Category Archives: Pies & Pie Bars

Cherry Almond Tart

Cherry Almond Tart

Of all the wonderful things about cherry season—namely, that there are cherries everywhere and in everything—the lone drawback is that it’s quick. Cherries arrive in the produce section fast and furious, and then suddenly two months have passed and you’re googling pumpkin recipes again. Where does the time go?

Cherry Almond Tart

I have spent every summer of this blog’s brief existence trying to fill it with recipes highlighting every major warm weather fruit group. There are many (so, so many) berry recipes and a shocking number of peach desserts considering that I don’t care much for cooked stone fruit, but I’m happy if I nail down one cherry treat per year. Lucky for all of us, this year’s Cherry Almond Tart is a notch above the rest.

The secret? Frangipane aka almond pastry cream. It’s easy to make—it’s just a blend of almond flour (or whole blanched almonds), sugar, eggs and a few other baking staples—and is spread into a thin layer between rough puff pastry dough and a bevy of pitted whole cherries. As it bakes, this thin blanket of almond cream puffs up and nearly envelops the cherries, and gets a touch dark on top.

Cherry Almond Tart

The results are outstanding. Every bite is full of juicy, collapsed cherries, flaky pastry and a soft, thick layer of frangipane. I gilded the lily with some confectioner’s sugar and sliced almonds, but it truly needs no adornment. But, you know, ice cream is never a bad idea.

Cherry Almond Tart

Heads up that I’m on vacation this week! I’ll be taking Friday off to spend time with my family, but I have an epic ice cream recipe coming next Wednesday. Have a great week, y’all.

Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart
makes one tart, about 8-10 servings

Rough Puff Pastry*:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted European butter (I used Kerrygold)
1/4 cup water or milk of choice, very cold

Frangipane:
1 cup blanched almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Cherries:
2 1/2 cups whole sweet cherries, stemmed & pitted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Garnish:
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Note: If you’d like to use frozen (thawed) puff pastry instead of Rough Puff Pastry, start the recipe at the paragraph beginning “Make the tart.”

Make the Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8x10" rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8x10" rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10x14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any excess overhang. Use your knife to score a rectangle on the dough, so that there is a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Dock the center rectangle of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Remove crust from the refrigerator. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread frangipane in a thin layer all over the docked rectangle. Evenly scatter the cherries over the top. Sprinkle with sugar, then dot with butter.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl, then use a fork to whisk them together. Use a pastry brush (or a clean finger) to brush egg wash over exposed crust.

Bake tart for 28-30 minutes, until puffed and golden all over. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice the tart, then sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve, garnished with sliced almonds, if desired.

Tart is best within 48 hours. Wrap leftovers and keep them in the refrigerator.
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II

Every year I consider doing a “No-Bake Summer,” wherein I only make desserts (and other things) that don’t require cranking the oven in my already-too-hot apartment. I’ve never gone through with it though, mostly because I just really love to bake (regardless of the potential for heatstroke). That said, I have a whole new appreciation for no-bake desserts after the searing hot temperatures we had in NYC this week.

I’ve done a no-bake round-up before, but it’s been a few years. In the intervening time, I’ve added to my repertoire of creamy pies, non-traditional s’mores, puddings, and mason jar desserts. Instead of relying on ambient 350F (or so) heat to provide structure and flavor, all of these recipes rely on things like stovetop cooking (double boilers!), stiff peaks of whipped cream, coconut oil, and long chills for their deliciousness. There’s no wrong way to get your no-bake on! Here are a few of my oven-free favorites from the archives.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is simpler than you may think, and takes all of fifteen minutes to whisk up. Made rich with whole milk and egg yolks and flavored with both cocoa powder and dark chocolate, this classic stovetop dessert is not to be missed!

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Vegan Cheesecake (3 ways!)

Vegan cheesecakes require a bit more planning ahead than your average no-bake dessert, but they are so worth the minimal effort. These concoctions of soaked cashews, coconut oil, coconut cream, maple syrup and other delicious things come together in a blender, then firm up in the fridge. Their texture is as luxurious as any dairy cheesecake, and they are sooo delicious. Try a plain & peachy version, a decadent chocolate one, or the new chocolate hazelnut variation I posted on Wednesday. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Lazy Lemon Curd & Lemon Meringue S’mores

You’ve almost certainly had classic lemon curd, but have you tried my Lazy Lemon Curd? It couldn’t be simpler—just whisk together lemon juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, then simmer the mixture over a double boiler until it’s luscious and lemony. My all time favorite way to use it is stacked with toasted marshmallows and graham crackers for Lemon Meringue S’mores…

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Little Lemon Pie Jars

…but I also love it whirled with cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar, lightened with whipped cream and nestled onto loosely-packed graham cracker crusts.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie

Creamy pies are a classic no-bake treat. Here, billowy whipped strawberry filling is layered over fresh strawberries and a puddle of ganache, all nestled in a crumbly Oreo crust. Yum!

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If berries aren’t your bag, by all means, make this No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. I don’t even think I need to talk you into it, except to say “make this.” Make this.

Have you made these or any of my other no-bake recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​

If you can’t tell, I am all about baking with berries right now. Or no-baking with them, in this case.

