Raspberry Lavender Honey Tart

There are 3 things I can always make in a hurry when I have a last minute guest coming over that I want to force-feed my baking: 1. Cupcakes; 2. A fruit tart; and 3. A mess.

#3 always happens whether I want it to or not, and this past weekend I decided to go for a fruit tart, because honestly, it’s super hard to f-k up fruit.

Because it’s the end of summer, and because I love raspberries, I thought: “Let’s make a raspberry tart…wait, wait, wait. No…Let’s make a raspberry tart with CREAM CHEESE and more cream stuff, and vanilla beans, and let’s cap that off with some ultra-fancy lavender honey. YES.”

[*Side note: I’m having this weird thing with lavender right now-I want it in my Earl Grey tea, I want it in my face masks, my body lotion, and now in my tarts. Is this a sign that I’ll be 30 in a few months? Does this mean soon I’ll start salivating over prunes and writing checks to buy groceries? #30Year-OldQuestions.]

The crust is a pâte sucrée, or a sugar crust, used for a lot of fruit tarts, especially somewhat acidic fruits. The crust is still very buttery and flaky, however, and between the slight buttery sweetness, the cold vanilla cream, and the lavender honey-drizzled raspberries, all the flavors and textures come together to make one hell of a tart.

I tried to make the raspberries do this really cool circular thing with almond slivers, but that failed hard, so I just piled it on with wild abandon; which leads me to my final thought: Just remember: even if your baking doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, you will always have one thing ready for your guest: A huge mess 😉

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I found this recipe in Gourmet and modified it a smidge. It’s supposed to make 6 servings but my friend and I ate it in about 3. Mmmmm.

Equipment:

  • 9-inch fluted round tart pan [1 inch deep] with a removable bottom
  • Pie weights or raw rice
  • Dough blender or food processor
  • Electric mixer

Ingredients:

For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbl. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg

For filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche [I used the Madagascar vanilla bean kind. If you can’t find this at your grocery store, just scrape the beans out of one vanilla bean and add].
  • 3 1/2 Tbl. lavender honey [same applies here. If you can’t find lavender honey, add about 1/4 tsp. lavender extract to about 1/4 cup of honey].
  • 4 cups raspberries [18 oz]
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds [optional]

rasptartMake crust: Pulse together all crust ingredients in a food processor just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Or, if using a dough blender, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a dough blender until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Using your hands [I use disposable gloves to disperse heat] mix in the egg.

Put your tart pan on a baking sheet and press the dough evenly onto the bottom and up the side of the tart pan with your fingertips. Chill the shell, covered, on the baking sheet until firm, about 30 min.

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the shell with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil [buttered side down] and fill shell one third of the way up with pie weights.

Bake on the baking sheet until edge is pale golden, about 20-25 min. Carefully remove the pie weights and foil, then bake until the edges and bottom are golden, about 20 min. more. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. [*Note: Tart shell can be made 1 day ahead, but keep it in the tart pan and wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp.]

Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and 1 1/2 Tbl. lavender honey and beat until well-combined. [*Note: Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.]

rasptart2Spread the filling evenly in the shell and let cool in the fridge about 30 min-1 hour. Top the tart with raspberries and slivered almonds. Heat the remaining honey in a very small saucepan or microwave on low heat for about 30 seconds until liquefied. Drizzle honey over the raspberries and almonds. Serve with additional melted honey on the side.

Tart with a view

rasptart3Pile of goodness

rasptart6Side view

rasptart5Slice of everything amazing in life

rasptart8Oh yeah.

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Cranberry Eggnog Tart

Well hello, again. After being off the blogging radar for a few weeks, thanks to a move and now a long trip, I’m back to my barefoot and baking existence. Thank you for your patience!

Kicking off the pre-holidays, I’m here in Ohio visiting the fam for a healthy dose of Addam’s Family living.

Nothing says “hello” to the wee baby Jesus like Spock and T-Rex

xmasI’m also here to keep the Frenchie nugget company while she recovers from the inedible orange jello at the hospital.

Ladies of leisure, darling

leisureBut it’s my dad who sparked my natural inclination towards butter and sugar concoctions by requesting I make Gourmet‘s cranberry eggnog tart from their annual Holiday magazine.

I must admit that the thought of anything cranberry around this season seems fitting, but it’s the smoothness of the gelée, the bourbon in the cream filling, and the buttery cookie-like crust that make this tart, as Gourmet so snootily phrased it, “a choice centerpiece for any table.”

Now before you tell me you’ve never liked eggnog or other such nonsense, think of this more like a layered cheesecake than a milky filling: there’s nothing but cream cheese, crème fraîche and a healthy dose of bourbon…eat a few slices and you’ll be telling your uncle how you can barely notice his hair piece in no time.

Happy almost-holidays, everyone. Stay tuned for the onslaught of baking that can only happen when there’s the perfect storm of holidays, enthusiastic family, and Midwest boredom!

eggnog2[Serves 8-10. *Warning: I found Gourmet‘s recipe to be off in terms of quantity. There wasn’t enough crust to hold the amount of filling made. I’m printing this recipe as is, but if you make it and don’t want to throw away half the filling, either double the crust or halve the eggnog filling recipe. The cranberry gelée is just fine, though.]

Equipment:

  • 10-inch fluted metal quiche pan [2 inches deep] with a removable bottom
  • About 3 cups pie weights or rice/beans.
  • Small offset spatula [optional]
  • Food processor or blender
  • Disposable gloves [optional]
  • Fine-mesh sieve

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg

Filling:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbl. crème fraîche [I found one at Whole Foods that was Madagascar Vanilla Bean so I used that] or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbl. sugar
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbl. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Scant 1/4 tsp. salt

Cranberry gelée:

  • 1 [12 oz] bag fresh or frozen cranberries [NOT thawed]
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice [from about 1 large orange]
  • 1 cup water

Make the crust: Either using a food processor on pulse, or using your hands with disposable gloves, mix all of the crust ingredients together just until a dough forms. Press dough evenly onto the bottom of the pan and 2/3 the way up the sides. Chill until firm, about 30 min.

This is what 2/3 looks like

eggnogMeanwhile, make the gelée: Bring all gelée ingredients to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 min. [jam will thicken as it cools].

Force jam through a VERY fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding skins and seeds [this might take a while, but it’s worth it for the smooth presentation of the tart]. Cool, stirring occasionally.

Finish your crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle. Line the shell with foil and fill with weights. Bake until the edge is PALE golden, 20-25 min. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake shell until edge is golden and bottom is PALE golden, 15-20 min. more. Cool completely in pan on rack. Reduce oven temp. to 300 degrees.

Make the filling: Blend the cream cheese, crème fraîche, and sugar in a food processor or blender until creamy, about 1 min. Add whole eggs, yolks, bourbon, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt and process until smooth.

Melt gelée with 1/4 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Spread half evenly over the bottom of the tart crust [reserving remaining gelée in the saucepan]. Let layer of gelée stand until set, about 10 min. [this is IMPORTANT. If you don’t, the gelée will blend with the filling and you won’t get layers]. Gently pour filling over the gelée.

eggnog3Bake the tart: Cover the edge of the shell with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is set but still trembles slightly in the center, about 35-40 min. Cool tart completely in the pan on a rack. Reheat remaining gelée over low heat, stirring until pourable, then SPOON over filling and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Chill tart, uncovered, until cold, at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, remove side of pan. Tart can be chilled up to 2 days [cover after 2 hours].

eggnog5