Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sweet Tart

Once Upon a Tart: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More from New York City's Favorite Bakeshop and Cafe, named after the Soho establishment, was published way back in 2003. But it wasn't until last week that I finally got my hands on a copy. I was working on a story that featured a prominent editor who counted editing this book among his accomplishments, and I figured I should take a look.

Tart has already found its way onto the "frequent use" cookbook shelf in my kitchen. It's a restaurant book that I will actually use, unlike some beautiful but impractical tomes. This is because Tart is comprised of recipes for dishes I make very often: soups, sandwiches, salads, quick breads, cookies... and tarts. Never mind that until last week I'd never made a tart in my life. I've lots of experience with quiches, and after my first dip into tartdom (sounds saucy!), I may be convinced to change my savory pie tune.

I made the Provencal Tart with Gruyere and Herbes de Provence, a tasty tart with oozy tomatoes, a little bang from the sharp cheese, and a perfectly crunchy crust. I made numerous amendments to the recipe: cornmeal instead of semolina flour in the crust, sliced tomatoes instead of cored sliced tomatoes, heavy cream instead of light cream, and I skipped one refrigeration step with the dough. It still turned out great. My parents and I enjoyed it with a bibb lettuce salad and some crusty bread from across the street.

What should I make next? Maybe the Sauteed Spinach-and-Mushroom Tart with Ricotta Cheese, with its pretty lattice crust? Or the Caramelized-Leek-and-Celery Tart, which the authors promise melts in your mouth? Or I could go sweet: Jerome's Mother's Famous Apricot Tart looks awfully good, with burnt-at-the-edges apricots atop apple butter. So does the Alsatian Apple Tart, with its perfectly thin slices of apple looking just gorgeous. Guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.--S

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