Category Archives: Tarts

Vegan Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut and Orange (Gluten Free!)

The Dessert

I realize I’ve fallen down on the job of blogging our Backstage Baker’s creations.  The last post had him creating an amazing cake for “Mother of Maid” at the Public (starring Glenn Close) way back in October of LAST year!  Here’s that link if you missed it.

After that, he went on to work with Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano on Sam Shepard’s limited run of “True West.”  While there certainly were baked goods and Wine and Unwind’s there, there were no new recipes, hence no blog posts.

Now, our Backstage Baker is stage managing yet another Broadway show, this time the blockbuster production of “Oklahoma” now playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre.  It’s nominated for ton of awards, so good luck trying to get tickets anytime soon!

Since many people in that cast are gluten-free and/or vegan, James has been experimenting.  Here’s the recipe for his most recent creation:

Vegan Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut and Orange (Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

Hazelnut Crust:
1 1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon salt

Truffle Filling:
24 ounces 2 bags vegan chocolate chips
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon orange juice

Toppings
Toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Additional orange zest strips

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 10″ tart pan and set aside.
In a food processor, chop the hazelnuts until they are a coarse crumb. Add the remaining crust ingredients and process until well combined. The crust should hold together when pressed between your fingers. Spread evenly onto tart pan, pressing it up the fluted sides. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.
To make the filling, place the chocolate chips, rum, and orange juice in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk and coconut oil to a scald (just before boiling point). Pour over chocolate chips and cover for 3 minutes. Remove lid and gently stir together until thick and dark. Pour evenly into cooled crust.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and orange peel and return to refrigerator for another hour, until chilled all the way through.
Store in the refrigerator. Delicious!!!

Dream Ballet Dancer Gabrielle Hamilton, Jimmy Davis who plays Will Parker and Mallory Portnoy who plays GertieDream Ballet Dancer Gabrielle Hamilton, Jimmy Davis who plays Will Parker and Mallory Portnoy who plays Gertie

Summer Mixed Berry Pie

Pie
Summer Mixed Berry Pie

The Backstage Baker is in rehearsals for Troilus and Cressida at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.  He made the succulent pie above for a recent Wine and Unwind.  You can almost taste it from the photo, can’t you?

Ingredients:
For the crust (a basic Pâte Brisée):

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cubed
4-5 Tbsp chilled water (as needed)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch sugar

Method:

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse in butter until it is broken up into very small beads. Add water until just incorporated.

Form dough into a ball and knead on a floured board just until it is uniform. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured board roll out dough to 1/8″ thick and a 12-13″ circle. Place in tart shell and form it to the side. Brush with egg white to keep it from getting soggy.

For the Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash salt
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup halved fresh strawberries
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter

Method:

In a large saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, water and, if desired, cinnamon until smooth; add blueberries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400°. Gently fold raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and lemon juice into blueberry mixture. Pour in prepared tart pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Reduce oven setting to 350°; bake 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Andew Burnap
Andrew Burnap who plays Troilus giving his approval

KeiLyn Jones and Andrew Chaffee
KeiLyn Jones and Andrew Chaffee enjoying Wine (or Whiskey) and Unwind in the rehearsal space- LuEsther Hall at The Public

Hamantaschen

IMG_9003

Caroline here, hijacking the Backstage Baker’s blog to share a recipe I’m baking right now.

I’ll celebrate any holiday if it involves baking.  And today is one of my all-time favorite holidays – Purim – because it features the delectable pastry (pictured above) called hamantaschen.  (For those unfamiliar with them, hamentaschen are a sweet pastry/cookie filled with apricot, prune or poppy seed jams.)

