Raspberry Pear Pie in Nutella Crust (makes one 7” pie)
Nutella Crust (inspired by Rose Levy Beranbaum and Karol of Dave’s Kitchen)
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup Nutella
1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the Nutella and mix on low until blended. Add the flour, mixing just until incorporated, then add the egg yolk, mixing just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Roll out dough on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll the dough into a large circle, about 11” round. Peel off the plastic wrap, use the parchment paper to lift the dough and gently flip it into your pie plate. Peel off the parchment paper, trim the edges of the dough even with the pie plate and crimp the edges. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate. There will be just enough to reroll and use as cut outs for the top crust of the pie. Refrigerate the pie shell for at least 1 hour before you blind bake it. When the dough is chilled, line the pie dough with aluminum foil, making sure to cover the edges, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool, (removing the foil and pie weights) while you prepare the filling. Roll out the dough you will use for the top crust on lightly floured parchment paper and use a small cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes. Set on a small baking sheet and refrigerate until you assemble the pie.
3 firm, ripe pears (Anjou or Bartlett), peeled, cored and cut into ¼” cubes (you should have 3 cups of cubed pears)
1 generous cup fresh raspberries
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed pears with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Add the zest/sugar/cinnamon/cornstarch mixture to the pears and combine using a rubber spatula. Add the raspberries and gently fold them in. Pour the fruit mixture into the pre-baked pie shell. Remove the crust cut-outs from the refrigerator and place them on top of the fruit. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When ready to place the pie in the oven, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil.
Bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the pie is bubbling in the center. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
A note about the crust: This pie crust is modeled after cookie dough, and is fragile. It is important to cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil before baking to prevent the edges from over browning. Don’t worry if you have a few gaps between the cutouts serving as the top crust. The dough will spread a bit as it bakes.
Blood Orange Marmalade tarts
Blood Orange Marmalade (adapted from BBC Food and Good Eats) yield: about 4 cups plus additional syrup*
1 lb. Blood Oranges, washed, sliced about ⅛” thin, seeds removed (I used 4 oranges)
5 cups water
juice and zest of one lemon
4 cups granulated sugar
Stack the orange slices and quarter them. Place the quartered oranges in a heavy bottomed stockpot. Add the water, lemon juice and zest and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the sugar and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. When the mixture has cooled, cover and leave at room temperature overnight, or at least a good 8 hours. (This helps to soften the skin and intensify the flavor.) When ready to prepare the marmalade, bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer until it reaches 222 degrees on a candy thermometer. Be patient- this takes a while. If you are a jam maker and wish to place the finished preserves in sterilized jars, process accordingly. I use the marmalade rather quickly in various recipes, keeping it refrigerated in a sealed container for up to one week.
Pastry Dough for Blood Orange Tarts (yields enough for six 4½” tart pans with removable bottoms) Adapted from Time-Life ‘The Good Cook’
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons brown sugar
zest of one small orange
12 tablespoons (6 oz.) cold, unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 egg whisked together with 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, cardamom, brown sugar and orange zest. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse just until the mixture is crumbly. Empty contents into a large mixing bowl and add the egg/orange juice mixture with your fingertips, just to combine. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out. On a sheet of parchment lightly dusted with flour, roll out pastry to ⅛” thickness. Cut out six 6”circles, fitting one pastry circle into each lightly buttered tart pan. Cut lattice strips from the remaining dough. Chill tart pans and lattice while you prepare the filling.
Filling for Blood Orange Tart (adapted from Joyce Goldstein)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons cornstarch combined with 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 cup of Blood Orange marmalade with syrup
(the syrup from the marmalade serves as the sweetener)
½ cup good quality apricot or orange preserves (I use Sarabeth’s Blood Orange spreadable fruit)
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and orange juice. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the cornstarch/orange juice mixture then the marmalade and syrup. Blend on low speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in ½ cup of preserves by hand. Scrape this mixture into the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Cook until the mixture thickens, scraping the bottom and sides constantly. Remove from over the heat and let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When filling has cooled down, spoon into pastry lined tart shells, top with lattice crust and trim the dough evenly with the edges. Place tarts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes until crust is golden and filling is set. Serve with additional slices of candied Blood Oranges and syrup, if you wish.
