Monday, July 28, 2014

Ham and Leek Tart

Ham and Leek Tart is one of my all time favorite savory tarts.  I love the golden flaky free form crust and the filling is divine!  It's a simple filling consisting of a good quality baked ham from the deli and fresh leeks sliced and sauteed in butter and white wine.  It's a lovely combination and it most certainly will impress!  

Ham and Leek Tart
Serves 4
For the filling...
1 pound fresh leeks, cleaned, trimmed and sliced 
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb baked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
For the pastry...
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, well chilled
6 tablespoons ice water approximately
For the glaze...
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream

To make the filling, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet.  Add the sliced leeks and cook over medium heat stirring to coat leeks with butter.  Continue cooking until leeks begin to wilt.  Add the ham, wine and seasonings, cover the pan reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture until the leeks are very tender about half an hour.  Most of the liquid should be evaporated at this point, if not, remove cover and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg yolk and the cream together and add to the mixture, stirring well.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool.

To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt together in a chilled bowl.  Working quickly, cut the butter into the flour leaving bits of flour coated butter.  Add only enough ice water to form a dough.  Gather dough into a ball and on a floured work table shape into an even rectangle.  Wrap and chill for 1/2 an hour. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To assemble the tart, roll the pastry out on a floured work surface, to a slightly larger 12 inch square, then trimming to an even 12 inch square.  Cut into two pieces, one 12X7 inches, the other 12X5 inches.  Place the larger rectangle on a parchment lined baking pan.

Spread the cooled filling to within an inch of the boarder of the larger sheet. Cut a 1/2 inch square out of each corner of the rectangle.  
Make several 3 inch horizontal slashes 1 inch apart in the smaller rectangle and carefully place it over the filling.

Mix the egg and the heavy cream for the glaze.  Brush the edges of the bottom crust with the glaze and turn up the edges to overlap the top crust.  Press to seal.

Brush the top of the tart with the glaze and place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush again with the glaze and resume baking for another 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Tart may be served hot from the oven or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wasabi Crab Cakes with Mango Cucumber Salsa

  I first discovered these little cakes over at Elana's Pantry
she has a wonderful paleo and gluten free site well worth checking out.  Her recipe uses fresh salmon for her cakes but I was looking for a crab cake recipe with an Asian flavor.  This recipe definitely fit the bill.  I cut back on the wasabi for our taste and added a cool mango and cucumber salsa to serve along side.  This is a great summertime recipe that is quick and easy to prepare. 


Makes 6- 2 1/2 inch cakes

8 ounces fresh lump meat crab
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, green and white parts
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 large egg, slightly beat
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons wasabi powder
coconut oil


Squeeze any water from the crabmeat and place crab in a medium bowl.  Add ginger, scallions, cilantro, egg, lime juice, almond meal and salt.  Mix together well.  In a small bowl, combine the wasabi powder with enough water to make a moist paste and add this to the crab mixture mixing well and being sure the wasabi is distributed throughout the mixture.


Form into patties (I use an ice cream scoop to divide mixture evenly into 6 portions).

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Saute cakes until golden brown, 4-5 minutes on each side.  Enjoy!

To make the Mango Cucumber Salsa...

1/2 cup cucumber,  peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon fresh chili pepper, minced, seeds and ribs removed, unless you like it hot!
1 tablespoon dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing well and refrigerate for 1 hour.


Monday, July 7, 2014

S'mores Tart

This tart is an elegant take on a fun outdoor dessert.  A buttery graham cracker crust filled with a luscious velvety chocolate truffle filling and topped with a deliciously sweet toasted marshmallow meringue.  An easy no bake  dessert the whole crowd will love!


For the crust...
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
7 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling...
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces and placed in a heat proof bowl
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

For the marshmallow meringue...
2 egg whites, room temperature 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup or light corn syrup may be used
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

This can be made in a 9 inch round tart pan, I used a 13 1/2 X 4 inch rectangle tart pan.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix together until the crumbs are moistened and coming together.  Evenly press the crumbs over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, pressing firmly.  Chill the shell in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
Using a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds.  Stir very gently until chocolate melts completely and mixture is smooth.  

Remove the shell from the refrigerator.  Pour the chocolate through a fine strainer into the tart shell, spread evenly.  Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

When the chocolate is set, place the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs to a soft peak.

Place the remaining sugar in a medium saucepan and add the water and golden syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat giving a light stir with a wooden spoon to be sure the sugar has melted.  Continue to cook until the syrup reaches 240° or a soft ball stage.  Remove from the heat.

Very carefully stream the syrup into the bowl while the mixer is on low speed. Continue to mix until all the syrup in incorporated.  Add the vanilla and turn up the mixer to high and whip until thick and fluffy. 

You may pipe or swirl the meringue over the tart.  Brown the meringue using a brulee torch or the broiler of your oven, watching carefully, for a few minutes until browned and lightly toasted.  Enjoy!