Prune and almond tart

Serves 8. Be sure to make a good strong tea (I used about one tablespoon of loose Earl Grey tea leaves to the two cups of water) for soaking the prunes.

1 partially pre-baked and cooked flaky sweet pastry shell
2 cups strong black tea
1 pound prunes, pitted

The cream filling

1/4 cup whole unbleached almonds
1 large egg, slightly beaten
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp eau-de-vie or brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream

The garnish

1 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar

  • At least one hour before preparing the tart, pour the hot tea aver the prunes and set aside to marinate.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Prepare the cream filling:
    • In a spice grinder or the bowl of a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder.
    • Thoroughly blend the almonds with the egg, sugar, brandy, and cream.
    • The mixture should be very smooth.
  • Drain the prunes, discarding all of the soaking liquid.
  • Carefully arrange the prunes in the cooled, pre-baked tart shell.
  • This will seem like a lot of prunes, and you may have to arrange them in two layers.
  • Pour the cream filling over the prunes and place the tart in the center of the oven.
  • Bake until the cream filling has set and the tart shell is nicely browned, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Source: Patricia Wells, New York Times Magazine (11/5/89)

Pear pecan tart

Buy the pears a few days in advance. They should be ripe but firm.

Pate sucrée

For 2 galettes – 10 1/2 inch pie pans

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg & 1 egg yolk beaten
1 cup of roasted pecan (ground in food processor)

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl and work until you can form a ball that holds together.
  • Place on the table and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into 2 pieces.
  • Reserve one piece and refrigerate.
  • Roll the other into a 12 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • It helps to roll the dough on a plastic sheet that provides good support when the dough is lifted around the rolling pin, then unrolled into the pie shell. This step can be tricky when the dough is too soft since it breaks easily. Either refrigerate it for a while or simply press the dough in the pie pan by hand.
  • Make a border about 1/2 inch high (thicker at the base for preventing border from collapsing during cooking).
  • Cut off any dough above that and reserve with the other half of the dough in the refrigerator for another pie.
  • Refrigerate until firm while preheating the oven at 400°F.
  • Cook for 12 to 15 min.

Filling

4 or 5 pears thinly sliced (half then quartered, each quarter cut into 3 segments)
1 egg
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of ground roasted pecans
2 tsp of sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F
  • Arrange the segments in a circular pattern like a flower. In the center overlap segments in a straight line. It’s easier.
  • Mix the egg, the cream, the sugar and the pecans.
  • Pour over the space between the pears.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle sugar all over the pie and put under the broiler until slightly brown.
  • This pie is best eaten at room temperature or slightly warm.

Orange sunburst tart

Pate sucrée

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg & 1 egg yolk

  • Combine ingredients in a bowl and work until it holds together.
  • Place on the counter and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into 2 pieces. Refrigerate.
  • Roll into a 10 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place in preheated oven at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes.

Orange custard

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
4 Tbsp of pastry flour
a pinch of grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups of orange juice
4 Tbsp of sweet butter
1 Tbsp of Cointreau
8 California navel oranges for the decoration (skin of each wedge removed)

  • Beat the yolks and the sugar until pale yellow (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the pastry flour, the orange peel and finally the orange juice in a continuous stream.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 3 1/2 quart saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes very thick (about 10 minutes).
  • Cool the pan in cold water and continue mixing.
  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
  • Cream 4 Tbsp of butter with the heel of your hand to soften it and whisk into the orange custard a little at a time.
  • Add the Cointreau.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

Assembling the tart

  • Fill the tart shell with the orange custard.
  • Just before serving, arrange the wedges in concentric circles to make a sunburst design.

Mousse à l’orange

Serves 8.

4 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
3 eggs separated & 1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp of butter
1/2 cup of frozen orange juice
2 Tbsp of Grand Marnier
1/2 cup of cream, whipped (for decoration)
2 oranges (peeled and skin of each wedge removed)

  • In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, mix the flour and sugar together.
  • Break 4 egg yolks in another bowl and beat slightly.
  • Pour half the boiling milk in the flour-sugar mixture and whisk vigorously to break any lumps.
  • Mix the beaten egg yolks as well.
  • Add the rest of the milk to the mixture.
  • Return to cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and add the softened butter, the frozen orange juice, and the Grand Marnier.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to use, beat the mousse and pour into 8 individual glasses.
  • Decorate with the whipped cream and the wedges of orange.

