Cherry-Almond Streusel Tart

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This weekend, the boyfriend and I went down to the Farmers’ Market. Wandering around the market has become a Saturday early-morning tradition. This weekend we were running a little late after accidentally sleeping in after the Fourth of July holiday. So I was concerned that all the “good stuff” would be already sold out!

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But, at the first of many produce stands, I found baskets of beautiful sour cherries! (They also had gooseberries, which I’m still thinking about… I may have to pick some up next time!) We decided to keep wandering because the cherries were a bit pricey. But I couldn’t stop thinking about them! Sour cherries have a limited harvest season and can be extremely hard to find, so they’ve been on my mind for a while…

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When we hit the last produce stand on the block, I saw even larger (and slightly cheaper) baskets of sour cherries. And I knew that I needed them! I picked up about 2 pounds of cherries to go along with the oyster mushrooms, pickling cucumbers, and peaches already in our bag. And, thankfully, I had enough cherries to make this tart and a batch of Peach & Sour Cherry Jam! 🙂

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The tart starts off with a buttery almond crust and is filled with slightly sweetened sour cherries. It’s  topped off with an almond-streusel topping that gives a bit of crunch to the tart. If you can’t find fresh sour cherries near you, you can use frozen or canned sour cherries. If using frozen cherries, thaw them first, and then drain the accumulated juices. If using canned cherries, try to find cherries packed in juice instead of syrup, and drain them well.

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie

Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie

Well, here it is… The Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie. Dun dun dun…

As I posted on Tuesday, I made this pie a few weeks ago. It was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing that’s ever come out of my kitchen! The pie starts off with a flaky crust, made with butter and rendered bacon fat. A little bit of bourbon and smoked salt is added to the crust to enhance the flavor of the bacon. The filling is a relatively “basic” sweet potato filling, infused with a good serving of bourbon and a little bit of bacon fat. And, to top it all off (because it can’t get more ridiculous), it’s covered in candied pecans and crumbled bacon.

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I brought the Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie to a birthday potluck for a good friend of mine. She loves bacon, sweet potatoes, and whiskey, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to debut this pie! The verdict was that it was super-rich and super-tasty and definitely not for the faint of heart… It didn’t exactly turn out to be a dessert pie, unless savory desserts are your thing. The boyfriend has already suggested that I make the pie as a side-dish for Thanksgiving dinner, and I think that’s a great idea! 😀

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Bacon Pie Crust

Bacon Pie Crust

A few weeks ago, I made the most ridiculous pie I ever think I could dream up: a Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie. The best way to describe this pie is intense. It starts off with a flaky crust, made with butter and rendered bacon fat. A little bit of bourbon and smoked salt is added to the crust to enhance the flavor of the bacon. The filling is a relatively “basic” sweet potato filling, infused with a good serving of bourbon and a little bit of bacon fat. And, to top it all off (because it can’t get more ridiculous), it’s covered in candied pecans and crumbled bacon. Wow…

This pie is not for the light of heart, so I’ve decided to split it up in to two blog posts. Today is the Bacon Pie Crust because, honestly, this dough could stand on its own! While the dough was originally conceived for this crazy pie, it would work beautifully with a savory pie or quiche! The recipe makes enough for a single-crust 9″ pie, but you can definitely double it for a bacon-infused two-crust pie!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. I’ll be posting the recipe for the Bourbon & Bacon Sweet Potato Pie on Thursday, so be sure to check back for that! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Blood Orange Tart

Blood Orange Tart

A few weeks ago, I picked up some beautiful blood oranges from Whole Foods to make the Blood Orange and Pomegranate Granita. After making the granita, I had a few left over oranges, so I set out to make something else with them!

In fact, I ended up with two more delicious desserts from the three blood oranges left! The first is the Blood Orange Tart, posted below. The tart starts off with a blind-baked crust, flavored with ground almonds. It’s then filled with an orange-infused pastry cream and topped with fresh blood orange segments and orange syrup.