That’s right! This lush pink strawberry pie is a completely oven-free operation. It’s cold and creamy with huge strawberry flavor, and just enough chocolate to please anyone who says they don’t like fruit desserts. This is a recipe you’ll be delighted to have in the warmer months. Anything to keep the oven off, right?

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie starts with an Oreo crumb crust filled with dark chocolate ganache AKA a “black bottom.” Fresh strawberries are pressed into the chocolate for flavor an texture, though you can skip this particular adornment if you need to make the pie more than a day in advance.

Next up is the titular strawberry cream. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to do this by reducing fresh strawberries, but I took the easy way out and opted for freeze-dried. They’re my go-to for strawberry-flavored desserts; they’re always excellent quality, and I love that they can be crushed and added to anything for a hefty hit of fresh berry flavor. Here, they’re pulverized and mixed with cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla before being lightened with fresh whipped cream. In addition to providing the flavor in the filling, the freeze-dried berries also give our pie the most vibrant pink color! I just love it.

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​

As with many no-bake pies, this one needs a chill to set up properly. I prefer to plan ahead and chill overnight, but you can get away with three hours if you’re in a bind. Once the chill time is up, spoon or pipe whipped cream over the top and finish with fresh strawberries. ‘Tis the season after all.

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​
No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Oreo Crust:
24 Oreos
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Ganache Layer:
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
~8 ounces (1/2 box) fresh strawberries, trimmed & quartered

Filling:
2 1.2 ounce packages freeze dried strawberries
1 1/3 cup heavy cream, very cold
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream, very cold
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5-6 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced

Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.

Make the ganache. Combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until a smooth even ganache forms (about 45 seconds total). Pour it into the crust and use the back of a spoon to carefully spread it into an even layer on the bottom. Top with quartered fresh strawberries. Refrigerate crust and ganache while you prepare the filling. If making the pie more than a day in advance, skip adding the fresh strawberries. They may lose their freshness over a long period.

Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat strawberry powder, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar until combined and fluffy. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined. Transfer to chilled pie crust and use a silicone spatula to spread to the edges. Press plastic wrap to the top. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. If you want to pipe, load it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Remove pie from the refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Spoon or pie whipped cream over the top. Finish with sliced fresh strawberries.

Slice and serve. Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​
No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​
No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie​

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI put a lemon meringue pie on here a few years back, and while it was good, it wasn’t great. I didn’t add enough sugar to the meringue, so it browned in a weird way, and I had a bit too much liquid in the filling. The good news is that baking is a journey, not a destination. I’ve gained experience and used it to make a truly killer lemon meringue pie filling. I’ve already updated the old pie recipe and will take new photos soon, but until then, let’s discuss this Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartYou read that right: Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart. Like tangy lemon filling and airy meringue layered into a giant coconut macaroon crust. Oh y’all, this is something special.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLet me get this out of the way: we are talking about macaroons (coconut) not macarons (delicate French almond cookies). Both are delicious, but today is all about this magical three-ingredient coconut crust.It’s made only of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and salt, and resembles a coconut macaroon in both flavor and texture. It’s naturally grain-free and incredibly easy to make—just stir the ingredients together, press the mix into a heavily-buttered pan and bake until golden. Unlike traditional pie crusts (and very much like a macaroon) it will stay a bit soft, but will hold up with just about any filling you like. You know, like chocolate ganache…or lemon meringue.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI know lemon meringue filling can be intimidating if you haven’t made it before, but I promise it’s not scary. I think it’s the color blocking that sends people running for the nearest bakery, but lemon meringue is just a marriage of two really simple recipes. The lemon portion is very similar to the grapefruit filling from the pie I posted last week. As with that recipe, if you can make pudding on the stovetop, you can make this. Heck, if you can use a whisk, you can make this. The most important thing to remember is to have all your ingredients prepared and within arm’s reach before you turn on the stove. This process goes quickly, but isn’t stressful at all if you have your ingredients ready. Just whisk, whisk, whisk and in mere moments, you’ll have made gorgeous, golden lemon filling.

As for meringue, it’s a snap to make. The key to success with meringue (and all whipped egg white things) is making sure your bowls and mixer attachments are very clean and dry before you begin; any errant drop of yolk, water or oil will keep your meringue from fluffing up properly. Just like with the lemon portion of this operation, preparation is everything. I go so far as to wipe my kitchen tools down with vinegar before whipping egg whites. Though that might seem like overkill, it’s worth it when you get billowy meringue every time!Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartRegarding assembly, you’ll need to have your crust baked and cooled and the meringue whipped before you make the lemon filling. The reason for this is that the filling needs to be piping hot when it meets the meringue. By doing this, we are allowing the egg whites in the meringue to bake directly onto the entire surface of the filling, helping them to fuse together so they don’t slide apart during slicing. Once filled, the tart will need to bake for about 25 minutes, just until the meringue is beginning to turn golden.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartSome people like their lemon meringue desserts at room temperature, but I prefer mine cold. Also, I think it makes for more aesthetically pleasing slices. That color blocking though 😍 Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartOne persnickety thing about lemon meringue desserts? They need to be served the day they’re made. Meringue is a beautiful thing, but it is fleeting. If not served within hours of baking, it will begin to weep. Ew. Rest assured that even if you don’t have the time to bake and serve on the same day you can still get your lemon macaroon tart fix. The solution? Skip the meringue layer. You can cool the tart just after adding the lemon filling, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart
makes one 9- or 10-inch tart

Macaroon Crust:
1 14 ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Meringue:
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Filling:
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9- or 10- inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again.

Make the crust. Combine sweetened flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold together until combined. It will be thick.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Lightly grease your hands before pressing mixture onto the bottom and up the sides. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is turning pale golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Make the meringue. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine cream of tartar and sugar. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, use a fork to whisk together cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Microwave in 10 second increments, whisking with a fork in between, until mixture gels (about 30-35 seconds total).

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat them on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, until frothy. Add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time, beating until completely incorporated. Add cornstarch mixture one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Continue beating on medium speed until egg whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, use your fingers to rub lemon zest into sugar. Whisk together lemon sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 of the mixture into the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, add egg yolk mixture to the pan, followed by lemon juice. Whisk continue to whisk until mixture comes to a simmer for 1 additional minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter. Push filling through a sieve to remove lumps.

Pour hot filling into prepared crust. Drop spoonfuls of meringue over the top of the filling, making sure all edges are covered. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Bake 25-30 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Let pie cool completely on a rack. Chill uncovered for a couple of hours.

Before serving, carefully run a thin flexible knife between the crust and the pan a couple of times. Release the springform. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve immediately.

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart is best served the day it’s made. Meringue will weep over time.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustLast Pi Day (March 14th aka 3.14 aka π), I posted a recipe for Pecan Pie Kolaches that was mostly just me saying “What is happening? What is happening? Here’s a recipe, I guess,” and trying not to have a full-scale meltdown while the world closed up. Needless to say, this year’s post is a little less dramatic.

Except for the pie. It’s bringing all the drama in the best possible way. The colors, the textures, the slightly unusual flavor combination–it’s everything I want these days.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust is out of this world delicious and a stunner to boot. Crumbly Oreo crust is filled with a soft and tangy Grapefruit filling and finished with whipped cream, chocolate curls and thin strips of grapefruit zest.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustIf you think I’ve lost my mind combining grapefruit and chocolate, know that I would have turned my nose up at this just a few years ago. However, after trying key lime and chocolate together, I am sold. The tang of citrus and the bitterness of chocolate are a perfect pairing. Try it—you’ll love it.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustThis pie is pretty simple to make, but as with most simple things, it does require some preparation. The filling is a play on my Lemon Meringue Pie, wherein the structure mostly comes from egg yolks and cornstarch. It’s a lot like making homemade pudding, which is really no big deal.

Cornstarch, sugar, salt and water are whisked together over medium heat until thick. This mixture is used to temper (warm) the egg yolks, before it’s all simmered with a grapefruit reduction and a hint of lemon juice. Whisk in a little butter, pour it through a sieve and voila! Grapefruit pie filling.

(I think I may have accidentally made it sound complicated by laying the method out like that, but I promise you it’s simple and comes together quickly.)Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustOnce the filling and crust are prepared, it’s just a matter of pouring one into the other and letting them get nice and cold together. This cannot be rushed, so plan ahead. Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustWhen Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust is completely chilled, it will still be a little on the jiggly side, like a citrus curd with a little more body. After you add a flourish of whipped cream and the garnishes of your choosing, you’ll be treated to a tart, sweet, creamy, crumbly confluence of goodness. The cream offsets the tanginess of the filling, and the buttery chocolate crumb crust rounds it all out. This pie is rich and refreshing–the perfect way to start what will hopefully be a much simpler twelve months for us all.

Happy Pi Day, y’all. Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust
makes one 9-inch pie

Oreo Crust:
24 Oreos
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Grapefruit Filling:
2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (from about 3 medium-large grapefruits)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/3 cup water
5 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh grapefruit zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 drop red liquid food coloring (optional)

Whipped Cream & Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
grapefruit zest (strips or grated)
chocolate curls

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate (I find that a 1/4 cup measuring cup helps with this). Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then let it cool while you make the filling.

Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Turn heat to low.

Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 cup of the mixture into the bowl of egg yolks until fully combined. Whisking constantly, add egg yolk mixture back to the pan. Return heat to medium. Stir in grapefruit zest, followed by grapefruit reduction and lemon juice. Continue whisking until the mixture has boiled for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, vanilla and optional red food coloring. Push filling through a sieve to remove solids.

Pour filling into crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to help air bubbles disperse. Pop any surface bubbles with a toothpick as needed. Let pie cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 4 hours. Filling will be set, but jiggly, when ready.

Just before serving, make whipped cream. Combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture on low for 30 seconds before whipping on high for 1-2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe as desired over the top of the pie. Garnish with grapefruit zest strips and/or chocolate curls, if desired.

Slice pie with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping it clean between cuts. Serve immediately.

Pie is best upon assembly, but leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for a day. The filling may weep a tiny bit over time.

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust