Molly Gilbert makes cooking (and cleanup!) a breeze with 120 sheet pan recipes in her new cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers. This simple, homey recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies is sure to become one of your go-to's.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 25 cookies
This is a tweaked version of a recipe I got from my friend Jen King, who co-owns Liddabit Sweets, an artisanal confectionery in Brooklyn. They don’t do anything just plain ordinary at Liddabit (hand-dipped candy bars and caramels with beer and pretzels inside, hello) so needless to say, this is one good cookie.
I prefer oatmeal cookies with plentiful chocolate chips, but feel free to substitute raisins if you’re that guy—no judgments. Well, a few judgments. I hope we can still be friends.
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oats in a medium-size bowl.
3. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, on high speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
4. Add the flour mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the pans, leaving about an inch of space between cookies. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand (see Note).
6. Bake the cookies until they are slightly puffed and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
7. Let the cookies cool slightly before enjoying warm.
The cookies will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for about 1 week.
Note: After you flatten the cookies in Step 4, they may be frozen until solid on the sheet pan, about 30 minutes. Transfer them to a heavy-duty zip-top bag for storage. Bake them right from frozen when you want some; they may take an extra few minutes.
Looking for a hearty, soul-warming staple to get you through the final weeks of winter? Then try this Italian-inspired recipe for Hunter's Chicken Stew from our January Top Pick in Cookbooks, The Pollan Family Table.
Hunter’s Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
FROM THE MARKET
FROM THE PANTRY
Our hunter's stew is an Italian take on the classic Polish dish, with chicken as a stand-in for pork. The tender morsels of chicken are smothered in a luscious gravy, making this a dish that the family loves.
1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), giblets and backbone removed, cut into 8 serving pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
8 cremini or baby bella mushroom caps, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or a large ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 of the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook undisturbed until the skin is golden, about 7 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and cook until brown, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken. Set aside.
Wipe the Dutch oven clean with paper towels and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is thoroughly mixed with the onion and mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the wine, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and their juice, thyme, sage, the bay leaf, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the browned chicken and any accumulated juices, submerging the pieces into the liquid. Cover and place the pot in the oven.
Bake until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Take off the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. Return the pot to the burner, turn the heat to high, and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken and serve.
Cathy Barrow encourages healthy, local eating for all seasons with her easy recipes for DIY preserving in her newest cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. This quick and no-fuss recipe for Fennel, Orange, and Olive Refrigerator Pickles is a great place for the uninitiated to dive into the world of canning.
Fennel, Orange, and Olive Refrigerator Pickles
makes: one 24-ounce jar
active time: 20 minutes
standing time: 2 days
This piquant pickle was inspired by a plate of olives, caper berries and bitter oranges served with sherry at an outdoor cafe in Seville. A wide-mouth jar will make this job a little easier. So will long tweezers or a chopstick, if you want to get fancy.
Serve with salty Marcona almonds.
1. Trim the stalks from the fennel and peel away the tough outer sections of the bulb. (Put these parts in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable broth or add to a batch of chicken stock.) Remove about ½ inch of the root end of each fennel bulb, then slice vertically down the center. Set the fennel cut side down on the cutting board and slice wedges from the bulbs.
2. Wash the orange well. Slice into slim 1⁄4-inch rounds, rind and all. Remove any seeds. Cut the slices into half-moons. Press the oranges against the inside of the jar, then fit the fennel wedges into the center of the jar, adding a few olives here and there as you go.
3. In a small saucepan, warm the vinegar, salt, sugar and tarragon, stirring just until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the ice cubes and stir until cool.
4. Pour the cooled brine into the jar. Cover and place in a cool, dark spot for 2 days.
5. Chill the pickles before serving. They will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.
The line of customers waiting to get their paws on the sweet and savory treats from Brooklyn's Ovenly bakery often stretches down the block. Can't get to the brick-and-mortar bakery any time soon? Then pick up a copy of founders Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin's debut cookbook, Ovenly. This savory, grown-up version of a childhood favorite may take a bit of extra effort to re-create, but the final product is sure to beat anything you could find in a box.
CARAMEL BACON HOT TARTS
Yield: 4 Hot Tarts
These Hot Tarts are our mature version of Pop-Tarts. The salty-smooth caramel is followed by a smoky, crispy bacon crunch. A dose of sweet-savory decadence.
1. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp and done. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain off any excess grease. Let cool.
2. Prepare the Pâte Brisée recipe below (you will need only 1 crust, either halve the brisée recipe or save the second crust for later use). Remove 1 disk of the pâte brisée from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling.
3. On a lightly floured, clean surface, roll the disk of pâte brisée into an approximate 9 x 15-inch rectangle. To prevent the dough from sticking to the counter and to ensure a uniform thickness, keep lifting and turning the pâte brisée a quarter turn as you roll.
4. Using a ruler, measure the dough and mark a rectangle that is exactly 9 x 15 inches. Then cut the ragged edges off, leaving straight edges, with a knife or pizza cutter. Cut the dough lengthwise every 3¾ inches. This will result in four 3¾ x 9-inch rectangles.
5. Layer ½ strip of bacon on the bottom half of 1 rectangle and then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the light brown sugar over the bacon. Top with 1½ tablespoons of the chilled Salted Caramel Sauce. Repeat these steps for the remaining 3 rectangles.
6. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush water on the outer edges of the top half of each rectangle to help seal the edges. Then fold in half, and press the edges together with your fingers to seal.
7. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal more. With your knife or pizza cutter, remove the ragged edges by cutting the Hot Tarts into perfect 3¾ x 4½-inch rectangles. Using a fork, gently poke a few holes in the top of each Hot Tart.
8. Transfer Hot Tarts to a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Freeze the Hot Tarts for 10 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F. Prepare an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk with the water in a small bowl until smooth.
10. Remove the Hot Tarts from the freezer. Brush them with the egg wash, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until just golden. Let the tarts cool before serving.
PÂTE BRISÉE (FLAKY PIE CRUST)
Yield: two 9-inch pie crusts
The mother of all pâte brisée (a fancy French word for “shortcrust pastry”) recipes, we make this in large batches so that we have preportioned crusts on hand at all times—a trick to making pies, quiches and Hot Tarts in a pinch. The recipe can be adjusted for savory pies, and you can experiment with adding whole-wheat flour for nuttiness. Compared to the store-bought version, the flaky texture and buttery goodness of homemade pie crust is unrivaled. You can easily cut the pâte brisée recipes in half if you need only one crust!
1. Cut butter into 1-inch cubes, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes or until very cold.
2.In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds.
3. Pour in the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, and process until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a 6-inch disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight before using. If not using right away, you can freeze unrolled dough for up to 1 month. Just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
5. After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove 1 disk from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. To prevent the dough from sticking to your surface and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting it up and turning it a quarter turn as you roll. Always roll from the center of the dough outward.
6. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough gently against the sides of the pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging dough under itself, crimping as desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before filling.
7. If you are making a crust to top your pie, remove the second disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. You can choose how to top the pie with the crust.
8. Once you fill the pie, cover it with the top crust, using the method of choice, and bake according to recipe instructions.*
*If you have to blind bake your pie crust for an open-faced pie or tart, or for a pie that has a separately prepared filling, lay a piece of parchment twice the width of the pie pan over the crust and then fill the paper with pie weights or dry beans. For a par-baked crust, bake at 425⁰F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden. For a fully baked crust, bake at 425⁰F for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are barely golden. Carefully remove the parchment and weights, reduce the heat to 375⁰F and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the crust is evenly golden.
Tip: We recommend finishing a filled pie directly on the bottom of the oven floor, or on a pizza stone. It will help the bottom crust to crisp.
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
Yield: approximately 1½ cups
This is Erin’s favorite caramel recipe, and it is the only one you will ever need. It can be used in cakes and buttercreams, spooned onto ice cream, mixed into pie fillings, drizzled onto pudding or eaten straight up with a spoon.
1. Bring ½ cup of the cream, sugars, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil in an uncovered 1½- to 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sugars have dissolved, whisk the mixture a few times to combine. Continue to boil the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until deep dark tan bubbles form and until it has thickened and is paste-like.
2. When a candy thermometer reads 250°F (this takes about 5 minutes after the mixture reaches a boil), take the saucepan off the heat. (See note below if not using a thermometer.)
3. Pour in the remaining ½ cup cream and add the vanilla bean caviar, and whisk to incorporate. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up and can splatter. Return the saucepan to low heat, and bring it to a low boil, whisking vigorously until no visible clumps remain and until the caramel sauce is smooth, about 45 seconds.
4. Immediately pour the hot caramel sauce into a jar or a heatproof bowl, and let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat to use.
Note: You don’t need a candy thermometer for this recipe as long as you use your nose and your eyes. The key is to take the caramel to a point just short of burning, so when the mixture begins to have a bit of a singed odor and when it looks paste-like and caramel-brown, quickly remove it from the heat.
1. Add all the ingredients minus ½ cup cream and vanilla bean caviar to a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat. As the ingredients melt, whisk to combine.
3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. After about 5 minutes, large tan bubbles will form, and the caramel will be a dark golden brown.
4. Whisk vigorously to check the consistency. The caramel should be paste-like.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the remaining ½ cup cream and vanilla bean caviar.
6. Return saucepan to low heat, bringing it to a low simmer and whisking vigorously.
7. Immediately pour the hot caramel sauce into a jar or a heatproof bowl, and let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat in a microwave or saucepan to use.
Happy New Year, readers! Ready to kick off your healthy eating resolutions, but not sure where to start? Jump in with this recipe for Maple Balsamic Root Vegetable "Fries" from our January Top Pick in Cookbooks, The Pollan Family Table.
Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetable "Fries"
4 to 6 servings
FROM THE MARKET
FROM THE PANTRY*
*You will need two sheets of parchment paper.
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium golden beets, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, celery root, parsnips, beets and thyme sprigs. Add the oil and mix to thoroughly coat the vegetables.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, vinegar, ½ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Pour the mixture on the vegetables and toss to coat.
Arrange the vegetables in single layers on the two baking sheets. Roast on separate racks for 20 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and, using a spatula, flip the vegetables. Return the sheets to the oven, switching their positions (upper rack and lower rack). Roast until the vegetables are light brown and caramelized, an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Discard the thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Merry Christmas, readers! Have a ton of family in town this weekend, but not sure how to feed them after the traditional Christmas feast? Try this delicious, quick and easy recipe from Margarita Carrillo Arronte's Mexico: The Cookbook. You can utilize some of that leftover ham and make a meal that feeds 8!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Put the tomatoes into a food processor or blender and process to a puree. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Quarter the chickens and add the pieces, pureed tomatoes, garlic and parsley and cook over medium heat, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for 10–15 minutes.
Add the chorizo and ham and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then pour in the sherry and cook for a few minutes until the sherry has mostly evaporated. Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, raisins and almonds, and season. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cooking liquid has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat. Put a piece of chicken on each plate, spoon over the sauce and serve with rice or salad.
When world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson isn't making television appearances or working at his award-winning New York restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, he's cooking at home. And now you can try your hand at his "truly doable" recipes thanks to his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty.
Black Bottom–Peanut Pie
MAKES ONE 10-INCH PIE
A classic Southern black-bottom pie has a rich chocolate ganache topped with meringue. I make mine more decadent. Yes, it still has the black bottom, but the topping is a gooey, salty hit of peanuts. Inspiration comes from my favorite childhood snack—the Snickers candy bar. When I was a kid, I would treat myself to a Snickers bar on the way to soccer practice. I was convinced that the combination of chocolate and peanuts gave me the energy I needed to play for hours. I don’t eat many candy bars these days, but I still love that combination of flavors.
FOR THE CRUST
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla wafers
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
½ cup sugar
FOR THE PEANUT TOPPING
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
½ cup light corn syrup
4 teaspoons molasses
10 ounces (about 2 cups) unsalted roasted peanuts
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE GANACHE
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cacao), finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
MAKE THE CRUST
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids brown and the butter smells deliciously nutty, about 10 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Take it off the heat immediately.
3. Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the processor, add the sugar and melted butter, and pulse until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4. Turn the oven up to 375°F.
MAKE THE PEANUT TOPPING
5. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then beat in the corn syrup and molasses. Stir in the peanuts and salt.
MAKE THE GANACHE
6. Place the chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour over the chocolate. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
7. Pour the ganache into the cooled pie shell and let it set for 10 minutes. Spoon the peanut topping on the ganache. Use an offset spatula or a table knife to spread the filling evenly over the ganache, covering it completely.
8. Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 325°F and bake until the crust is browned and the topping is set, about 45 minutes.
9. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for December is Gabrielle Hamilton's debut collection of recipes, Prune. As honest and charmingly conversational as her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, Prune contains 250 recipes complete with the same handwritten instructions she provides for her kitchen staff. From brunch to bar snacks, Hamilton has you covered.
Braised Lamb Shoulder with Lemons, Tomatoes and Cinnamon
Yield: 6 orders (+/−)
Look over the lamb shoulders to see if they need any trimming. What Pino sends us rarely, if ever, needs additional work, but on the outside chance that there is some leathery or dark yellow fat, trim it. Generously season with salt and pepper all over.
Brown the lamb shoulder well on all sides in a hot rondeau with a glug of blended oil. Brown one at a time, giving them room to lie open and flat in the rondeau.
Remove the well-browned lamb shoulder from the pan and pour out the dark fat.
Add the cinnamon sticks and garlic cloves and stir around in the pan, kind of toasting and picking up the fond in a way.
Add the lemons and deglaze, loosening and scraping up the fond with the juice of the lemon wedges as you crush them with your wooden spoon.
Pour in red wine and let it hiss and boil, stirring the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to get any last recalcitrant bits.
Add the tomatoes, crushing each one briefly in your fist to release juices. Add the juice they were packed in as well. Bring liquid to simmer.
Fold the lamb shoulders back into the shape they had before they were boned out, and nestle both of them into the braising liquid, side by side. Cover with parchment round cut to exceed the circumference of the rondeau so that it really seals in the steam. If you are working with a new pot in good shape, covering with its corresponding lid will do. If you are working with one of the dented, warped ones, seal with film, foil, and a lid for good measure.
Set in middle of 350° oven and braise 3–4 hours until the meat separates easily with just the prodding of a wooden spoon.
This is a heat and serve, but take care. On the pickup, make sure each portion gets a nice soft, cooked lemon, if you can. And take a good look to see that you haven’t given anyone an all-fat portion.
Margarita Carrillo Arronte presents more than 600 tantalizing recipes from each distinct culinary region of her country in Mexico: The Cookbook. Ever wondered about the secret to the perfect bowl of guacamole? Arronte shares her fool-proof recipe below.
Region: All regions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Put the tomatoes, if using, onions, chiles, lime juice and cilantro (coriander)into a bowl, stir well to mix, and season with salt. Gently fold in the avocado, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the olive oil and mix. Serve with tortilla chips.
Note: It is best to prepare guacamole minutes before serving to avoid discoloration. Instead of incorporating the chopped tomato you can use it as a garnish, arranging it around the edge of the serving bowl.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Throw out that can of gelatinous goo and step up your cranberry game this year with this recipe for a Cranberry Crackle Tart from Dorie Greenspan's unfussy guide to French baking, Baking Chez Moi.
Cranberry Crackle Tart
Makes 6 servings
When the weather gets cold and Americans in Paris start thinking of Thanksgiving, there are chestnuts galore for stuffing, pecans for pie (although you usually have to shell them) and, if you know where to look, even some fresh cranberries. Cranberries are a little easier to find now than they were when I first started living in France, but they’re still treated like precious exotic fruit and priced just as high. In fact, they’re sold in containers so small the only thing you might be able to do with your stash is to make this tart, which requires just a handful or so of berries.
The tart has three layers, each adding something different to the mix: The crust is sweet and crisp and so purposefully low I think of it as a platter. The thin layer of thick jam is there for flavor, texture and insulation: It’s like a barrier island between the dry base and the moist crown. The topping is a fluff of marshmallowy meringue and fresh cranberries, a mixture of sweet and tart that bakes to a crackle finish. I love the contrasts and the way the surface of the meringue turns crunchy, while underneath it remains soft and snow white.
The tart looks homey, but it’s oddly sophisticated in its own way and not-so-oddly very satisfying, particularly after a hearty meal, like a Thanksgiving feast.
For the filling
Butter a 9-inch pie pan (I use a Pyrex pan) and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll it out until it is a scant 1/8 inch thick. Don’t worry about making a beautiful circle, because you’re going to trim the dough.
Fit the dough into the pie pan, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Gently press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan and then, using a paring knife, a pizza wheel or a fluted ravioli wheel, trim the dough to about one third down from the rim of the pan. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes. (The leftover dough makes a nice turnover.)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line the crust with a piece of parchment or a buttered piece of aluminum foil and weight it down with rice, dried beans or light pie weights. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and weights and bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. The crust will have shrunk, but that’s fine. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.
When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Spoon the jam into the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they turn opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a very slow, steady stream, then keep beating until the whites are shiny and form peaks with pretty, droopy tips; they will look like marshmallow.
Pour the cranberries into the bowl and, using a flexible spatula, fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t try too hard—you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Turn the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam will sneak up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.
Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and most probably cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it longer or put it under the broiler.) Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. If you’d like, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Serving: Just before serving, it’s nice to sprinkle the top of the tart with confectioners’ sugar. In France, I’ve seen some meringue tarts served with whipped cream and some with ice cream. I thought that adding whipped or ice cream would be too much—I was wrong.
Storing: The tart is best served the day it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice a day later. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering only the cut part with a piece of wax paper or plastic film.
Sweet Tart Dough
Makes one 9- to 9½-inch crust
Used by so many French pastry chefs for so many French tarts, this is the dough that I turn to automatically when I’ve got a tart on my mind. Known as pâte sablée, it’s really a sweet cookie dough, the one you’d use to make a tender sablé or shortbread cookie.
I always prebake the crust even if it’s going to get another long bake with the filling, because I like the resulting color, flavor and texture—and the fact that the bottom won’t be soggy.
I use a fluted tart pan with a removable base. If all you’ve got is a pie plate, don’t let that stop you.
A word on rolling versus pressing: You can roll the crust out and fit it into the tart pan or just press it in. I roll the dough. Rolling gives you a thinner crust than pressing, so if you press, you might occasionally find yourself with a little filling left over.
To make the dough: Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely—you’ll have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk just to break it up and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is incorporated, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads-up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
To incorporate the butter more evenly and to catch any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing, separate small amounts of dough from the pile and use the heel of your hand to smear each piece a few inches across the counter. In French this is called fraisage, and it’s the ideal way to finish blending a dough.
To make a rolled-out crust: Shape the dough into a disk and put it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough out evenly, turning it over frequently and lifting the paper often so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases. Aim for a circle that’s at least 3 inches larger than the base of your tart pan. The dough will be 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick, but it’s the diameter, not the thickness, that counts. Slide the rolled-out dough, still between the papers, onto a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze it for 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; wrap it airtight to freeze.)
When the dough is thoroughly chilled, put it on the counter and let it rest for about 10 minutes, or until it’s just pliable enough to bend without breaking. Remove the dough from the paper, fit it into a buttered tart pan and trim the excess dough even with the edges of the pan. (If you’d like, you can fold the excess over and make a thicker wall around the sides of the tart.) Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To make a press-in crust: Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You won’t need all of the dough if you want to make a thin crust, but I think it’s nice to make a thickish one so that you can really enjoy the texture. Press the pieces of dough in so that they cling to one another and will knit together when baked, but don’t use a lot of force—working lightly will preserve the crust’s shortbready texture. Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
When you’re ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil snugly into the crust. If the crust is frozen, you can bake it as is; if not, fill it with dried beans or rice (which you can reuse as weights but won’t be able to cook after they’ve been used this way).
To partially bake the crust: Bake for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil (and weights). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
To fully bake the crust: Bake the crust for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil (and weights). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
Storing: Well wrapped, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, I prefer to freeze the crust fitted into the pan but not baked and then to bake it directly from the freezer—it will have a fresher flavor. Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
Bonne Idée—Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts: Reduce the all-purpose flour to 1¼ cups and add ¼ cup almond or hazelnut flour (or very finely ground pecans or pistachios). Proceed as directed.