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I absolutely love how pretty this tart turned out! The bright red blood orange segments look beautiful set against the pastry creme. Feel free to use more blood oranges if you want, or substitute regular oranges if you don’t have access to blood oranges.

And, if you want to save the orange peels, check back on Tuesday for my post about Candied Orange Peel! 😀

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Tarts

Whoops, I’m a little late on yesterday’s post, given that I’m publishing it today… 😉

But now, it’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!

I’m sorry because it’s probably stuck in your head now, like it is mine. But I had to…

I’m apparently on a bit of a tart binge at home, after making the Fig & Grape Tarts a few weeks ago. Since I had some extra pie crust leftover, I decided to turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in to another tasty dessert!

The tarts start out with a pie-crust base, that is filled with jam (or jelly!) and a dense, white cake. Then, they are topped with a peanut butter crumble mixture. The tarts are definitely reminiscent of a PB&J sandwich on white bread! 🙂

You can use either homemade or store-bought dough for the tarts, just roll the dough out a little if you want to use the pre-made kind! Also, feel free to use whatever types of jam or jelly you want. I used strawberry and raspberry jam, mostly because that’s what I had in the fridge. I’m curious to think how they’d turn out with grape jelly!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Fig & Grape Tarts

Fig & Grape Tarts

As I mentioned in my last post, I celebrated Christmas in Chicago with my mom. The boyfriend even came home with me! I got to show him around Geneva; we went to the Shedd Aquarium and wandered around downtown; and we spent some wonderful quality time with my mom and friends. With everything going on, I told my mom that the one thing I wanted to do to help was to take care of dessert. On top of everything she was doing for us, I didn’t want her to have to also do a bunch of Christmas baking!

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On Sunday afternoon, while picking up last-minute groceries, I ran around the store trying to figure out what I was going to make for dessert! After marathon baking sessions for the majority of December and fighting off the sick for the last week, I have absolutely no idea what to do. I didn’t want to make anything too traditional or too out of the box or that would leave my mom with massive leftovers. I didn’t have my usual arsenal of back-up ingredients, and since it was winter in Chicago, my produce options were limited.

So I ended up adapting my award-winning Fig and Grape Pie to account for a lack of fresh figs and to make tarts. (As an added bonus, my mom also got to take some of the tarts to work to share with her friends who read my blog!) The resulting Fig and Grape Tarts are absolutely amazing. The flavor from the original pie recipe still holds true in the tarts, but the dried figs give the filling a chewier texture and a deeper flavor. And they keep very well in a sealed container, so they can be enjoyed without worrying about eating a much larger slice of pie!

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When I got home from Chicago, I whipped up another batch of the tarts to share with you all! The tarts are great on their own, but were also amazing warmed and served with the leftover Brie Ice Cream that I found stashed away in my freezer. (Present-Emily thanks past-Emily for that wonderful little surprise!)

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Fig and Grape Pie

Also known as: the pie that won first place at the DC State Fair! 🙂

I am incredibly proud of this pie, especially because it is one of the first things I’ve sat down and created all on my own. (I usually modify other recipes instead of starting with a blank slate…) While musing on what to enter in to the pie competition for the DC State Fair, several things went through my head: maybe something with Nutella or a variation on peach pie or one of fifty other ideas. But then, when flipping though one of my cookbooks, the idea of combining figs and grapes stuck in my head. So I dug a little into the flavors that go well with figs and ended up with Cognac (brandy) and orange.

I gathered up all my ingredients the next day (mind you, this was only a few days before the competition) and composed my test run. I stewed down some figs and grapes, mixed with a little bit of sugar, cognac, and orange, in to a compote. When it was cool enough to eat, I sat down on the couch with the boyfriend and started the taste test…

I wasn’t quite sure how I felt right away. Cause the filling (compote at the time) is weird. It’s not what you would expect from a pie… Yes, it was strange, but damn, it was good. And those words just kept coming out of my mouth. It was like nothing I’d ever tasted before, but I just couldn’t stop eating it! The flavor of the figs is brought out by the cognac and orange, and the crunch of the grape adds a contrasting texture when cooked with the figs.

And apparently the judges liked it too! 😀

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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