Fraises Margot

This is a strawberry mousse with pistachios and coulis. The recipe creates enough for a 6 cup charlotte mold.

2 pint baskets strawberries, washed and dried; get 5 extra strawberries for decoration

(or 16 oz. package of frozen whole strawberries – a better choice in winter)
2 pint baskets strawberries, washed and dried; get 5 extra strawberries for decoration 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
Juice of one lemon, strained
1 1/2 envelopes gelatine (3 tsp, one envelope is 2 tsp)
1 cup of whipped cream & 1/4 cup for decoration
50 shelled pistachios

Strawberry coulis

Strawberry puree (from above)
1/2 cup of instant dissolving sugar
2 Tbsp of lemon juice

Chantilly cream

Reserved whipped cream
Drops of vanilla extract
1 tsp of instant dissolving sugar

  • Set aside 5 small, perfect strawberries for garnish, hull the remainder, and puree in a food processor.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the mousse, the rest for the strawberry coulis.
  • Prepare the strawberry coulis:
    • Pass the reserved puree through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
    • Whisk in sugar and lemon juice; refrigerate.
  • Prepare the pistachios:
    • Bring a saucepan of water to boil.
    • Add the pistachios and remove the pan from the heat.
    • Let stand for 10 minutes.
    • Drain and rinse in cold water.
    • Peel and chop coarse; set aside.
  • Add the 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and the lemon juice to the 1 1/2 cups of puree.
  • Sprinkle the gelatine on 1/4 cup of water in a heatproof container and let stand 5 minutes until softened.
  • Bring 2 to 3 inches of water to a simmer in a small pan.
  • Set the container of gelatine in it until liquid.
  • Whisk the liquified gelatine into the sweetened strawberry puree.
  • Add the chopped pistachios.
  • Beat 1 cup of the whipped cream and fold in the strawberry mixture.
  • Sprinkle the inside of a charlotte mold with cold water.
  • Pour in the strawberry-cream mixture.
  • Refrigerate for at least 5 to 6 hours.

Final preparation

  • Not more than 1 hour before serving whipped the remainder of the cream with the drops of vanilla until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and beat some more.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a medium star tip.
  • Fill with the Chantilly cream and refrigerate.
  • Unmold the dessert:
    • Dip the mold into hot water for a few seconds.
    • Invert on a dessert platter.
  • Decorate with the fresh strawberries, cut in thin slices, and the Chantilly cream.
  • Serve with the coulis.

Raspberries Sabayon

For 8 people.

4 packages of raspberries

Sauce

4 egg yolks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream

Make sauce:

  • In top of double boiler, with rotary beater or wire whisk, beat egg yolks, confectioner sugar and sherry until light.
  • Place over hot, not boiling, water; water should not touch bottom of double boiler top.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Refrigerate 3 hours. Mixture thickens. Mix it well again as it separates a bit.
  • In the meantime clean the raspberries and separate them in 8 fireproof dishes.
  • In medium bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form when beater is raised.
  • Carefully fold in chilled sauce.
  • Pour the sauce over the raspberries and set under the broiler until it turns golden in color.
  • The raspberries should still be uncooked and cool underneath.

Pommes Normande en belle vue

4 lbs cooking apples (peel, core and slice for about 10 cups)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
grated peel of one lemon
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of a good cognac or apple brandy
4 Tbsp of butter
4 eggs & 1 egg white

Caramel

1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp of water

  • Cook the apples over high heat, covered for 10 min.
  • Turn down the heat and cook for another 15 minutes or until tender and broken down.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • While the apples are cooking, make the caramel with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp of water in a saucepan.
  • As soon as it turns gold in color, line a 6 cup, fireproof, cylindrical mold.
  • Mix together the cinnamon, peel of lemon and sugar and add to the apple sauce.
  • Boil until the apples are reduced to a thick purée. You should have about 4 cups of applesauce.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the cognac or brandy and the butter.
  • One by one, beat in the eggs and the egg white.
  • Turn the apple mixture into the caramel-lined mold.
  • Cover with a plate and set in a deep saucepan with boiling water.
  • Place in lower third of preheated oven and cook for 1 hour.
  • Uncover and cook until the dessert shrinks from the side and the top is set except at the very center.
  • Check with a knife after about 1/2 hour.
  • Remove the mold from the saucepan and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Reverse on a serving dish and serve warm.
  • To serve cold, chill overnight and reverse on a serving dish; in a few minutes it will dislodge itself from the mold.
  • Simmer some brandy in the mold to dissolve any remaining caramel and strain over the dessert.
  • You can also serve it with a warm crème anglaise.

Poires Charpini

Pastry cream

2 Tbsp of cornstarch
2 Tbsp of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
3 egg yolks
3 cups of milk
3 Tbsp of butter – 2 Tbsp of liqueur (pear brandy)
2 Tbsp of crystallized ginger

  • In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, bring 3 cups of milk to a boil on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, sift cornstarch and flour into a 3 quart mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the sugar.
  • Break 3 egg yolks in another bowl and beat slightly.
  • Quickly pour half the boiling milk in the flour-sugar-cornstarch mixture.
  • Whisk vigorously to break any lumps.
  • Mix in the beaten egg yolks.
  • Add the rest of the milk to the mixture. Return to cook over medium heat until the custard thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and add the soften butter.
  • Mix well and add the liqueur.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • When ready to use add the crystallized ginger.

Poached pears

4 Anjou pears
1/2 lemon
1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water

  • Cut the pears lengthwise, peel and core them.
  • Rub half a lemon on the pears to keep them from darkening.
  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water in each of two skillets.
  • Cook to dissolve the sugar.
  • Pour 4 pear half in each skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side, ladling syrup on top of the pears. They should be tender but not mushy.
  • Remove the pears and dice in 1/2″ cubes.
  • Put the cubes in glasses and fill with the pastry cream. Refrigerate.
  • Combine the cooking syrup in one skillet.
  • Cook until it caramelized.
  • Ladle the hot caramel over each glass.

Pêches Cardinal

6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
8 large ripe (but firm) peaches, peeled, halved and stoned
1 vanilla bean or 3 Tbsp of vanilla extract
Whole raspberries for garnish

Sauce Cardinal

2 ten-ounces packages of frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained
2 Tbsp of superfine sugar
1 Tbsp of kirsch

Crème Chantilly

3/4 cup of heavy cream
2 Tbsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of vanilla extract

  • In a heavy 4 quart saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Boil for 3 minutes and reduce the heat as low as possible.
  • Add the peaches and vanilla and poach them uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes or until barely tender when pierced with a knife.
  • Refrigerate in the syrup until cold.

Sauce Cardinal

  • With a wire whisk or food processor, purée the raspberries.
  • Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  • Stir in the sugar and the kirsch.
  • Refrigerate, covered.

Crème Chantilly

  • Whip the cream until it thickens.
  • Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp of sugar and the vanilla.
  • Continue beating until the cream hold soft peaks.

To serve

  • Transfer the chilled peaches to individual dessert dishes.
  • Discard the syrup.
  • Mask each peach with the sauce Cardinal and decorate with the chantilly.
  • Garnish with whole raspberries.

Pears Sabayon

This is a simple dessert to make. Yet it can look very sophisticated when served in large glasses. The pears should be ripe for good flavor but firm to hold their shape while cooking.

1 cup granulated sugar
4 fresh pears, pared, halved, and cored

Sauce

4 egg yolks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream

  • In 4-quart saucepan, combine granulated sugar and 3 cups water; heat to melt sugar.
  • Add the pears, cover and simmer gently until tender – about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Refrigerate pears in their syrup several hours.
  • Make Sauce:
    • In top of double boiler, with rotary beater or wire whisk, beat egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar and sherry until light in color.
    • Place over hot, not boiling, water; water should not touch bottom of double boiler top.
    • Cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes.
    • Refrigerate 3 hours. Mixture thickens. Mix it well again as it separates a bit.
    • In medium bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form when beater is raised.
    • Carefully fold in chilled sauce.
  • Drain pears. Serve topped with sauce.