• Apricot Cherry Crostata

    Welcome!! I hope you all survived this weekend’s heat wave by not leaving the house, it was the only way to survive. At my house, we spent the majority of Saturday inside, making brownies and playing Clue, which for once, didn’t end in fighting! We went mini golfing at night and were promptly attacked by bugs, but the ice cream afterwards made it all worth it. Sunday we spent the day at the beach, where the waves were very refreshing but I was pinched by not one, but TWO crabs. You can’t win them all I guess.

    ANYWAY, today’s recipe is another one of those ones pulled from my childhood memory vault, one that my Grandpa used to make in the summer when we were over for dinner. Whenever we would spend time at their house, the first thing we’d peruse was my grandpa’s stack of Bon Appetit magazines, which went years and years back. Come to think of it, I’m almost sure that is what sparked my interest in food in the first place. My grandpa was and still is an amazing cook, but with time, it’s gotten harder for him to make elaborate meals. So, last weekend, after saying for years that I would dig out this Apricot Cherry Crostata recipe, I did! I finally got to present it to my grandpa for dessert, and I’ll be honest I teared up when he saw it. He has always had a huge influence on what I cook and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since the beginning, gosh I love him.

    This tart is the perfect summer dessert, its relatively quick, very easy, and it LOOKS so glamorous. Apricot Cherry Crostata, it even SOUNDS fancy. It’s best with peak-of-summer apricots and cherries, but my grandpa always made it with dried tart cherries and it was just as incredible. Nestled in a crisp, buttery crust, and topped with the shiniest apricot glaze, it looks so professional you might have to show your friends the dishes to prove you made this and didn’t buy it.

    OH ALSO. Something I have to mention, I met a real hero of mine this past week. If you’ve been around Sweet D for long enough, you’ve seen that I make a lot of recipes from Erin McDowell. She’s a food blogger and writer and so so cool. Well, this past week, I got to take a cake decorating class in the city taught by, you guessed it, HER. It was everything I dreamed it would be. We decorated chocolate cakes with macarons and other treats, and she remembered me and Sweet D and I almost cried. Life made.

    Me trying to keep it together

    Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today!!
    ONE. A peach so juicy you have to eat it standing over the sink.
    TWO. Meeting your heroes.
    THREE. Baseball games in the summer.
    FOUR. A weekend with no plans.
    FIVE. Turning over a new leaf.

    Let’s bake!!

    Apricot Cherry Crostata

    Honey-sweet apricots, dark cherries, a buttery crust, sealed with a shiny jam glaze, this is the most impressive and deceivingly easy tart you'll ever make!
    Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
    Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
    Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: apricot, cherry, summer tart
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    Tart Crust

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 Tbsp white sugar
    • ¼ tsp kosher salt
    • ½ cup unsalted butter; chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 2 Tbsp ice water

    Fruit Filling

    • 7 large apricots
    • 1 cup dark cherries; pitted and halved
    • cup white sugar
    • ½ cup apricot preserves

    Instructions

    Tart Crust

    • Blend together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add in the butter and pulse 10-12 times, until the butter is pea-sized and evenly distributed.
    • Blend in the water by the tablespoon until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten to a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes before working.
    • When the dough is chilled, roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper to slightly larger than the size of your tart pan, about 11 inches. Carefully remove the top sheet of parchment and invert the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
    • Gently press the dough into the pan, folding the excess into the tart pan so that the sides are double thick. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and freeze for 20 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to 375°F.
    • Bake the tart shell for 25 minutes until set but still pale, and allow to cool before filling.

    Filling and Assembly

    • Blanch apricots in boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer to ice water. Peel, halve, and pit each apricot, then slice each half into 3 to 4 wedges.
    • Arrange the apricot slices in the tart shell as desired, then top with the pitted cherries. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top and bake the tart until the apricots are tender, about 50 minutes.
    • In a small saucepan, heat the apricot preserves until warm and pourable. Strain through a mesh sieve so that only the smooth jam is left.
    • Using a pastry brush or a spoon, cover the tart with a layer of the apricot jam. Remove the tart from its pan and serve warm or room temperature, preferably with ice cream!

    Looking for more summer fruit desserts? Look here, here, and here!

  • Cinnamon Plum-Apricot Pie with Vanilla Pouring Custard

    Hello friends! After a week’s break I am back, and I bring more summer pie! Last week, my family and I took a trip to Portland, Maine, one of our favorite places, and it was exactly what I needed to clear my head. The city was named Bon Appetit’s city of the year, and for good reason. Portland is a food-lover’s paradise, but more specifically, a baked-good lover’s paradise. Every morning I had some form of doughnuts, pie, or cinnamon rolls with some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, and I’m not kidding when I say that if the winters there didn’t get so cold, I would move there immediately.