* additional syrup is delicious in cocktails, as a glaze for baked goods or over ice cream
Cupid’s Sensible Breakfast Tart
(serves 2 hungry Valentines or 6 mere mortals)
Adapted from Day-Lewis’ The Art of the Tart (makes one 8” tart)
Pastry Dough to fit one 8”x1” tart pan with removable bottom
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old fashioned oats
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour, oats and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse until crumbly. Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl, add the cold water and gently combine with your fingertips. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out. On parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough into an 11” circle. Fit into a lightly greased 8”x1” tart pan with removable bottom. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line pan with parchment paper and beans, and blind bake pastry for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, remove parchment and beans and bake an additional 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
2 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked until crispy, drained and coarsely chopped
3 red skinned potatoes (about 9 oz.) boiled until tender, drained and sliced ¼” thick
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Melt the butter in a skillet, add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream and milk. Add the fresh thyme and a pinch of nutmeg to the egg mixture. Set the pre-baked tart shell on a parchment lined baking pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the onion/garlic mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Add a layer of potatoes, additional salt and pepper if you wish, half of the bacon and half of the cheese. Add a second layer of potatoes, bacon and cheese. Gradually pour the egg/cream/milk mixture over the tart, allowing the custard to work its way through the layers. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tart is golden brown. Cool briefly before serving.
After Eight Pie
'After Eight' Pie (serves 8-10)
Pie Dough for one fully baked 9” pie shell or one fully baked 8” x 2” pie shell
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 stick (4oz.) unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour, salt, sugar and pulse once or twice. Add butter, pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Empty contents into a medium mixing bowl and gradually add 3 tablespoons of cold water and vinegar, gently mixing with a rubber scraper, or your fingertips until the mixture forms a soft dough. If the dough feels dry, you can add up to one additional tablespoon of ice cold water. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out. Roll dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper to about ⅛” thick. Gently fit the dough into your pie plate, trim the overhang and crimp the edges. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line pie pan with parchment paper and pie weights or beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom shelf of your oven for approx. 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Carefully lift out the parchment/pie weights and return the pie crust to the middle rack of your oven and bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom looks dry and the crust is golden. Set aside on a rack to cool completely before filling.
Fresh Mint/Chocolate filling (yields about 3 cups, enough to fill a standard 9” pie crust or an 8” x 2” deep pie crust) (adapted from Theo chocolate and Miette)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
24 fresh mint leaves, rinsed and thoroughly dried on a paper towel
10 oz. of 62% dark chocolate, chopped
⅔ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
Finely chop the cleaned/dried mint leaves to release their concentrated oils. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the fresh mint, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Place the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk a bit to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. After the cream and mint have steeped, pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the mint with a rubber spatula to extract as much of the mint as you can. Discard the leaves and return the cream to the heat bringing it back to a simmer. Pour the warmed cream over the bowl of chocolate and confectioners sugar. Set this bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat. Gradually add a bit of the warm chocolate mixture to the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly. Add the tempered egg yolks back into the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add the butter, a little at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Let it cool down for about 30 minutes before pouring the filling into your cooled, fully baked pie crust. Let cool to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and fresh berries. Blackberries are delicious teamed with fresh mint and chocolate.
Whipped Cream (see note)
In the chilled bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of heavy cream on medium–high speed until it begins to thicken. Lower the speed and gradually add 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whip until soft peaks form, remove the bowl from the mixer and finish whisking the cream by hand until thick.
(Note: the chocolate filling is extremely dense and solid when chilled. I take the pie out of the fridge for about an hour before topping it with whipped cream and serving it. If there are any leftovers, cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)