Tarte fine aux pommes

January 24th, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

We love something sweet on Sunday afternoon. This one is my mom’s favorite. » Read the rest of this entry «

Something sweet for the weekend: rhubarb tart

March 1st, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink


Le gateau du dimanche… that (homemade) sunday sweet treat. It’s a family institution (my side. Dutchie… not a sweet tooth)

Last weekend, I found the first rhubarb stalks of the season at the market. I just could not resist making rhubarb tart. Took my chance during dutchie’s sunday ‘I-m-watching-cycling-on-tv’ naptime…
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Sweet sunday bite: Rustic rhubarb tartlet

June 19th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Rhubarb and almond Tartlet

This is one of these sundays when there’s nothing better to do than dream about better days and bake: all cuddled up in a fleece blanket, with a warm cup of tea, I’m trying to forget the pouring rain outside.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not whining. I’m having the best flashbacks while the sweet smell of rhubarb, butter and cinnamon is slowly taking over the house… It was a couple of weekends ago, a warm evening in the middle of the Dutch countryside, in the ‘Achterhoek’…

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Tasty tools: my kitchen grater

March 16th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m back from skiing! …in one piece, with a finally fading mustle ache, bruises on my sheens (damn ski shoes! why can’t we ski in slippers) and a lovely goggle-sun-tan. I loved it!
Yet, after one week in a foreign kitchen, it feels great to get back to my own kitchen with my sharp cooking knives, my fast heating oven, my well sized pans, my tons of spices, my home grown herbs… and my kitchen grater! Well, didn’t really missed that one as I took it with me skiing… and no, I’m not kidding. Next time I’ll also bring my vegetable peeler!

 Tarte au citron (2)
My favourite kitchen grater! not really a fancy microplane grater, but my best friend when it comes to grating lemon zest, nutmeg and parmeggiano without grating my nails along.
I use a small knife or a cocktail pricker to get out what’s left on the grater after hand. 

After 1 week skiing, après-skiing, cooking and feasting on local cheese, ham and potato dishes and local wines out Savoie, the holidays ended yesterday with two hours running around my favourite french supermarkt followed by 10 hours driving: I’m glad to have found my kitchen back, but I’m gonna take a short weekend break before I start cooking again. In the mean time, I’ve spent my sunday seeping tea in my pj’s, looking around what I missed on the foodblogging world last week and found out about Joelen’s ‘Tasty tools blogging event’ on her food blog Joelen’s culinary adventures.  The perfect occasion to praise my kitchen grater for supporting me bravely on my holidays and catch-up on my blogging delays with a ‘grown-up’ lemon tart I made for a dinner with friends about three weeks ago. I’ve promised my friends the recipe but couldn’t get to it before the holidays (Antonio, may I ask for the recipe of your delicious empanadas now?). For once, I had left aside my lazyness and my ready to use puff pastry rolls, made the dough from scratch (scroll down for the dough recipe and some insight on the baking blind technique) and used the classic french cuisine technique for the lemon tart (without the meringue though), hence the ‘grown-up’. Don’t be scared, it’s more easy than I make it sound… and so rewarding: the tingling of the lemon on your tongue, balanced with the sweet pastry, almost melting in your mouth.

Tarte au citron (1)

French style lemon tart
Tarte au citron

serves 4 to 6 pers.
prep: 20 min. cook: 15 min

250 g pate sucrée (see recipe below) or shortcrust dough,
2 1/5 lemons (juice and zest grated with your favourite kitchen grater),

1/2 tsp salt,
2 eggs,
70 g sugar (or more if you’d like it sweeter),
50 g butter, melted and slightly cooled,
1 tsp cornstarch (Maizena), diluted in 2 tsp water.

Preheat your oven at 180 deg C*. Prepare your tart shell in a buttered 22 cm tart mold and bake blind (see below the dough recipe for instructions) for 15 minutes at 180 deg C*. In the mean time, mix together the eggs, the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, the maizena and the melted butter. Whisk well until all ingredients are well binded together. When the pie shell is ready, pour the mixture in the shell and bake for an additional 15 min at 180 deg C*. Leave to cool on on pastry rack. Keep in the refrigerator until service.

