Perfect Pie Crust

Making the perfect pie crust used to be intimidating. Please note, used to be. I grew up watching Food Network and was so intimated by the way the chefs would speak of the pie dough and all the ways it could go wrong. It’s too tough, it’s under baked, its over worked, it could go on and on. There were competition shows with all these grandmothers with their unique recipes and techniques on how to make their version of perfect pie crust. If you go online and search “pie crust” or “pie dough,” you get a myriad of websites that share with you their secrets. Maybe that’s how you landed on this post and I suppose this post will just be another one among thousands out there.

Yet as intimidating as it seemed, I decided to finally give it a try. Since then, pie crust has been one of those recipes I can throw together without much thought. I use it for my Earl Grey Pie, my Apple Pie, and everything in between. And every time, it comes out beautiful and perfect. I can put together a pie crust in less than 5 minutes; it takes me longer to was the dishes after than it does to make the actual dough! The reason for that is you want to handle the dough as little as possible. Work fast, and keep it cold. That is the trick to the best dough.

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To start out, measure out the water and salt in a pyrex cup. Put it in the refrigerator to lower its temperature. On a cutting board, cube the butter into small pieces. I am making four pie crusts so the quantities you see in the photos are multiplied of what you would actually use. Remember, work fast to keep the butter cold. After cubing, I often move the butter into a bowl and back into the refrigerator to get the temperature down again. While it’s in the fridge, you can measure out the flour.

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Once the temperature of butter has been lowered, use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter to the flour. I use a pastry cutter as opposed to a food processor because you have more control over the dough when you are using a pastry cutter. A food processor can easily overwork the dough.

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Here, I am about halfway into the cutting in process. The butter should become smaller pebble sized as it is being worked into the flour. Remember, work fast, and keep it cold. You don’t want to use your hands as your body temperature will melt the butter.

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Once the butter resembles small pebbles, it is time to add in the water and salt. Pour it over the flour mixture and use the pastry cutter to mix the two to form a dough.

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This is what it looks like after. As I quadrupled the recipe, I have four pie doughs (one dough ball makes two pie crusts). You can still see chunks of butter within the dough. Those chunks are what will give the crust its flakiness.

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Wrap tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using.

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When the dough is set, unwrap and place on a floured surface. I am using this dough for tarts.

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Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick. You can slightly see the marbled pattern that the chunks of butter creates throughout the dough. Beautiful. 

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Press the dough into the molds and cut off any excess. If the dough is still cold, you can always re-roll the excess into a dough ball, refrigerate it to firm up, and roll it back out. If the dough has already reached room temperature, it will not work as well.

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Once it is in the molds or pie tin, place it back in the refrigerator to firm up again. The pie dough needs to be really cold before baking.

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Right before you put the crust into the oven, prick the bottom with a fork. This will allow for even baking and for steam to be able to escape. If you are going to fill the pie for baking, you would do so now. However, with this one, I am blind baking it.

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To blind bake the pie, cut parchment paper squares to line the inside of the pie. I find it easiest when the parchment is first crumpled into a ball, then unrolled. This will give the paper more flexibility to fit into the crust. Fill the crusts with baking beans or rice, then bake.

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When the edges are golden brown, remove the baking weights and parchment paper. Put it back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes, until the inside of the pie is also golden brown.

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Now that is how a perfect pie crust should be.

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Look at all those layers the butter has created!

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And it’s golden brown all around, even on the bottom of the tart. Once it has slightly cooled, you can remove it from the molds and used however you would like!

Perfect Pie Crust

recipe from Tartine Bakery

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 c very cold water (I placed in freezer for 5-10 min)

1 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp flour

1/2 c + 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Dissolve salt in water and keep refrigerated until needed. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter and flour until the butter is the size of small pebbles. Work as fast as possible. Add in the water and continue to cut it into the dough until it loosely holds together. Roll it together so that it holds, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

When ready to use, roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Press it into the pie crust or molds, then trim off any excess. Return to the refrigerator to firm up for 5-10 minutes. Then, prick the bottom of the pie with a fork to form small holes. Line the pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper and place back into the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the inside crust is browned and dry. Use as desired.

