“Life is the art of letting go.” – Life of Pi
Before I begin the real anecdote of this post, everyone needs to go see this movie right now. I’m serious. It will blow your mind and make you rediscover that at the end of it all, there are two ways to view life: Letting it be, or making it your own, no matter who believes or doesn’t believe you. It really is your path, even when you think it’s not, so take control and tame the tiger.
is was Tuesday. It was also an inspiring day. A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. He was surprised to hear that I had left food behind, albeit temporarily. “I always saw you doing something with that after college,” he said, and truth be told, so did I. In the midst of new faces, new job, new life, old passions dimmed, and a “normal” cycle had ensued that was devoid of pastry.
But when he said that, it set something off that inspired me once more to hold on to what I got. The resources are all around me, as long as I get my ass up and use them. After all, this is San Francisco – home to the best produce, the best chefs, and the best desserts, so there is no reason not to be cooking at any point in time, new life or old life.
I bring to you today a winter tart inspired by Tartine Bakery, an overload of persimmons, a Blue Bottle caffeine jolt, and this friend. The crust and filling can be made ahead of time if needed, or if you’re not like me and don’t randomly have Tuesdays off to cook all day. I would have topped it with some sort of spice-laden ice cream (ginger!?), but I was le tired and went to see aforementioned movie instead; no regrets from my decision, and no shame from eating this tart at 1 a.m. I hope this gets you in the mood for winter, or at least ready for your next culinary adventure.
Winter flavors abound in my kitchen.
1 unbaked tart dough shell (recipe follows)
1 full portion of frangipane (recipe follows)
4-6 persimmons, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp peach jam
- Preheat oven to 375. Remove the bottom of a tart pan and use only the ring. Place the ring on a nonstick liner (such as a Silpat) or parchment paper in a tray, and line the ring with tart dough, making sure it is even throughout.
- Fill shell with frangipane, smoothing with an offset spatula. Arrange the fruit slices on top, keeping them as close together as possible. Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the filing is set and slightly springy to the touch, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Unmold tart onto serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keep tightly covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice-cold water (literally, keep this as cold as possible)
1 1/4 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- Dissolve the salt in water and set aside.
- Combine flours in the bowl of a standmixer and add butter. Pulse until the butter is is the size of small peas and the mixture starts looking a little chunky. Add the water and pulse just until the dough begins to come together but is not completely smooth. You should still see butter chunks.
- Shape the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least two hours. (This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator the day before).
- When ready to use, roll on a floured surface and fit into tart mold.
7 Tbsp butter, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp milk
- In a standmixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add almond meal and beat together. Add egg and milk and mix until thoroughly combined and frangipane is light and fluffy. (This can be made beforehand and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week).