Go big with your first holiday celebration since the pandemic with these delicious treats. Whether you’re a hosting a large gathering or a few friends these recipes won’t disappoint!
Fresh Fruit Tart with Pate Sucree, Chocolate & Pastry Cream Filling
Pate Sucree (Shortbread Crust)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 eggs yolk combined with 1 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted almond or pecans optional
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pastry Filling and Fruit
- 2 8 oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips plus 1-2 tbsp corn oil
- Confectioner's sugar to taste
- Sliced seasonal fresh fruit as garnish
- Strained currant or apricot jam to glaze fruit
Make the Pate Sucree
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until well blended, if adding nuts do so now and process until finely chopped.
- Add the pieces of cold butter and mix in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add egg yolk combined with cold water and vanilla to the mixture and process until the dough forms a ball inside the food processor bowl.
- Remove dough and sandwich between parchment papers. Roll the dough into 10-inch circle and refrigerate until chilled.
- Remove parchment and place dough in removable bottom tart pan. Be sure to push the dough up on the sides of the pan to form a thick crust barrier.
- Using a fork, pierce dough with tines to prevent dough from bubbling up (called “docking”).
- Spray parchment paper lightly with vegetable spray and place sprayed side against dough (this will prevent dough from sticking to parchment once parchment is removed).
- Fill parchment lined pastry with pie weights or dried beans to weigh down dough for baking. (This technique is called “blind baking,” it’s purpose is to prevent the buttery dough from loosing its shape while baking in a very hot oven)
- Place lined tart shell in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove bean-lined parchment from tart; place the tart shell back in the oven until the crust is lightly golden, about 5-8 more minutes.
- As soon as the tart shell is removed, sprinkle 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on the crust and allow time for them to melt. Then, use a pastry brush to spread melted chocolate and coat the shell. Allow the shell to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to firm up chocolate until ready to fill with cream filling. (Coating pastry with chocolate not only adds one of my favorite flavors to this dessert but it also creates a barrier between the flaky crust and the rich pastry keeping this tart delicious for several days – if it lasts that long!)
Make the Cream Filling
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar to taste. Be sure not to make it too sweet, as you'll be adding other sweet ingredients such as the fruit!
- In a separate large bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and it thoroughly whipped.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and adjust sweetness with the confection's sugar.
- Fill the tart shell with the cream cheese mixture, using an offset spatula to spread evenly.
- Garnish with the sliced seasonal fruit.
- Heat & brush the strained currant or apricot jam to glaze the fruit.
- Finally, melt a 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips. You may add 1 to 2 teaspoons of corn oil to the melted chocolate if it is too thick. Use a fork to drizzle white chocolate over top of the fruit.
Peach and Blueberry Pie
- 6 cups flour
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks + 6 tbsp salted butter, sliced into small chunks
- 1 cup frozen Crisco, sliced into small chunks
- 1 cup of ice-cold water
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon scant ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 pounds firm but ripe peaches, peeled, halved, and sliced thin
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp whipping cream
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk, beaten to blend with 2 teaspoons water (glaze)
- 1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (cinnamon sugar)
- Process flour and salt to blend. The add butter and the Crisco and process until the dough has pea-sized pieces. There should be no big chunks of butter or Crisco in the mix.
- Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Create a small well in the middle of the dough and pour 3/4 cup ice water into the well. Mix the dough with a fork until the pea-sized pieces become larger. The dough should be moist, but not too wet. You can add the remaining 1/4 cup of water if need be. Use your hands to form the dough into two large balls. Roll each dough ball out between two sheets of parchment paper. Refrigerate dough until ready to use.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Place foil-lined baking sheet in bottom of oven to catch any spills. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively, forming high rim (about 1/2 inch above sides of dish). Chill crust 30 minutes. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans. Bake crust for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and take aluminum and beans from the crust. Put the pie crust back in the oven for another 15 minutes until it is pale and golden. Cool completely.
- Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out second pie crust disk on floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. Cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Place strips on prepared baking sheet. Chill while preparing filling.
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl. Add peaches, blueberries and lemon juice and toss gently to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 11 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); stir caramel until smooth. Strain juices from peaches into caramel; cool to lukewarm. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix the caramel and flour, and then add this to the peaches and blueberries; toss gently.
- Take a handful of flour sugar and coat the bottom of the pie pan. This will soak of some the juices from the fruit to keep the bottom of the crust from becoming soggy. Then, transfer fruit filling to crust, mounding in center.
- Arrange 6 dough strips in 1 direction across top of pie, spacing apart. Working with 1 strip at a time, arrange 6 more strips in opposite direction atop first, lifting strips and weaving over and under, forming lattice. Gently press ends of strips to edge of baked bottom crust to adhere. Trim overhang. Brush lattice strips (but not crust edge) with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle strips with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake pie 35 minutes. Tent pie loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. Continue to bake pie until filling bubbles thickly and lattice is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Cool pie on rack.
If you are entertaining a larger group, try this open fire paella!
- 2 1/2 cups rice (bomba or callaspara rice preferred)
- 2 lobsters, halved (ask your fishmonger to do this)
- 1-2 lbs. medium wild shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lb. fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into rings
- 1-2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into one inch pieces
- 1 lb. Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
- 7 cups hot seafood stock (homemade seafood stock is preferred)
- 1/2 cups licorice-flavored liqueur (Pernod is preferred)
- 3 bell peppers cut into strips
- 2 cups thawed petite peas
- 2 cups chopped leaks
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp saffron threads
- 2 lemons cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
- kosher salt to taste
Making the Paella
- After paella pan has become hot over the fire, drizzle the olive oil and begin sautéing your sofrito. The sofrito is the base of aromatic ingredients that is sautéed in olive oil. For our paella, the sofrito is composed of chopped leeks, garlic, and chorizo. Add these ingredients to the olive oil, one by one, layering the flavors.
- Once your sofrito is sautéed and fragrant, add the chicken and chorizo to the pan and sauté for three to four minutes. Next add your smoked paprika and toss ingredients once more. Then, add your rice and toss until ingredients are combined.
- Once the rice has been combined, add hot seafood stock, one cup at a time, and stir as you go. After the stock is added, mix the saffron threads into your paella.
- Now that the stock and saffron is mixed in, restrain the urge to stir your paella until the liquid has boiled down and the rice has cooked. Not stirring your paella will allow a toasted, flavorful crust known as the soccarat to form on the bottom of the pan.
- After the liquid has boiled down, add your Pernod and stir the Paella to incorporate the liqueur. Next, add your bell peppers, shrimp, lobster and petite peas. We recommend covering the pan with tin foil and allowing the heat to cook your final seafood ingredients.
- Once the shrimp is cooked and the lobster has turned red, sprinkle the paella with fresh parsley. Serve paella with lemon wedges, and be sure to scrape some of the soccarat on the bottom of the pan onto each plate. Enjoy!
Check out this open fire paella video!