Tomato Tart

While it's not tomato season yet in Michigan, the farmers market is starting to have some very nice greenhouse tomatoes that are actually pretty good. I've picked up a few over the last couple weeks and have been quite happy with them, on sandwiches or salads. Over the winter I've forgotten how much I love having fresh tomatoes around, they are so useful and so delicious. They may not be fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun tomatoes, but I am happy with them for now, and they worked perfectly in this tomato tart.

This tart is basically just a pizza in a different form, and it was delicious. Spreading an entire head of roasted garlic on the crust is a brilliant start. Since I had mozzarella in the freezer, I used that instead of the Fontina which was called for. I would have loved to use Fontina, but the mozzarella was still very good. Fresh basil on top was the perfect finishing touch. I thought this tart was just wonderful, and I can't wait to make it again with my very own tomatoes, fresh from the garden.

Tomato Tart

From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • All purpose flour for dusting
  • 1/2 recipe Pate Brissee (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 cup grated Fontina or mozzarella (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • course salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the garlic on a piece of foil; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Fold the foil up around the garlic, sealing the edges, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until golden brown and the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the clovees out of their skins and into a small bowl, mash with fork and set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 13 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 10 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into the edges. Using a rolling pin or a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with the top edge of the tart pan; chill tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Spread roasted garlic evenly on the bottom of the chilled shell. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Arrange the tomato slices in an overlapping circular pattern on top of the cheese, working from the out edge toward the center. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake tart until crust is golden and tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Thinly slice basil leaves lengthwise. Sprinkle tart with basil, and serve warm.

Pate Brisee

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender or two fork.)

With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together with out being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still to crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic  wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

This semester my sister Lara and I started a new weekly tradition. Once a week, usually Wednesday or Thursday mornings, we head over to our favorite local bakery, Wealthy Street Bakery, where we split a pastry and enjoy a cup of super dark coffee with plenty of half and half. It has probably become my favorite time of the week! Each week it can be difficult to decide what to get to eat, the options are all so good. There are muffins, scones, croissants danishes, cinnamon rolls, breakfast cookies, babka and bread pudding to name just a few! There is absolutely no way I can name a favorite breakfast treat, but I do have to say that I absolutely love the flavor and texture of their scones. They are so light and soft, yet slightly crisp, light but not overly delicate. In the last few months I have been on the search for a scone recipe that may somewhat compare to these little beauties. Here is one attempt at this difficult and important challenge.

I decided to start by trying Martha Stewart's scones from her Baking Handbook, which is a wonderful cookbook and has never let me down. This was no exception. These scones turned out delicious, with a great texture and were beautiful too. I have been enjoying them all week with a smile on my face.

With that said, these scones were not exactly like the scones from Wealthy Street. They are not quite as tender, and just a little too crunchy. Instead of being lightly crisp on the outside, they are slightly firmer, not quite as light. I fixed this a little by turning the temperature of the oven down partway through baking which worked very well, but they were still a little harder than I want. Still delicious of course, but not the texture I am looking for. However, the flavor is excellent and the scone overall is fantastic. Definitely something I can make again (after I find the copycat recipe I want so badly!). Give these scones a try, they really will make your breakfast extra special.

Look at the height of that scone

Sugary and crunchy top, beautiful 

golden brown

Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Adapted From: Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sanding sugar for sprinkling

Directions

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Mix in chocolate chips

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the cream into the flour mixture. Slowly draw the dry ingredients over the cream, gradually gathering and combining the dough until just coming together. If it is too dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands press and pat the dough into a circle, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet; cover with plastic and freeze until very firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight. (At this point you can freeze the unbaked scones in a resealable plastic bag until ready to bake, up to 3 weeks.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with a couple tablespoons of cream or milk; brush over the tops of the scones and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar, if using. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 15 to 20 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature. 

Cheesy Homemade Pizza

I love pizza.

I could eat pizza every day.

Pizza is delicious.

I've never eaten a pizza I didn't like.

Cheese + Bread + Tomatoes = LOVE


If you couldn't tell, pizza is one of my all time favorite foods. We had pizza every week growing up and so I get very sad if I don't get it on a fairly regular basis. Over the last couple years I have started making my own pizza once in a while. I think it's fun to do and tastes pretty delicious. This will definitely not be my only homemade pizza post.

I have learned a few things about pizza making over the years, here are some of my tips. I welcome any other advice that you might have:
  1. While a pizza stone will make the best crust, a cookie sheet pre-heated in the oven does a decent job. 
  2. Crank your oven up as hot as it can possible go (mine goes to 550), and let it heat up that cookie sheet for at least 20-30 minutes. 
  3. Make the pizza on a piece of parchment paper. When you're ready to put it in the oven, lift up the parchment paper place it, pizza and all, on the super hot pizza sheet. 
  4. Just keep an eye on it and pull it out when the crust is light brown and the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown in spots-when it looks good to you. This will probably take less than 10 minutes.  
  5. Let it sit a few minutes before cutting in, so the cheese has time to set slightly.
  6. Eat and enjoy!


Shape the dough, it turns out looking different every time

Grate up some mozzarella
Heat up some sauce

Spread it on

Ready for the best part!

 I love cheese

So delicious, I could seriously eat this every day

Note: Here is the recipe I use as printed, but I don't follow it exactly. I usually use instant yeast so I can throw it right in with the flour. Also, I sometimes add a little more salt and olive oil, just my preference, it's a pretty forgiving dough, so just do what you like!


Pizza Crust
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Ingredients
  • 1 c warm water (about 110 degrees) 
  • 1/4 tsp sugar 
  • 1 envelope (1/4 oz) active dry yeast 
  • 14 oz (about 2 3/4 c) all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp table salt 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil 
  • Cornmeal for dusting 
Directions
In a small bowl, sprinkle sugar and yeast over warm water; stir with a fork until yeast and sugar dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse flour and table salt to combine. Add yeast mixture and oil; pulse until mixture comes together but is still slightly tacky. Dough should pull away cleanly from your fingers after it's squeezed. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times, until a smooth ball forms.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

Punch down dough. Fold dough back onto itself four or five times, then turn smooth side up. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide dough into two equal pieces. Knead each piece four or five times, then form a smooth ball. Return on ball to oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Pat remaining ball into a flattened disk; cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 5 minutes.

The dough is now ready for use, go wild!

(Alternately, the dough can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day; before using, let it come to room temperature. If freezing, dough should be shaped and wrapped well in plastic first. Thaw completely in fridge.)