Now, in case you don’t know, Purim is a Jewish holiday.   Described in the book of Esther, it celebrates the escape of the Jewish people from the annihilation planned by the evil Haman.  Long story short (and the long story involves people named Ahasuerus, Xerxes, Zeresh and many, many others) Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he’d built to exterminate the Jews, so Purim is a joyous holiday, full of festivities, costumes and fun.  I’m not quite sure why triangular pastries have such significance – some say they represent Haman’s ears, others that they resemble the pyramidal dice Haman used to decide the day of destruction, and still others say they look like popular hats worn back in 500 BC.  Regardless, they are unique and delicious!

Hamen Taschen
(Note, you’ll get the best results if you can refrigerate this dough overnight.  I’ve only been that organized once, but it really is worth it.)

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (extracted from above orange)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Apricot, prune, poppy seed fillings (you can find these in the baking section of your grocery store)

Method:

1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.

2. Add orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and 2 eggs.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add to butter mixture until just combined.

4. Divide dough into thirds, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

5. Remove each chunk of dough one at a time and roll to 1/8” thickness.  With a 3” round cutter, cut out as many circles as possible and place on a cookie sheet. Whisk remaining egg and brush on edges of circles.  Put one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each dough circle and fold in sides to form a triangle.  Pinch the corners well to ensure the pastry keeps its shape when baking.  Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Bake until golden, 12 – 15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to racks.

Makes about 40.

Chocolate Macaroon Tart

IMG_2326

It’s Wine and Unwind time!  Now that “Hamilton” is up and running and only rehearsing 12 hours a week (in addition to an eight-show a week performance schedule) James has time to bake again.  Ahem.

Anyway, this tart was so popular that I barely had time to snap a few pictures before it was gone gone gone.  (I did manage to score a tiny slice and it was velvety smooth and delectable.  Good thing everyone else devoured it too, or else.)

It’s also gluten-free, so you can serve it to just about anyone.  A useful recipe to have in your repertoire in this day and age, no?

Chocolate Macaroon Tart

Ingredients:
10  ounce(s) (soft ) coconut macaroon cookies
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1  navel orange, for garnish

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Using a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse macaroons until fine crumbs form. Pour crumbs into prepared pan and press crumbs onto bottom and up side of pan. Bake crust 10 minutes or until golden-brown; cool completely on wire rack (about 30 minutes).

3.  In 1-quart saucepan, heat 3/4 cup cream to boiling on medium. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; with wire whisk, whisk until melted and smooth. Stir in liqueur and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell. Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.

4.  When ready to serve, in small bowl, combine sugar and remaining cream. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream until soft peaks form.

For extra credit:
With vegetable peeler, from orange, remove strips of peel measuring approximately 3″ by 1/2″. With paring knife, scrape off and discard white pith from peel; very thinly slice peel lengthwise. One at a time, wrap each strip around chopstick or pencil and hold 10 to 15 seconds or until curled. Garnish tart with whipped cream and citrus curls.

IMG_2328Lin-Manuel Miranda taking his tart very seriously.

IMG_2327Sidney Harcourt, a member of the Hamilton ensemble, digging in.

IMG_2325The glamor of theater!  Thanks Anna Wintour for the Veuve Cliquot!!

 

Rustic French Peach Tart

Peach TartRustic French Peach Tart

You just can’t keep a baker from baking . . .  James bought some delectably ripe peaches at the Farmer’s Market in Red Bank and began dreaming of peach tart.  

peach

However, the kitchen at the theatre housing is not equipped for a serious baker (thought they did buy a set of measuring cups and spoons just for James!) so he decided to do a rustic-style tart that would not need a tart pan.

Now stage managers are nothing if not resourceful.  James has a go-to Pate Brisee recipe that he usually makes in seconds in the food processor.   But with no food processor in sight, he started thinking like a pioneer baker.  (You know, the kind of pioneer baker that made pate brisee in his log cabin on the frontier!)

First, he cut up the butter into 1/4″ cubes and froze it overnight.

Frozen butter

No pastry cutter?  No problem!  James just used his trusty Bowie knife — uh, butcher knife —  to cut the butter into the flour mixture on the cutting board.

Then it came time to roll out the pastry.  No rolling pin, of course, but a wine bottle worked nicely.

Wine bottle rolling

James reports that the crust was one of the flakiest, most delicious he’s ever made and the dessert was a hit.

Phillippa Soo

Here is actress Phillipa Soo trying the Rustic French Peach Tart. She is playing Agnes in the production of  THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.

Rustic French Peach Tart

Pate Brisee (aka the crust)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold

Method:

1.  Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.

2.  Add a couple tablespoons of ice cold water (leave the ice in the glass!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.

(If you are in a frontier log cabin with no access to electricity or a food processor, place ingredients on a cutting board and literally cut them together.  Sprinkle in the ice water as needed to make the ingredients into a dough.)

3.  Remove the mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique called “fraisage.” Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough just to bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

4.  When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12-14 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

The Rustic French Peach Tart

Ingredients:

4-5 ripe peaches, washed, pit removed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1/4 cup almond meal
1 egg
2 teaspoons water
sugar for sprinkling
2 Tablespoons peach jam, warmed

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Slice peaches in half, then cut each half into π inch slices. Place peaches in a medium bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.

3.  Add sugar, flour and Herbs de Provence to the peaches. Toss to combine. James leaves the skin on the peaches for the final look of the tart.

4.  Sprinkle almond meal over the rolled out dough. This will absorb the juice of the peaches and also give it a wonderful flavor.

5.  Place peaches in a single layer over dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border around the edge.

6.  Fold the edge of the dough to cover the outermost peaches.

7.  Combine egg and water and whisk with a fork. Brush crust with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake tart in the lowest part of the oven for 50 minutes or until crust is crisp and browned. Let tart cool slightly.

8.  Brush peaches with peach jam. Dust edges with powdered sugar.

 

 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp  

Sometimes the Backstage Baker just likes to bake for himself.   With strawberries and rhubarb abundant at the Farmer’s Market, this is one of his favorite seasonal recipes.  

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp

Filling:

4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar
2 TBS flour
1 TBS butter, melted
1tsp  orange peel
1 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
6 TBS butter
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*. In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and toss. Place in a 9″ square pan, bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

2.  While the filling is in the oven, combine topping ingredients (minus the walnuts) in the food processor. Pulse to combine until mixture is crumbly.Stir inchopped pecans and sprinkle over filling. Bake until browned and bubbly 25 – 30 minutes.

Also makes a great breakfast!!!

 

Cherry Tartlets

I’ve fallen behind on my blogging responsibilities — Cub Scout Den mother duties and working at KINKY BOOTS has filled my time.  But better late than never — this is a sweet, sweet recipe that is also very easy to make.  Our James served them at a baby shower he whipped up for Crystal Dickinson and Brandon Dirden.  (Brandon, as you may or may not know, plays Martin Luther King in ALL THE WAY.  Crystal played Francine/Lena in CLYBOURNE PARK.)

Wine and Unwind will return shortly — James has been tweaking a recipe for Mini-Chocolate Cakes with Peanut Butter Cream that he’ll be sharing sooner rather than later (I hope!).

Cherry Tartlets

Cherry Tartlets

Ingredients:

For the dough:
8 ounce package cream cheese 1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:
8 ounce pkg. cream cheese
4 Tablespoon milk
8 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling

Method:

1.  Let cheese soften at room temperature. Cream together with butter.

2.  Mix together next 3 ingredients; combine with creamed mixture. Wrap dough in waxed paper. Chill 4 hours or overnight.

3.  Divide dough into balls about the size of walnuts. Place each ball in a 2″ muffin cup. Press dough on bottom and sides of muffin cups. Prick with fork. Bake in 350 degree oven 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

4.  For the filling:
Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Mix together with milk and sugar. Place a spoonful in each cooked tartlet shell.

5.  Using a can of Cherry pie filling, place a couple cherries over cheese filling.

Yield: 48 tarts 

 

Crystal & BrandonThe happy parents-to-be Crystal and Brandon.