Bon appétit!

Pate sucrée (sweet dough) with hazelnuts
Pâte sucrée aux noisettes

makes 500g (enough for two 22 cm Æ tart shells).
prep: 15 min. rest: 1 hr

210g all purpose flour, sifted,
50g icing sugar, sifted,
25g finely ground hazelnuts (or almonds for a traditionnal pate sucrée)
1 egg,
1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp powdered vanilla,
125 g butter, at room temperature,

1/2 tsp salt,

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Then incorporate one by one: the icing sugar, hazelnuts, salt and vanilla, the egg and finally the flour tossing well until each ingredient is incorporated but without overworking it. Gather the dough together in a ball shape and cover with plastic foil. Refrigerate for at least one hour before use. 

Bon appétit!

Baking technique: baking blind
Technique: cuire à blanc

for one 22 cm Æ tart shell.
prep: 10 min. rest. 15 to 30 min. bake: 15 min.

For one 22cm tart mold:
2 Tsp flour,
1 small knob of butter,
250 g dough (pate sucrée, brisée or puff pastry), chilled,
baking foil,
pastry weights (I use small stones I picked up on the beach, dried beans are an excellent alternative too)


Baking blind (1)Baking blind (2)Baking blind (3)Baking blind (4)

Preheat the oven at 180 degC*. Lightly dust a clean and flat working surface with flour. Place the chilled ball of dough in the middle and lightly dust with flour. Bang out the dough a couple of times with the pastry roll to flaten it a bit. Roll the dough working from the center towards the outside, dusting frequently with flour to prevent sticking. Roll the dough into a 25 cm diameter. Butter your tart mold and sprinkle it with flour. Carefully fold a third of the dough on your pastry roll and lift into the tart mold fitting it into the sides and bottom. Prick the dough with a fork to prevent raising, cover with plastic foil and refrigerate for 15 minutes to half an hour. Remove the plastic foil and line the tart shell with baking or aliminum  foil and fill with pastry weights. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 180 deg C*. If you want the crust to brown a little, remove the foil and weights for the last 5 minutes.

Bon appétit!

* I always use the hot air option from my oven,  you might want add 10 deg C for a normal oven or extend the baking for 5 to 10 min.

The way to his heart…

February 14th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Like many girls and women always say: I’m not really the valentine-day kind of person, it’s just another commercial invention, bla bla bla. Well… as long as my dutchie doesn’t forget to give me some kind of attention that day (and on any other day too)! I’m not demanding though: I’ll be happy with a kiss and a compliment, but you don’t need to tell him that. We never know…

Anyway, if you’re looking for something special for your loved one, be it for valentine’s day or not, here’s what people say in France: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Here’s my secret weapon… (My dutchie is more into red meat than into sweets, but he cannot resist that one.)

tarte tatin (2)
This is how we seduce men in the family…

Apple tart from the demoiselles Tatin

Tarte tatin

>serves 6 to 8 pers.
prep: 10 min. cook: 20 + 15 min

1 roll of puff pastry or 350g of homemade shortcrust dough
7 apples* (~1kg), peeled, cut in quarters and seasoned with the juice of half a lemon
50g butter,
60g sugar,
1 pinch of vanilla powdered,
1 pinch of cinammon

tarte tatin (1)

. In a deep tart mold** on medium heat, melt the butter and half of the sugar, line up the pieces of apples in the mold, round part against the bottom. sprinkle the rest of the sugar and the spices, over the apples. Let the apples caramelize on medium heat, shaking and turning the mold gently from time to time to make sure some of the apples don’t burn or stick to the bottom. After 20 min, the apples should be nicely golden underneath and the juices of the apples should have reduced into a thick fruity and buttery caramel syrup. Leave to cool for 5 to 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180 deg C.

. Lay the dough over the apples, folding the exceeding dough (if any) inside the mold, gently pushing it between the mold and the apples. Make a few incisions on the dough with a knife to prevent the dough from raising. If you use puff pastry, you can sprinkle the dough with 1 Tsp of sugar: It will give a little caramelised crunch to the dough once baked. Bake for 15 to 20 min at 180 deg C. or until the dough is golden.

