I knew I bought that black cocoa for a reason….

I just didn’t quite know what I would use it for when I bought it.

I mean, come on, black cocoa! How could I resist? 

I started with a simple tart shell, blind baked.

I had been hoarding a Pinterest recipe for tangerine curd and really wanted to make it for the holiday. The creaminess and silkiness of curd is easy with any fruit and is simply a perfect mix of eggs, sugar, fruit, and heat. Allow me to explain…

Zest three tangerines, and then juice them along with a 4th tangerine. Set juice aside.

Pròcess the zest and 1.5 cups of sugar in the food processor.

Then just mix 4 eggs with the sugar and juice over medium heat. Don’t walk away or you wil live to regret it! Whisk and whisk some more and the curd will thicken like magic! 

After chilling the curd for about an hour, I poured it into the tart shell and chilled some more.

Next, on to ganache! Another superb confluence cooked over heat. Eight ounces heavy cream on medium heat just till it starts to bubble at the edge, but don’t let it boil! Whisk in 7 ounces of the cocoa powder or broken up dark chocolate pieces. Add a little vanilla and about a tablespoon of corn syrup to smooth it out. Again, mixture will thicken all at once. Pour over filling in shell and chill until service!

P.S. In the process of zesting the citrus, I discovered I have a problem…seven peelers/zesters. Outnumbered in the drawer only by the 14 spatulas…all pink.

What to do with?

I had a sheet of puff pastry in the frig and picked up these aptly named, beautiful,  sunshine raspberries. This purchase happily coincided with a precipitous drop in temperature and humidity, allowing me to TURN ON THE OVEN! For the first time in what seems like years, but was probably only weeks…

I blind baked the pastry crust and sorted the raspberries, only one bad one in the bunch! 

Then the happy, magic concoction of egg yolk, sugar, cream, a little milk, a little flour and vanilla bean and whisk and temper the ingredients over medium heat. You will be rewarded with pastry cream….

That you can then spread on your crispy, flaky, buttery pastry…

That you can then top with fruit and some thinned out apricot glaze….which you can enjoy sitting by the fire pit on a chilly nite with the Hubs!

Tale of Two Tarts

Part II

There once was a girl with two tarts…


Where cooking came straight from her heart…

Instead of potato, she found heirloom tomato…Added an egg and bleu cheese..

And topped it with bacon, much better than peas!


Same steps, except no oil basting, but added an egg and about a quarter cup of half and half…


Baked this one for about 45 minutes to make sure egg was cooked through. Before serving, top with chopped bacon! 

It should be noted that these are very thin tarts, not thick like pie, so they can be used in a variety of ways. 

Taste of the Tropics

Really there is nothing to do in this abysmal weather but to bake….I thought I would take advantage of the 4/$5 mangoes at the market on the weekend and attempt a copycat of this tart that I had around this time last year. I’m grateful for the ilities that we take for granted; safe, warm and dry housing, a responsive thermostat, a garage, plow service, a full refrigerator and power, but enough already! At this rate, I won’t be able to plant tomatoes till July!

Yesterday I made a short crust with flour, cold cubed butter, a little cream, and sugar. I made it in the cuisinart and then pressed it into a round foil tin. I didn’t have a tart pan, but this did the trick for the first time.

Then I made a pastry cream with egg yolks, sugar, cream, milk and a vanilla bean. Split and scrape the vanilla bean and let the vanilla bean and vanilla steep in boiled mixture of cream and milk ( removed from heat) for 15 minutes. Add a little hot mixture at a time to the mixed egg yolks and sugar so it tempers and then mix the remainder. Put the mixture back on the heat to boil and thicken.

Cover the thickened pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap so it doesn’t grow a skin and refrigerate

This morning, I peeled and cut the mangoes into slices. I bought four mangoes but only needed to use two, so the rest will go in a smoothie or some kind of salad. I think they needed another day to really ripen, but I forged ahead regardless.

Then I filled the tart shell with pastry cream and started to arrange the slices to resemble a flower starting at outside rim. Once complete, I added a little hot water to some apricot jam and glazed the top of the tart so the mango won’t turn brown.

Here’s the finished product!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.