Tarts



Tarts conjure up images of colorful pastry cases and proper afternoon teas, but there’s no reason not to make them at home. Tart crusts can be made from short crust or puff pastry, in a tin or free form, and because the tart is open-faced, no one will know if your crust is less than perfect. Have beautiful fruit from the farmers’ market? Don’t hide it in a pie. Tarts are the perfect way to showcase your seasonal bounty. Looking to impress dinner guests? Custard tarts are as easy as fill-and-bake, but they look like they require extra pastry knowledge. Food & Wine’s guide to tarts includes tips for perfecting the art of the tart, plus recipes that are made for the holidays, recipes by season and more.

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Turmeric Custard Pie with Raspberries

Tart raspberries add a sweet burst of flavor to this custardy pie. A pinch of black pepper adds a mild savory note, while turmeric tints the filling with its vibrant golden hue. A custard will still jiggle slightly when fully baked; pull this golden pie from the oven when the edges are set and the center wobbles a bit for the silkiest, creamiest texture.

Lemon Curd Tart

To make a simple topping for this elegant dessert, add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar to the leftover egg whites and whip to stiff peaks to make a meringue. Garnishing the tart with mixed citrus segments adds a natural sweetness to balance the rich, tart lemon curd filling. Read Jamila Robinson​​​​​​​'s essay about this recipe, Romancing the Stove.

Boozy Bourbon-Pecan Tassies

Each year after the Thanksgiving feast, my family sprawls in the living room, feet up, pants buttons undone (not a thing for me, as I’ve learned to wear stretchy pants on this particular day). The sound of snoring from a few select family members is drowned out by the football game on TV. It’s a common scene in households across the land. And while most people blame the tryptophan in the turkey for this all-American post-Thanksgiving naptime tradition, I blame the third slice of pie, which is always, for me, pecan. In the game of chess that is my Thanksgiving dessert table, pumpkin pie is king, and Grandma’s apple pie is queen, and I always have a slice of each. Pecan is more like the rook—noble and beguiling, it draws me in every year with its crackly, nut-flecked top and gooey, sweet filling. Yes, pecan pie is the third-best holiday pie—yet I still can’t resist having some. But really all I want is one perfect bite of pecan pie, so you’ll find just a sliver on my dessert plate. The problem with just-a-sliver of pecan pie is that it is an imbalanced specimen: That gooey, cloyingly sweet filling is never juxtaposed with enough flaky crust. Even one bite is sometimes too much. Enter the tassie. These diminutive pecan pie poppers, with a higher crust-to-filling ratio, offer the perfect bite. I spike them with bourbon to both cut through and complement the sweetness. And you (yes, you) can get this cream cheese crust right 100% of the time. The dough is forgiving as can be; no rolling pin needed, just press it into mini muffin cups, fill, and bake. What’s that you say? Oh, you don’t own a mini muffin tin, because you’re a normal human? Well, go down to the thrift store and buy yourself one for next to nothing. (Goodwill is my go-to for almost-unnecessary kitchen equipment on the cheap.) It’s a wise investment for winning the Thanksgiving dessert game for years to come.

Sour Cherry and Vanilla Cream Tart (Gâteau Saumurois)

This larger-sized version of chef Marie Monmousseau’s petit tarts is reason enough to throw a party. Crisp semolina pastry holds in smooth pastry cream and tart cherry preserves. Keep it chilled until ready to serve for even, clean slicing.

Rhubarb Tart

Spring rhubarb is wonderfully pink and tender, so you can dispense with the poaching step and put it straight into a pastry case (shell) with a little brown sugar before putting it in the oven. The sugar caramelizes to give an almost toffeelike flavor. Make it the day before so that the flavors have a chance to soak into the pastry, or eat it immediately. Either way, it goes well with cream, custard or ice-cream. —Aaron Bertelsen Adapted from The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, $39.95 US/$49.95 CAN, March 2017) Slideshow: More Pie & Tart Recipes

Bittersweet Chocolate Tarts

You will need six 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms to make these lovely bittersweet chocolate tarts from The Sportsman in England. Slideshow: More Chocolate Dessert Recipes

More Tarts

Hazelnut-Rosemary Caramel Tart

According to Jessica Koslow, chef-owner of Sqirl in Los Angeles, their pastry chef, Meadow Ramsey, “makes the best pies and tarts on earth,” and we agree. In tinkering to find an alternative to using corn syrup in this nutty tart, Ramsey discovered that a mix of brown rice syrup and brown sugar creates a custard with an amazing caramelly flavor and a luscious texture. Slideshow: More Pie and Tart Recipes

Lemon Tarts

The classic lemon tart has plenty of versions to savor, with creamy lemon curd and sweet fruit additions.