. This tart should be served warm. If you don’t serve it right away, warm it up in the oven for 10min at 100 deg C. Then, put it on high heat for less than a minute, or until you can gently turn the tart in its mold without resistance. Put the serving dish over it and turn upside down, gently remove the mold, et voila! 

. Serve immediately with a spoon of thick creme fraiche, or a scoop of vanilla ice.

Bon appétit!

* Use firm and juicy apples like Golden delicious or Elstar for example
** I use a teflon ‘moule a manqué’ that you can see on the second picture. It’s a relatively deep (4 to 5 cm) round mold that can both go on the stove or in the oven. There are also specific molds for tarte tatin, but it’s not essential.

tarte tatin (3)

A bit of sweetness for a cold sunday afternoon

January 13th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Ahhh… winter! It’s cold outside and already dark… I miss the sunday sweets that we would share all together for tea time when I was a child. Mostly homemade, sometimes chosen with care at our favourite pastryshop, served with a steaming cup of tea or cocoa, to warm us up after a reviving walk in the guarrigue or along the beach…
Feeling for something sweet too on this sunday afternoon? Here’s the apple tart of my childhood with a hazelnut twist for a bit of crunch.

sorry, couldn’t wait!

Apple tart with hazelnuts
Tarte aux pommes et aux noisettes

serves 8 pers.
prep: 25 min. cook: 10 +20 min

1 roll of puff pastry (~350g),
7 apples (~1.5 kg), peeled,

80 g hazelnuts rougly crushed and toasted,
1/4 tsp vanilla powdered,
40 g butter,
5 Tsp cane sugar,
a drop of calvados

Preheat the oven at 180 deg C. Fit the pastry in a tart mold (I used a 32 cm diameter). Bake blind: Prick with a fork and line the pastry with baking foil and dry beans to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 10min and reserve.

Meanwhile, chop three of the apples. Pour the apples in a smal pan together with 2 Tsp cane sugar, half of the vanilla and a drop of calvados. Toss and simmer covered on medium heat for 10 minutes or until the apples are soft. Mash and leave to cool.

Combine the crushed and toasted hazelnuts with 1 Tsp cane sugar and line the mixture on on the cooled pastry. Cover evenly with the apple compote. Slice the remaining apples very thin using a mandoline or a sharp knife and arrange the apple slices on top of the tart. Sprinkle with the rest of the sugar and vanilla, and add little bits of butter, evenly on top of the apples. Bake for 20 min. 

Bon appétit!

Autumn is at the door

September 9th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

I don’t know where summer got lost this year, but it definitely forgot to come and say hello to the Netherlands. On the other hand, autumn is already at the door. Strangely, days seem to be getting sunnier here, but they are definitely getting shorter and cooler.
I love the fruit in this period in between seasons: the sweet and tasty figs (though the one in my garden are still hard as rocks and unripe green), the plums (pruimen), the grapes…

I particularly like the dutch plums, “Hollandse pruimen”, their half purple/half golden colour their perfect size, slightly smaller than an egg, and their taste. Don’t get me wrong, the Francaise that I am loves the reine-claudes and the mirabelles, but really, the dutch plums are worth a detour too.

Plums like figs are great in tarts, especially on fresh sunday afternoons. For the last couple of years I have become a fan of the following variation. Look for your selves with the 2005 version…


and the 2006 version with filo pastry, the one I did lately disappeared before I got the chance to take out my camera!


Tarte feuilletee aux prunes hollandaises / Hollandse pruimen Taart

prep. 20 min, cooking: 10min + 15min

500g ripe dutch plums
1 (ready-made) flaky pastry (roll)

30 g of butter
5cl of cognac
4 Tsp of powdered hazelnuts

5 Tsp caster sugar
a pinch of cinammon
a pinch of cardamon

that’s it!