    If you’re planning a visit any time soon, here are the top three places from me:

    ONE
    . Tandem Coffee Roasters (above right photo): a bakery/ coffee shop in a refurbished gas station, aka the most aesthetically pleasing and delicious place in the world
    TWO. The Holy Donut (above left photo): the only thing you need to know about this place is that the doughnuts have MASHED POTATO in them!!! The result is the most tender, pillowy doughnut you’ll ever have (my favorite is the maple one!)
    THREE. Two Fat Cats Bakery: the pie here is UNBELIEVABLE, and the inspiration behind today’s recipe. (ALSO, I was told they now ship their pies, you’re welcome!)


    Something that I like to do with my friends and have been trying to do more of recently is occasionally make a list of 5 things to be happy about, just to keep things in perspective, so before we get started, I’m going to share some with you as well!

    ONE
    . An unusually cool day in the summer, giving you a preview for the Fall season ahead, and a reason to sit on the porch with a hot cup of tea.
    TWO. Finally finishing that book that you’ve been reading for months.
    THREE. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls on a Saturday morning.
    FOUR. Lying in bed listening to thunder outside as you fall asleep.
    FIVE. That one TV show that you know front and back but never get tired off. (For me it’s Pushing Daisies!!).


    OKAY now that that’s covered, some quick notes about today’s recipe. This beautiful pie is brought to you by The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book (buy it here!), which covers truly every question you could ever have about pie. This one in particular originally featured only apricots, but since I had such a difficult time finding apricots around me, I had to improvise without abandoning the recipe all together, hence, the plums. Technically, the fruit I used was an apricot/ plum hybrid called an Aprium, which I had NEVER heard before. They tasted more like plums than apricots really, but both fruits would be spectacular with the cinnamon and vanilla custard. Also, the thickening agent in this pie is potato starch, which I had never encountered before but am now in love with. According to the book, it’s easier to find than tapioca and more effective than cornstarch, which leaves a gritty texture often. I used one from Bob’s Red Mill and was so happy with how the filling came together in a way that was thick but not gelatinous, and certainly not soupy. Finally, this pie was designed specifically to pair with the Vanilla Pouring Custard, so I would highly recommend following through with it. However, this custard can go on so many things- cakes, other pies, ice cream, straight from the pot to your mouth (??), idk, I’m not judging here. Now quick, let’s get baking!

    Adapted from: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
    Makes: 1 double crust pie + approximately 2 cups custard

    Pie Ingredients

    Pie Crust recipe for 1 Double Crust pie, found here
    1½ lbs. apricots/ plums (or both!)
    2 Tbs lemon juice
    ½ cup white sugar
    ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
    1 tsp cinnamon
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    3 Tbs potato starch
    Egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbs water)
    Demerara sugar

    Pie Steps

    ONE. Before starting your filling, prepare your pie dough following steps 1 through 4 of this recipe here. After the 30 minute chilling period, roll out half the pie crust and line your pie plate, then roll out the other half and chill both halves in the fridge while you make the filling. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.

    TWO. Wash your fruit and cut in slices (in half, then in half moon slices), removing the stones. Toss the fruit with the lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and potato starch, then add this sugar mixture to the fruit. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

    THREE. Pour this filling into the prepared pie shell, then place the top crust over it. You can do whatever you’d like here, whether you feel like a lattice or a full top crust! Brush the top with egg wash, and remember to cut some air vents if doing a full top crust. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and place the pie on a sheet pan (with raised edges), to catch spills and drips.

    FOUR. Bake the pie at 425º for the first 20 minutes on the bottom most rack of your oven. When 20 minutes are up, turn the oven down to 375ºF, then bake for another 30 minutes. Keep watch for the crust, specifically the edges, which can burn, and cover with tin foil or pie crust protectors as necessary. Allow the pie to cool completely (to set the filling), before reheating and serving with Pouring Custard!

    Vanilla Pouring Custard Ingredients

    2 cups whole milk
    4 large eggs
    1 tsp cornstarch
    4 Tbs white sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    1 or 2 Tbs dark rum (optional)

    Vanilla Pouring Custard Steps

    ONE. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it’s just about to boil, but doesn’t quite yet. Keep an eye on it, it heats up faster than you think!

    TWO. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar until pale yellow. Carefully and VERY slowly, drizzle some of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly so as not to cook the eggs. This tempers the egg mixture and allows you to add it back to the milk without accidentally making scrambles.

    My baking setup is usually this chaotic, I spy an espresso maker cluttering up this counter!

    THREE. Add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the milk in the saucepan and cook on low, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the consistency is slightly thickened and coats the back of the spoon. *It took me a long time to get the custard to thicken, but don’t be tempted to turn the heat up too high because that tends to curdle the mixture. Just be patient!

    FOUR. Place a sieve over a medium bowl and strain the custard to remove any lumps and give you the smoothest product. At this point, stir in the vanilla (and rum if you’re using it!). This is best served still warm, and trust me, there is no limit to how much you can pour on one slice of pie.


    YUM!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxD