Monthly Archives: October 2012

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart for #PiePartyGE

A view of the sweet pies table

I’ve been procrastinating posting all day due to the on-going Hurricane Sandy drama.  The wind is howling outside of my windows like Catherine summoning Heathcliff, and the photos from beach areas along the Eastern Seaboard where I’ve spent many sunny summer days, show so much damage to these vulnerable environments.  This is in stark contrast from this past Thursday’s second annual blogger Pie Fest, known as #PiePartyGE on Twitter, where I gathered along with other amazing food folks to exercise our pastry making talents.  The photo above is just a small sample of the sweet treats which we all sampled.

Lemon Tart – International Culinary Center style

My contributions to the evening’s event were two pies, one sweet and one savory.  The sweet one was a Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart that’s a riff on the classic French Lemon Tart that I’ve kind been making recently in my culinary course.  I started off with the same shortcrust-like pie shell base – called a pâte sablée or “sandy dough” – that we’d used in class and then changed up some of the leftover filling that I’d made to add the lime and coconut components.  I’ve had this flavor combination noodling around in my brain for a while, so being apartment-bound during this storm was the perfect excuse to try to pull it all together.

Lemon-Lime Coconut Tart

This tart is prepared in two separate steps.  First the tart shell is baked and then the custard mixture is poured into the cooled-down pasty shell.  The whole thing is then baked in the oven, with the pre-toasted coconut added about 5-10 minutes before the tart comes out of the oven to add a little bit of crunch and texture to the final product.  The taste is more citrusy with the coconut just an added touch.  It can be omitted completely for those who don’t like it without changing the tart too much.

The remains of the tart

I brought the tart to the party, nervously hoping that it would find a positive audience among my blogging peers.  When I looked over at one point, it didn’t seem to be flying off of the table like other ones were.  Then, I saw people putting slivers of it into their take-away containers, so hopefully they enjoyed it when they got home.  I did manage to get a photo of the remains of the tart at the end of the evening.  Judging from these scraps, I think it might have been well-received, which means I’ll be keeping this recipe in my files to share at other events!

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart

Prep Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including baking time)

Serving Size: 8 people or one hurricane-house-bound person


For pastry:

1/2 c. unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

one pinch Salt

1 1/3 c. Cake Flour, sifted

1 Egg, lightly beaten

For Filling:

1/4 c. shredded Coconut, lightly toasted*

2 Eggs

3/8 c. White Sugar

2 oz. Heavy Cream

Juice and Zest of one Lemon

Juice and Zest of one Lime

Juice of one Lemon


Mix together softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Whisk in the egg and egg yolk.  Add the pinch of salt and sifted cake flour together and combine with the butter mixture.  If the dough is too crumbly, you can add a few drops of ice water, but it should be possible to pull it together without it.  Shape the dough into a ball, pat it into a circle, cover it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Here’s a tip to working with this fragile dough – roll it out between plastic wrap

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a lightly-floured board or between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll out the dough to fit the size and shape of the tart pan you will be using and to about a width that is the size of the space between the tines of a fork.  I made this dish in a 4 x 13 x 1-inch tart pan that looks like this one.  This dough is kind of forgiving, so if you end up with some places where it cracks or where there are holes, you can patch it together before baking it.

Tart shell with baking beans

With a fork, lightly poke holes on the bottom of the tart without going all the way through the dough.  Place parchment paper on top of the unbaked shell and fill the shell with baking beans before putting it into the oven to pre-bake.  Bake for 15 minutes with the beans and then remove the parchment paper and the beans and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the shell is lightly golden.

Pre-baked tart shell

The edges will have started to become light brown.  Remove it from the oven and let it cook on a rack while you make the filling.  Brush lightly with a thin coating of the beaten egg (you won’t use very much of the egg).  This is to keep the filling from seeping through the bottom of the tart when it bakes.

Lemon-Lime Tart filling

To make it easy to pour into the tart shell, use a container or measuring cup to hold the filling ingredients.  Lightly beat together the eggs.  Add in sugar and heavy cream.  Then, whisk in lemon and lime zest and lemon and lime juice until the mixture is smooth.

Here’s the trick to getting the maximum filling into the tart

Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the tart shell on the baking rack and pour the filling into the shell while it is sitting on the rack so that you don’t run the risk of spilling all the filling while trying to put it into the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the outside of the filling has set.

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart out of the ovenLemon-Lime-Coconut Tart out of the oven

Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the tart and continue to back for another 5-10 minutes until the the filling doesn’t move when you wiggle the tart.  Remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.  This should be served room temperature.  You can store it in the refrigerator, but bring it to room temperature before serving it.

Buon appetito!

*Kitchen Witch Tip:

I’ve found for baking things like this tart or Magic Cookie Bars, that it helps to toast the coconut prior to including it in the baked dish.  That way, it retains a crisp, crunchy texture and develops a golden brown color.  To do this, spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking tray and put it into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven to cook for about 10-15 minutes.

City Harvest Bid Against Hunger 2012

City Harvest DecalCity Harvest Bid Against Hunger 2012

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of attending City Harvest‘s 18th annual Bid Against Hunger, an auction event to raise money for its programs and to feed the many New Yorkers who go hungry each day.  Many acclaimed chefs donated their time and culinary talents to feeding the folks who attended, and several of them also donated incredible lots on which the event’s attendees could bid.  This was the first time I’ve been at this gathering, and it was awe-inspiring to see the level of support that this organization has not just in the chef community but also from the people who put their hands in their pockets to help out even more by purchasing some amazing items and experiences.

A Taste of Italy donated by Michael White

Aside from enjoying terrific small plates put together by New York City’s notable chefs, the other goal of the evening was raising funds.  Auctioneer Nicholas D. Lowry deftly guided the proceedings, keeping the bidding moving smoothly and encouraging everyone to dig a little bit deeper into his/her pockets by giving the numbers on how many more hungry NYC-ers could be fed by adding just a few more dollars to their donations.  With prizes like A Taste of Italy hosted by Michael White, featuring a four-course dinner for 12 people cooked in your home, it was difficult for me not to get caught up in the excitement of the auction, too.

Auctioneer Nicholas D. Lowry with Chef Eric RipertAldo Sohm

The highest bid of the evening went for an auction package that I think more than a few of my friends and I would readily enjoy, although I don’t know if we could have scraped together the funds to buy it.  The last live auction item of the event was a private wine class for 15 with the Chief Sommelier of Le Bernardin, Aldo Sohm, including his guidance in building one’s own personal wine collection, and then a kitchen tour of the restaurant along with a private dinner for two with Chef Eric Ripert.  It’s no surprise that this was a highly sought-after experience, which, in the end, went for $50,000, plenty to help feed many hungry souls.  Aside from the live and the silent auctions, the other main feature of this event was the food.

Slideshow of the evening’s edibles (click “Show Info” in fullscreen view for details)

With more than 70 chefs participating, this was really one of the premier tastings that I’ve been to in the city.  As you can see, scrolling through the slideshow, there were plenty of dishes to sample, highlighting the best of New York’s restaurants as well as showcasing the wide array of cuisines that we get to enjoy in the city.  Among the fantastic-tasting items that I ate were the luscious Smoked Salmon & Caviar Cake from Caviarteria,  the smokey-sweet Duck Pastrami plate from New Leaf Restaurant & Bar (this was a top-pick by several people), and I could have eaten the whole hotel pan full of the rich, creamy, heartwarming Polenta with Short Ribs and Gremolata by L’Apicio.  For dessert, I noshed on the always-incredible Macarons by François Payard (so sorry to miss his masterclass during New York City Wine & Food Festival), a scoop of refreshing Allspice Gelato by Il Laboratorio del Gelato, and my new favorite sweet the Pear Palatschinken with Caramel Sauce by Wallsé.

A familiar sight – City Harvest‘s truck

I’ve worked a few events where at the end of the evening, unused food is gathered up to donate to City Harvest, and I feel as though many organizations have them in mind when wrapping up parties, so that food is not wasted and that as much as can be used is collected to be re-distributed insofar as is possible.  It was really interesting to see how a large fundraising event like this one takes place and how the culinary community in the city chips in to lend its talents to feeding those who need assistance the most.  I left the evening feeling fuller inside not just from all of the amazing dishes that I ate, but also from the feeling that there is a lot of good happening to feed others around us as well.

Addendum: The Live Auction raised a total of $196,000, which will enable City Harvest to feed 2,000 New Yorkers for a year.  The Silent Auction brought in another $60,000.  Their next fundraising event will be the annual “An Evening of Practical Magic,” to be held in April 2013.

Buon appetito!

Thank you very much to Rubenstein Public Relations for arranging for me to have a press pass to attend this event.

We Have a Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook Giveaway Winner!!!

Liddabit Sweets - cookbookLiddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

Congratulations to Cristal C whom the Randomizer selected as the winner for this prize!!!  A big “Thank You,” too, to everyone who entered this giveaway!  From my brief tally of the responses, it looks like Anything-with-Chocolate might be the sweet of preference for everyone.  Peanut Butter-Chocolate combinations were a huge favorite, which is one of mine as well.  Liddabit Sweets has a candybar just for that: The King.

Liz Gutman & Jen King – Liddabit Sweets

I wish I could have given out copies of this book to everyone who wanted to have one as this is such a terrific edition to one’s cookbook library.  Liz and Jen are going to be on tour with their book (and treats!).  They are fantastic people and fabulous candymakers.  Check this list to see if they will be coming by your way.

Buon appetito!

Liddabit Sweets Cookbook Giveaway

Cookbook display at Liddabit Sweets eventCookbook display at Liddabit Sweets launch party

It’s here!  Last night, I headed over to 61 Local for the launch party of the Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook and to see Liz and Jen, whose delicious candies are a special treat in which I indulge from time to time.  It was terrific to see them, hang out with some of their other fans, and to get my hands on this book, a product of all their hard work and wisdom as candymakers.  Better yet, I have a signed copy (by both Liz and Jen) of the Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook to give away to one of you readers.

Liz Gutman & Jen King – Liddabit Sweets

What I really enjoy about buying their candies (aside from getting to eat them) is the liveliness and joie de vivre that they bring to their confectionery.  Naming a candy bar after Dorie Greenspan, one of their ardent supporters and mentors.  Coming up with better-for-you alternatives to popular mass-market candies, made with locally-sourced ingredients and not all that unpronounceable stuff.  Creating caramels that melt in your mouth but are different enough to make your tastebuds say, “ummm, ahhhh, now this is what candy should taste like!” I’ve not only sampled many of their treats, I’ve also gifted them to others to enjoy their craftsmanship as well.

Liddabit Sweets at The Brooklyn Local

These ladies are confectionery geniuses and are really super nice people to boot so it is my pleasure to support all of their hard work via my pocketbook and this website.  I grew up with a mother who explored candymaking for a while when I was a child.  Lollipops, if I remember correctly, came out disastrously awful.  Still, I learned a lot about how to work with chocolate and about making toffees and caramel from her experiments.  It gave me a lot of admiration for those who can get it just right and can turn out incredible-tasting products.

Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

This cookbook is not just about recipes.  It also gives you pages and pages of techniques, instructions, and real-life tips on how to make candy, layered with their pithy advice and stories about how some of their popular creations came about.  There’s lots of hints as to how to fix things when they go wrong and how to avoid having that happen in the first place.  They demystify the process of pulling together sweet treats in your own home kitchen, drawing from their expertise and experiments in creating delicious candies.  I’m sad to let this cookbook leave my hands, but I know that it will find a wonderful home with one of you.

The Rules (There have to be some of these, you know.)

Eligibility: U.S. mainland residents only

To Enter: Write a comment on this post with the answer to the following question: What is your favorite candy?

You must also have a valid screen name (NOT “Anonymous”) with a corresponding email address to enter this giveaway. I’ll need to be able to click on it in order to contact the winner. If you list “Anonymous” or do not have a valid email address with your comment, you will be disqualified. I do not share these addresses with anyone, and they are only for the purpose of entering this giveaway.

Deadline: Is Monday, October 15, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, based upon the date/time stamp on the comments. (I’m going to be very strict about this and make no exceptions.)

The Outcome: Only one winner will be chosen for this cookbook giveaway. I’m going to put all the entries into an online Randomizer (like this one) to come up with the winner.

Buon appetito!