As a lazy gourmande, I always have a roll of flaky pastry waiting for me in the freezer. if not, or if I feel for a lighter version, I just pick 4 to 5 sheets of filo pastry instead. Half an hour out of the freezer and It’ ready to cook. Preheat your oven at 200 deg. In the mean time, wash, dry and halve your plums. Keep them in a bowl where you add 2 Tsp of sugar, the cognac and the spices. Put the flaky pastry in a tart mould, prick with a fork and cover with dried beans, stones or whatever you normally use to prevent the crust from raising, Bake for 10 min. If you’ve decided to go for the filo version: make sure your mould is well buttered, don’t prick, and leave only a couple of minutes in the oven. Spread evenly the grinded hazelnuts mixed with 1 Tsp sugar on the tart, dispose the plums on the tart (skin part under), sprinkle with the rest of the sugar and add a pinch of butter on each plum, pour the marinade over the tart and bake for 15 min. Serve slightly warm.

Bon appétit!

A strawberry tart for my valentine!

August 20th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Do no get mixed up, when I talk about my valentine, I do not talk about my dutchie, at least not today! Valentine is the nickname we give to a good girlfriend of mine who can sometimes get very grumpy (we are then more tempted to name her otherwise) but can also be a doll when she wants, hence her nickname.

I saw valentine last weekend in her parents appartment in Le Touquet Paris-Plage on the north sea cost of France. A beautiful beach resort built in the middle of a beautiful pine tree forest and dunes where I happened to be born (lucky me!). Valentine was a bit tired from a sleepless trip to Paris but she was still very valentine when we arrived. But then, it rained, and rained and rained… In between two showers, we still managed to enjoy the market, to drool in front of the best pastry shop in town and have a walk in the duins. We even braved the stormy weather to go out and party all night…. But then Valentine fell and hurt her arm, the one she had just broke a short time ago. Even if she tried, Valentine was not really valentine anymore after that.

To chear her up, here is the strawberry tart I made in a flash when she came to see us in the Hague for her birthday, last june. Just like me valentine’s favourite birthday cake is strawberry tart. Except from delicious fragrant dutch strawberries, my fridge was almost empty that day. Nevertheless, I think this was one of my best strawberry tarts. I didn’t have enough milk and eggs to make enough custard, so I mixed it with what was left of my fat free “fromage blanc” I have for breakfast. I was surprised by the result: the texture was light and not watery at all as I first dreaded and married really well with the strawberries… Come on Valentine, give us a smile, this is for you (please leave a slice for sophie too… it seems she’s on a sugar crave: here’s a desert, now you ‘re happy?):

Valentine is more than 3… but I had a shortage of birthday candles!

A strawberry tart for Valentine
Une tarte aux fraises pour Valentine

serves 6 to 8
prep. 15 min, cooking: 15min

500g small tasty stawberries
1 (ready-made) shortcrust pastry (roll)

1 egg yolk
2 Tsp sugar
a pinch of powdered vanilla
a small glass of low fat milk
5 Tsp of “fromage blanc” (I used fat free fromage blanc and it worked perfectly, but the real stuff is of course fine too)
optional – lavender sirup (or something else: grand marnier, other syrup…)
Icing sugar

that’s it!

If like me you are short of time and have a well furnished freezer just pick a shortcrust pastry roll out of your freezer at least half an hour before, if you have more time, a home made shortcrust dough is always a plus. Preheat your oven at 200 deg. Put the crust in a tart mould, prick with a fork and cover with dried beans, stones or whatever you normally use to prevent the crust from raising, Bake for 15 min. In the mean time, warm up the milk with a pinch of grounded vanilla on low fire (it shouldn’t boil!). In a bowl, whip the egg yolk with the 2 Tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt until the mixture becomes white. Transfer in a pan, add the milk slowly while stiring and stir regularly on low fire until it thickens. Here’s for the custard. Leave it too cool. In a bowl, pour the fromage blanc with 1 Tsp of  lavender syrup, sugar or sweetener. Whip until firm and shiny. Reserve in the fridge Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Wash your strawberries and remove the green bits (if they are small you can leave them whole, otherwise cut them into 2 in the length). You’re almost done! mix the custard and whipped “fromage blanc” together. Garnish the tart shortcrust with the mixture in an even layer and then dispose the strawberries nicely. A little cloud of icing sugar over that et voila!

Bon appétit!

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