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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pepere's Tarts

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday my friend Kristen invited me to her house to make her grandfather's famous tarts. Her grandfather, or Pepere as they called him, was an amazing pastry chef who I wish I'd had the privilage to meet. He taught for most of his life and spent summers wowing the guests at hotels throughout the Northeast. As we sipped our Prosecco her grandmother regailed us with stories of their summer adventures and I was so touched by the love she clearly still feels for him. Some people are lucky enough to marry the love of their life. 

On to the cooking before I start crying! I'll be honest I was a little intimidated at first because although I make a pretty damn good apple pie, this level of baking is way out of my league. We had a great time though and things even got slightly competitive when we started decorating the tarts. To mold marzipan takes the patience of Mother Theresa and the hands of a brain surgeon. I have neither so my best tart ended up being a starfish that looked a little hung over. At least I tried! Luckily Kristen and her family are experts so their beautiful creations can be found below. 

The recipe from Pepere's cookbook is delicious so I hope you'll give it a try this holiday season. And if you find yourself in Florida and in need of lessons let me know because Kristen's mom offers classes. What a wonderful way to start the holiday season. Thank you to Kristen and her family for including me.

Franchipanne Tarts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 lb. butter
pinch of salt

Let butter stand at room temperature until medium soft. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. With your hands or a pastry cutter, work all ingredients together, mixing well. Then turn dough onto a lightly floured board and work a few seconds until dough is formed. Pinch off small pieces of dough the size of a hazelnut and place in greased 2-inch tart shells. With your thumb, even out and press dough on bottom and sides of shells. Be careful not to let dough extend above edge of the tart shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

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