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

Earl Grey Pie

Ever since I’ve discovered how to make earl grey pastry cream, I’ve been meaning to do a step-by-step photo post. I first came up with the recipe for this Earl Grey Pie for a Pi day wedding last year. I modeled the pie after Pie Hole’s Earl Grey pie and the recipe has been adapted from Tartine bakery’s recipes. Since then, it has been my number one asked for pastry as well as this blogs most popular post! I hope that with these step-by-step photos, more people will be willing to try it at home and not be intimidated by it. Earl grey may sound fancy but making it is not! To learn how to make the pie crust, visit the post on the Perfect Pie Crust.

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I always use Twinings Earl Grey Tea bags. Some other brands that make Earl Grey tea include other spices into the mix which will impact the taste of the pastry cream. I just like to keep it simple and pure.

Measure the milk and pour it into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Unwrap five teabags and snip the strings off. Over the next 5-10 minutes, allow the tea to infuse into the milk while gently stirring to prevent the milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. While you are waiting for the tea to infuse, you can prepare the other half of ingredients.

In a medium bowl, measure the sugar, eggs, salt, and cornstarch and whisk until it is completely smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.

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Once the milk is at a beautiful tan, turn the heat up so it can come to a rolling boil. If some Earl Grey leaves escape from the bag, don’t worry, they’re going to be strained out. Take the pot off the heat.

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As just mentioned, there may be some Earl Grey tea leaves that escape the tea bags. To strain them out, I put a strainer above the egg mixture.

Now comes the task of mixing the two. As the milk mixture is hot and the egg mixture is cold, I don’t want the hot milk to immediately cook the eggs and make scrambled eggs. To avoid this, we need to “temper” the egg mixture by gradually adding in small amounts of milk at a time while whisking the egg mixture vigorously. This will slowly bring the temperature of the egg mixture up while dispersing the heat from the milk mixture. In small batches, pour the milk through the strainer to strain out any of the leaves, and quickly whisk the egg mixture as the milk falls through. Continue this process until all of the milk has been passed through the strainer and has been mixed in. Personally, I like to see small bits of Earl Grey tea leaves in my pie because it looks more authentic, so I’ll usually add a small amount of the tea leaves back into the mixture, but that’s just personal preference. If you happen to see small bits of cooked egg, don’t worry, simply pass it through the strainer once more to strain out the cooked egg bits.

Pour the cream back into the medium saucepan and return it onto medium heat. Use the whisk to constantly stir the mixture until it thickens. As the temperature of the cream goes up and reaches a certain temperature, the cornstarch will be activated and begin to thicken. At this stage, it is prone to burning or thickening at the bottom of the pot since that is where it receives the most heat. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and continually whisk until it is smooth, lump free, and bubbly. If there are lumps (like the top right photo), whisk faster and it should smooth it out.

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Once it is thick and bubbly, you know that the cornstarch has thickened it to the maximum. Take it off the heat and add in the unsalted butter and whisk until it is completely melted an incorporated in.

Pour the pastry cream into a glass bowl. Take saran wrap and press it onto the surface of the cream, so that there is no part of the pastry cream exposed to air. Any part that is exposed to air as it cools will harden and form a “skin” over the top. Allow it to cool completely in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to use the pastry cream, whip up the whipped cream. I like to use the brand Pastry Pride as it is an extremely stable and smooth when whipped up, but it’s sometimes hard to find. Whip until it reaches stiff peaks.

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Now from that batch of whipped cream, remove about 2 cups of cream. This will be reserved for the topping.

Now into the bowl goes the Earl Grey cream. As you can see, it has firmed up quite a bit which is why it is necessary to lighten it up with whipping cream.

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At first, it will look disgusting. The whisk attachment will break up the pastry cream as it gets coated with whipped cream. Keep whisking.

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Then, it will look like cottage cheese. There will be lumps of Earl Grey as well as whisps of whipping cream. At this stage, it might be a good idea to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then, turn the machine back on and continue to whisk.

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Finally, all of the lumps will smooth itself out as the whipping cream is completely mixed into the Earl Grey. The color has lightened, the texture has lightened, and the consistency is smooth and silky. This pastry cream is finally ready to fill a pie!

Earl Grey Pie with topping

Earl Grey Pie

recipe inspired by Pie Hole, Los Angeles & Pasadena

Flaky Pie Crust

recipe from Tartine Bakery

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 c very cold water

1 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp flour

1/2 c + 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Dissolve salt in water and keep refrigerated until needed. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter and flour until it forms large crumbs. Add in water and continue to mix with the pastry blender until it loosely holds together. Roll it together so that it holds, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When completely chilled, roll out to be 1/8 in thick and cover the pie tins. Use the back of a knife to cut off any excess dough. Place back in the refrigerator in case some of the butter has melted from handling the dough. Once it has completely chilled, use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust. Line the top with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking weights (beans, rice, etc). Bake for 20-25 min, until golden brown around the sides. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 5 more min, until all moisture has evaporated from the crust. Allow the crust to cool completely on a wire rack.

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

adapted from Tartine Bakery’s Pastry Cream

2 cups milk

5 bags Earl Grey Tea Bags (Twinings Earl Grey)

1/4 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

Heat the milk, tea bags, and salt in a sauce pan on low for 5-10 minutes, constantly stirring until the color turns a medium-light grey color. If some tea leaves fall out, it is okay, you will strain it out later. Once it has reached the desired color, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, sugar, and eggs in a medium bowl until thick and smooth. When the milk is at a boil, take it off the heat. Place a strainer over the egg mixture. Pour half of the boiling milk through the strainer into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, making sure to whisk vigorously to prevent the eggs from cooking.  Once all of the milk has been mixed in, return this mixture into the saucepan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until the cornstarch cooks and the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and whisk until smooth and completely incorporated. Pour into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream to cool to avoid the creation of a “skin” layer. Allow to cool completely before using, about 3-4 hours. The cooled earl grey pastry cream should be very firm, needing to be lightened with whipped cream before using.

Assembly

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

1 1/2 c ready to whip whipping cream (I recommend Pastry Pride)

1 fully cooled pie shell

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 c chocolate chips

Small handful pistachios, roughly chopped

Once the pastry cream is ready to use, whip up the 1 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks. Remove 2 cups of whipped cream and reserve in a separate bowl. To the mixing bowl, add in the pastry cream and whisk the both together until completely smooth.

Meanwhile, microwave the 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a heatproof bowl until it is bubbly. Add in chocolate chips and stir until smooth, making a chocolate ganache. Spoon the chocolate ganache into the pie shell, spread it into a thin layer, and allow it to cool completely.

Take the finished earl grey pastry cream and fill the pie. Smooth out the top. Take the 2 cups of reserved whipping cream and spoon onto the top and spread it out. Decorate with pistachios. Serve cold.

Coconut Almond Berry Tart

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About a week or two ago, I met with one of my professors for coffee. We caught up for about an hour and it made me so glad and thankful I go to school that I do! I was reminded that there are professors who genuinely care about their students, their wellbeing and success in life. I cherish the fact that we have professors who pray before class, who reminds us to take a pause through the busyness of life and remember who we are living for.

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Through this conversation, she told me her daughter had a gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and rice allergy. The bells in my head started to ding and I saw it as a challenge to find something that is completely safe for her to eat while retaining the same delicious flavor that a typical dessert has. My mom is also gluten intolerant and in the past, I have played with gluten free flours, almond flours, and coconut flours. However, I have always been able to use butter and eggs as a binding agent. This time around, I could not use butter as it is a dairy product nor could I use eggs due to the allergy. I did some recipe research, and while I came across many different crust recipes, none of them seemed to be able to produce something that looked like it would be a normal, full of gluten and full of dairy kind of tart. Many kinds seemed to be too crumbly, chunky, and not very appetizing. There were many close “candidates” but then would use a little bit of butter or an egg. And then I came across this crust recipe.

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It perfectly excluded all five of the required items. I decided to try this recipe because of the color of the crust and how it seemed like it was able to hold its shape by itself. I cut the recipe in half as I was only testing it out, and I regretted it, only because I wish I made more. The crust came out beautifully golden brown and as it was baking in the oven, the whole apartment filled with a beautiful nutty smell.

To begin, measure out all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

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Pour in the water and vanilla and thoroughly mix it together with a pastry cutter. Then, pour in the melted coconut oil and honey and make sure it is all incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly. Can you see the small specks of cinnamon? Smells soooo good!

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Press the mixture into a tart tin. I am using mini nonstick ones since this is just a trial run. If you have a tart tin that is not a nonstick one, make sure you rub a thin layer of coconut oil all around the inside to ensure easy removal. Even so, because this mixture is crumbly, I recommend you use a tart tin with a removable bottom.

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Press the crust up the sides of the tin.

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Then, take the back side of a knife, and swipe the excess off. I am swiping to the left in this photo.

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You will get a nice clean edge. Because I cut the recipe in half, it was enough for two tart shells. If you use a full recipe, you should be able to make one full 8 or 9 inch tart.

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Bake in the oven until the sides are nice and golden brown. While these were baking, the bottom of the crust puffed up a little bit and I simply pressed it back down. Allow them to cool completely before removing from the tins. Gently remove them from the tins when cool. While I was removing them, one of the two stuck a little to the bottom and broke apart since it was not completely cooled. My strong recommendation to you is to allow it to completely cool and use a tart pan with a removable bottom!!

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I am now down to just one tart shell. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil until it is smooth and one mixture.

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Fill the chocolate into the tart shell, but do not fill to the top. The weight of the berries will cause the chocolate to rise.

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Place it into the refrigerator to slightly cool to a room temperature. Then, fill it with the desired berries or fruit and refrigerate until the ganache is set!

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Isn’t food so so beautiful?! And we have been given the privilege to enjoy and feast upon it!!

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This recipe is a definite winner, and I’ll be using it in the future, allergy or not!!

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Coconut Almond Berry Tart

Tart Crust

(In the photos above, I cut the recipe in half. The below recipes are given in full measurements.)

recipe from Grass Fed Kitchen 

1½ c almond flour/meal

¼ c coconut flour

¾ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp baking soda

⅛ tsp salt

¼ cup cold water

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup honey

1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted in liquid form

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until well combined.

Stir in the cold water and vanilla extract. Using a pastry cutter, mix in the honey and coconut oil until there are no clumps.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (30 minutes on a cooking rack) before filling.

Chocolate Coconut Ganache and Berries

1 c semisweet chocolate chips (make sure they are allergen free. Some chocolate chips contain dairy. The safest choice is to use Enjoy Life chocolate chips)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1-2 cups of mixed berries

Over a double boiler or in a microwave on medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and oil until it is melted and completely comes together. Spoon into the tart shells. Make sure you leave 1/2 to 1 centimeter of the tart shell unfilled as the weight of the fruit will cause the chocolate level to rise. Place it in the refrigerator to cool to room temperature. Top with fruits (pat completely dry) and return to the fridge to cool completely. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Raspberry Nutella Tart

Photo Feb 05, 3 11 34 PM

It’s the second week of school. Agh.

This week has been a complete blur. Still trying to get used to my new class schedule. Trying to meet up with people and catch up. Trying to get ahead of classes, and even more, trying to turn in my this week’s papers in on time. So many things and with that comes one comfort. CHOCOLATE. and more specifically, NUTELLA. AND TODAY IS WORLD NUTELLA DAY SO HAPPY WORLD NUTELLA DAY!

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I am so appreciative of this beauty, of this art, of this masterpiece. Nutella has been there through all nighters, midnight snacks, study sessions, and simply just because. Because of the existence of nutella, the existence of Ferrero Rocher exists. My absolute favorite.

So in honor of this amazing product, I decided to make Raspberry Nutella Tarts. I have made multiple types of tarts in the past, but this was my first time making a chocolate pastry dough. I typically have to test out several recipes or do some tweaking but this one is perfect. I love how it came out, the crisp crunch and not too overwhelming flavor of chocolate which lets the filling take the spotlight. One batch of the recipe was able to make 12-18 mini tarts, depending on how thin you are able to roll your pastry dough. I was able to get 16 out of them and could have done two more with the left over dough, but I wouldn’t have enough fruit to fill them so I just said screw it. just kidding I just said “sorry you have been overworked and kneaded.”

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Once the pastry crusts have been baked and cooled, I placed a dollop of pure nutella onto the pastry crust then layered on the whipped nutella ganache.

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Once the nutella ganache was spread out, I laid on the fresh raspberries. I had washed these raspberries at the very beginning and lined them all up straight so they could have time to dry properly. If there was still water on them you could end up with raspberry juice drippings!

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Finally, I topped them off with a small spring of mint! The mint is not absolutely needed but I think it makes the tart complete!

The sweetness from the chocolate and nutella are balanced out by the tartness from the raspberries making it an overall crispy, creamy, yet well balanced tart.

Happy World Nutella Day!!

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Raspberry Nutella Tarts

recipe adapted from As Easy As Apple Pie

makes 12-16 mini tarts

Chocolate Pastry Crust, recipe below

Nutella

Whipped Nutella Ganache, recipe below

18 oz raspberries (3 containers)

mint for garnish

To assemble, spoon a small dollop of nutella into the cooled pastry crust. Then, spoon in the whipped nutella ganache and spread it out evenly. Arrange the raspberries on to the tart. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

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Chocolate Pastry Crust

1 3/4 c all purpose flour, sifted

2 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

3/4 c powder sugar, sifted

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. In the same bowl, use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture. As the butter is being incorporated into the flour mixture, it should look like small pebbles. Sift in the powder sugar. In a small bowl, beat the egg, salt, and vanilla with a fork and add it into the dry mixture. Using the pastry cutter, continue to cut everything in until just combined. Turn it out onto the table and without kneading the dough, form the dough into a disk and tightly wrap with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour until completely chilled.

To bake, roll out the dough onto a floured surface. You want to aim for at least 1/8 inch thickness, but the thinner the better. Use a knife to cut the dough into pieces. To know how large of a piece to cut, place your tart pan onto the dough. You should cut 1/2 inch around the perimeter.

Using your fingers (with short fingernails), gently press the dough into the shell. Do not pull or stretch the dough, as it will cause the pastry shell to shrink while baking. Gently press it into the edges and into the ridges. With the non-sharp side of the knife, press down into the edge of the tart pan to remove the excess dough. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the shells to form little holes. This is called “docking” and will prevent the bottom from puffing up while baking. Refrigerate and chill for 20 minutes.

Bake the shells in a 350 degree oven for around 15 minutes. When the edges are just slightly turning a more golden brown, they are ready. Do not over bake as it will cause it to be too crispy and hard to eat.

Remove from the tins and let them cool completely on wire wracks.

Whipped Nutella Ganache

1 c heavy cream

1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate

1 c nutella

Heat up the heavy cream, either in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave, until it is foamy on the top (microwave for about 1 min 30 seconds).

Pour in the nutella and chocolate chips and with a rubber spatula, gently mix until it forms a uniform chocolate sauce. Once it is all smooth, cover with a saran wrap and place in the fridge to cool completely.

Once it is completely cooled, place it into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until the color has lightened and the texture is light and airy.

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Apple Cinnamon Galette

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I confess. I have begun watching Downton Abbey and I LOVE it! I started watching earlier this week and am now almost done with season 3. Now another confession. You know when you are thinking in your head and have thoughts to yourself? Well…since I’ve been so infatuated with Downton Abbey…those thoughts have been with British accents. Call me weird but that is what happens when you listen to British actors episode after episode.

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Recently, I’ve come across an article by Bon Appetit which makes an apple galette. A galette is a french pastry that is traditionally made with pastry dough and filled and glazed with fruits. And then I did some more research for “apple galette” and found so many different variations, I took a little from everywhere. I used the basic pastry dough from Bon Appetit, the cinnamon sugar and honey from Food & Wine, the butter dot topping from Ina Garten, and the folding technique from HowTo.

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I must say, taking so many different components from so many different places made me worry if they would go well together. But the basic flavors of cinnamon sugar and butter tend to blend well together, so I knew it was going to be a win. As I sliced right into it, the crust came out beautiful and crispy, just the way a good tart dough should. The apples were sliced thinly enough where they just sunk into each other as they baked and the cinnamon brought me right back to the fall. Beautifully simple and superbly delish.

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Cinnamon Apple Galette

Basic Tart Dough, Bon Appetit

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 c flour

6 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cubed

1 large egg, beaten

Whisk sugar, salt, and flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Drizzle one beaten egg over the flour-butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (a few dry spots are okay). Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Filling

2 Fiji apples

1/4 c sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

honey to drizzle

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Set out the chilled pastry dough to slightly soften. Cut the apples in half, then remove the core and thinly slice. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon.

Assembly

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly flour a flat surface and your rolling pin. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle as thin as possible. Transfer it onto baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar onto the dough. Lay out the apple slices in a circle, leaving a 1 inch edge. Save the smaller slices of apples for the center and use the larger slices for the outer, overlapping as you spiral towards the center. You may or may not use all of your apple slices, depending on how thinly you sliced it. Lightly drizzle honey over the apples and spread most of the cinnamon sugar on top of the apples, leaving about 1 Tbsp.

Fold the 1 in edge of the dough up over the apples at the edge and make your way around until it is completely folded. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar on the edge. Evenly spread out the small cubes of butter on top of the apples.

Bake for 30-40 min until the dough is completely crisp and apples are browned.

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Berry Fruit Tart

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I love a good match made in heaven, especially when it uses two already beautiful components to create something even better. And I am talking about food here, and more specifically, pastry cream and a good flaky pie crust to create a fruit tart. Traditionally, most fruit tarts are made with a sweet shortbread crust but I decided to use my go to pie crust recipe that I previously used to make blueberry tartlets. This recipe creates the most delicate pie crust layers. Just look at all the layers!!

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But aside from the perfect matrimony of the two and the beautiful layers in between, I wanted to make something for a friend who I have been blessed to come to know. She is a pastor at another church, but despite the different denominations, the different cultures and maybe even some different view points within our faith, I love that we love the same God and can still come together to share with each other. I have been already so blessed by her, her amazing ministry, and her friendship even though I don’t go to her church! So excited to see God’s Kingdom advance through her ministry and am blessed by her friendship.

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Flaky Pie Crust

recipe from Tartine Bakery

1 tsp salt

2/3 c very cold water (I placed in freezer for 5-10 min)

3 c + 2 Tbsp flour

1 c + 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Dissolve salt in water and keep refrigerated until needed. In a food processor, pulse the butter and flour until it forms large crumbs. Slowly add in water while pulsing, until it loosely holds together. Roll it together so that it holds, wrap in sarane wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When completely chilled, roll out to be 1/8 in thick and cover the pie tins. Use the back of a knife to cut off any excess dough. Use a knife to prick the bottom of the crust. Line the tops with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking weights (beans, rice, etc). Bake for 20-25 min, until golden brown around the sides. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 5 more min, until all moisture has evaporated from the crust. Slide out of the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Pastry Cream

adapted from Tartine Bakery

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 salt

5 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 c heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar

Heat the milk and salt in a sauce pan until it boils. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, sugar, and eggs until thick and smooth. Add half of the boiling milk into the mixture to temper the eggs, then return the mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Whisk continuously on medium high heat until the cornstarch cooks and the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. After 10 minutes, whisk in the butter 1 Tbsp at a time. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream to cool to avoid the creation of a “skin” layer.

Once ready to use, whip up the whipping cream with remaining sugar until thick. Scoop out the pastry cream and whisk in the whipping cream until completely smooth, light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag to be ready to use!

Blueberry Tart Pastry

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Throwback! I was going through my phone the other day and I realized I never posted about my blueberry tart pastries! I took all the pictures yet completely forgot to do the typing! Ah well here it is!

Photo Aug 27, 7 59 22 PM

It’s blueberry season!! (At least it was some weeks ago when I actually made these….) I was at the farmers market and there was just this cutest stand with piles and piles of blueberries and then my head started to race– blueberry muffins? Blueberry pie? Blueberry crisps? NO! Blueberry tarts!!

Photo Jul 22, 9 16 28 PM

In a past post, I’ve made Strawberry Fruit Tarts and were so easy and simple I decided to make it again, only to top it this time with blueberries! I gave it a final dusting of powder sugar and was SO satisfied with the results!

Photo Aug 27, 7 58 09 PM

I had previously went a little crazy at Pier 1 Imports. They were having a summer sale and I was just excited to see what else they had that, well, I can have. They had the most beautiful lace plates that I absolutely could not resist. The detail work in the border just brings everything to another level. I also stocked up on some mini casserole dishes and mini trifle bowls to be made into a tiramisu! Either way, my wallet and bank account is in grave danger every time I go in. I always spend more that intended, but leave being more inspired and creative with what to make next!

Photo Jul 22, 9 11 45 PM

Basic Fruit Tart

Pate sucree (Sweet Shortbread Crust)

adapted from Joy of Baking

1 cup flour

pinch of salt

1/3 c powdered sugar

1/2 c cold and cubed unsalted butter

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until it begins to clump together. Pour out onto floured surface and clump all together so it forms a smooth ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Butter and flour four 4inch tartlet pans. Divide the dough into 4 even portions and press into the tartlet pans so it is evenly distributed and smoothed out. Once you have finished all four, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take the tart crusts out of the fridge and using a fork, poke small holes into the bottom of the crust. Use aluminum foil and cover the top of the crusts, and pour in dried beans to use as a weight. This keeps the crust from poofing up while baking.

Put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Take out of the oven and remove the beans and aluminum. Bake for 5 more minutes until the crust is completely golden. Let it cool completely before gently removing from the pans. Set it on a cooling rack to cool even further.

Pastry Cream

1 1/4 c milk

1 tsp vanilla

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1/4 c sugar

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp corn starch

1/2 c heavy whipping cream

In a medium sauce pan on medium high heat, bring the milk and the vanilla to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch. As soon as the milk boils, lower the heat to medium and add 1/4 of the heated milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk fast, being careful not to cook the egg yolks and make scrambled eggs. Once it has been fully mixed through, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan, continuing to whisk to mix through. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the cream, and let it cool to room temperature. Once completely cooled, whisk the heavy whipping cream on high until it holds a peak, and then fold into the custard.

Assembly:

Take the pastry cream and spoon two spoonfuls into the cooled crusts and smooth it out. Top with any amount of fruit, then dust with powder sugar.