastry - it is a showstopper that will bring raves. Use soft sweet apples (such as Golden Delicious and McIntoshe) and a tarter firm variety, for the best flavor. Note: this must be prepared a day ahead. You may replace cranberries with blueberries or use all apples - as long as your pan is all full of fruit.If you are in a hurry, use prepared pie dough or sugar cookie dough to line the pan. This is basically a springform pan lined with dough and tons of fruit. You line the pan with pastry, dump in the apple cranberry filling; bake it and at the end,  pour on this sauce or 'glue' and then refrigerate it. Totally stupendous. Once chilled - the result is tall wedges of solid fruit in a pastry crust. Use a really sharp serrated knife to cut. And shhhh....if you are in a hurried, you can substituted packaged pie dough mix to line the pan.

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Cookbook authors and chefs are taught to write recipes with a certain format in mind. But sometimes I stray and write recipes from my heart and by my senses. This is one such recipe - an apple pie for someone you love. It's hardly the way recipes look these days but it is how I write a recipe in my head and to my mind, how a recipe should really read.

This is a crowd pleaser that adapts to almost any fruit but in summer or fall, it's perfect with an apple-rhubarb combo. A huge, open-faced tart with tastes of summer into fall, red,rosy, sweet and tart and delicious.

Easy as pie
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