Tartine Baking Project: #70 Fresh Fruit Tart

First of all, did you know honey turned into beautiful dew drops when you drizzle it on fruit?!  DID YOU KNOW THAT?  Life changing stuff.

Second of all, it’s happening.  I should say it happened, for the most part – there are just two recipes left after this!  The onslaught of wild and crazy emotions are heavy, and somewhat surprising, as the final recipe approaches.  I felt quite like I did as a senior in high school as I was graduating, “This is the last time I will walk in this hallway.  This is the last time I will eat lunch with my friends.  This is the last paper I will turn in.”  Of course, since graduating high school I’ve walked down hallways, turned in countless papers since then, and have enjoyed many lunches with amazing friends.  I felt the same dramatic tendencies as I made this tart – “This is the last tart shell, the final batch of pastry cream, the final time I’ll need a rolling pin.”  I know I will do all of that so many more times, it’s not like when I spent months training then ran a half marathon and then stopped running for seven months after I finished the race.  Thinking in terms of lasts just seems to be the way I’ve begun to process the end of this project.

Now, let’s chat about the best tart I’ve ever made.  I had so much fun gathering up the necessities for this one.  Produce from Michigan is some high quality stuff.  Seriously, and I’ve lived in California!  We’ve got such amazing fruit, well, usually.  This year we were hit with really early heat.  In March, so much pale winter skin was exposed when we had a string of days that were warm!  The norm is to be bundled up, sometimes well into April.  It didn’t stick, and another freeze came.  The heat wave did stick long enough to trick fruit trees though, which meant a season with no fruit.  And for some, it killed entire trees permanently.  Apple orchards, the idol of fall in Michigan, will have weak crops and will likely have to ship in apples from out of state.  Sheesh!  So sad!  But, I did mention that this tart was the best tart I’ve ever made – I found some really good peaches at the farmers’ market.  Very exciting stuff, folks.

Pastry cream is probably my favorite thing to make, certainly my favorite thing to eat.  I know I’ve said this before, but if I could marry pastry cream I would, I just love it so much.  I’d like to ask Obama and Romney what their thoughts on that would be – I’m assuming neither party could get behind that.  I guess that’s a good thing.  This tart is one of the simplest recipes in the cookbook – sweet tart shell, pastry cream, and fresh fruit.  I added some mint from my backyard, and that magical drizzle of honey.  Dan wants me to add a disclaimer: “It’s really not simple.  I saw you make it, but then eating it – yes, so simple and one of my favorite things you’ve made.”  I’ve made so many tart shells and batches of pastry cream, and it doesn’t feel like a stretch to say it’s simple stuff to make, but to someone who’s never spent time baking I would venture to say it’s not the simplest thing ever.  Simply judging from eating it, such a simple, unfussy dessert.  Perfection, really.

I shared this with a handful of friends, and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.  I keep just staring at the photos and smiling, the same way I look at baby photos of Jack.  It was fun to share with many friends, one of which is pregnant.  She liked it, like really liked it.  She was so excited, it actually made her blush the brightest shade of red I’ve ever seen a person as she let us know just how it made her feel.  Some people say burping after a meal is a compliment, I vote that her response is the highest compliment that ever has been or ever will be.

A giveaway comes along with the final three recipes of the Tartine cookbook!  You could win!!!  Leave a comment here letting me know the best dessert you’ve ever eaten.  All comments need to be left on this post by midnight on September 4th, and I will announce the winner on September 5th here!


UPDATE!  And the winner is…#19!

Craig says:

Beautiful looking fresh fruit tart…. Elegant…
The best dessert I’ve ever eaten is one I can still see how ever far it is from her in Australia and that is simply the Bread (Brioche) Pudding at Tartine…

Congrats!  Please send your mailing address to kastner (dot) emily (at) gmail (dot) com!  So excited for you!  Now you can make that bread pudding you love!



Tartine Baking Project: #53 Frangipane Tart with Raspberries and Kumquat Glaze

There are some things in life that I would pay a lot of money for.  Good shoes.  Good jeans.  Good shampoo.  And, anything involving really good pastry cream.  I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to any dessert with that stuff.  Doughtnuts, éclairs, tarts, etc.  Once I even spit out an éclair because the filling was so off.  I mean that’s not the norm.  Usually, I’d just eat something like that begrudgingly and complain a lot to Dan.  If I’m around anyone else, I’d just have a very whiny inner monologue.  ALL THIS BEING SAID, THIS TART DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE PASTRY CREAM!  But it could.  And that’s my point.  There is the frangipane cream that uses the pastry cream, and then there’s the frangipane variation.  Since I’m baking every single recipe in this cookbook, I found it necessary to use the variation (that doesn’t involve first making pastry cream) in order to check that off the list.  I kept thinking, “This is going to be good…but it probably could even be better if…”  Even as I served it up, I completely had that weird adolescent self-loathing attitude.  “Here’s the frangipane tart guys.  I mean, it’s probably going to be good.  I guess.  Like, maybe.  It could totally be better though.”

Winter fresh local raspberries!  What the what?!  How have I not stumbled on these earlier, like in the real winter?!  Yet another reason I love our local co-op.  Wow.  I was so excited to include these in this tart, it’s unreal.  I was also excited to include some of the kumquat marmalade my friend Lee had made for me as a thank you for some mini chocolate hazelnut tarts I shared.  How sweet!  This recipe called for apricot jam, but I couldn’t resist using what I had available.  Raspberries, kumquats and almonds seemed like a perfect trio.  Now I need to give Lee some of this tart and we’ll just have this amazing cycle of sharing food with each other!

I was so excited to see how it puffed up like it did.  I had no idea what to expect, and this was a perfect goldeny surprise.  You brush the glaze on when it’s still warm from the oven.  Our house was filled with such a brilliant aroma.  I need to find a way to bottle that up and make a candle.  But that’s probably a bad idea.  Those specific candles, like Apple Cinnamon Christmas Pie or Cherry Strudel Baking In The Oven,  are only good for one or two uses, and then you’re like, “I GET IT!”

The finished product was amazing.  Once I took a bite, I totally forgot about the lack of pastry cream.  It was so incredibly good!  As was my day in the kitchen.  My friend’s daughter is on Spring Break, so I convinced her that babysitting Jack  was the best way to spend a precious school-free afternoon.  It was actually so nice that I am in the process of convincing both her and her parents that skipping school one afternoon a week is a good idea.  Not really, but at least summer vacation is a few months away!