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Plum Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnut-Thyme Streusel

Plum Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnut-Thyme Streusel



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Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup walnuts (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Streusel

  • 2/3 cup walnuts (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling and topping

  • 8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large plums (about 1 pound), halved, pitted, but into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

Recipe Preparation

For crust:

  • Blend first 4 ingredients in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; blend until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk; blend until moist clumps form. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cover; chill 1 hour.

For streusel:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend flour, walnuts, both sugars, coarse salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add thyme and blend 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until small moist clumps form.

  • Spread streusel mixture on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Stir, then continue baking until golden brown, about 7 minutes longer. Cool streusel completely (mixture will become crisp).

For filling and topping:

  • Combine both cheeses, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon oil, sugar, nutmeg, coarse salt, and pepper in large bowl; stir to blend well. Refrigerate while baking crust.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake crust until golden brown, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 15 minutes longer. Cool crust completely.

  • Spread cheese filling in crust. Arrange plums in concentric circles atop filling, leaving 3/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle streusel lightly over tart. Refrigerate tart at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

  • Remove pan sides; place tart on platter. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut tart into wedges.

Recipe by Elizabeth Falkner,Reviews Section

Plum Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnut-Thyme Streusel - Recipes

Hey readers! You can check out this post on the fancy new Pithy and Cleaver! Just head over here!


Everyone is writing about Twitter these days, perhaps because it's really happening , or perhaps because everyone wants to figure out what the heck it's good for. Quick answer: it's great for wasting time. But I've also found that Twitter is a pretty interesting way to connect with people I may not have gotten to chat with otherwise, as well as a chance see a behind-the-scenes look at bloggers I admire. And it's a useful forum for asking for advice on recipes and restaurants.

I was daydreaming about dessert when I asked my twitter-people (tweeps? Are we really calling them that?) whether they had any tips on tiramisu ingredients or technique. The kind person who contributes to Twitter for Everyday Food magazine responded, volunteering an easy recipe for me to try. How cool! But to me, their recipe just isn't the real thing. These days, mascarpone is easy enough to find (especially in New York) so there was no way I was substituting a bar of reduced-fat-cream cheese. I wanted to grate some nice dark chocolate into it, too, not just use cocoa powder. Instant espresso isn't really my game (it just tastes off to me, even in baked goods) and the recipe didn't call for any alcohol!


We here at Pithy and Cleaver don't mind baking with booze. Shiv did invent a Mint Julep Pie, after all. I was further encouraged when I stopped at the farmer's market for a bottle of fresh cream. The woman from Milk Thistle Farm who sold me a bottle of lovely heavy cream offered her advice: for that true sophisticated tiramisu taste, I should go to a nice liquor store and buy a decent bottle of marsala. It just wouldn't be the same without it. "One last thing," she warned. "Don't soak the ladyfingers too long. And don't overbeat the cream, it's so full of milk fat, it will turn into butter."

Trying not to think of the giant tub of near-butter I was about to serve my unsuspecting guests, I headed for the liquor store with a plan. For this grown-up tiramisu, there would be not one, but two kinds of booze. Good freshly whipped cream, good chocolate, real coffee (spiked with Kahlua!) and real mascarpone, with a touch of marsala. Decadent, for sure.

And really delicious. Like, eye-rolling, expletive-dropping delicious.


This is the perfect dessert for company, since it requires no oven and must be assembled a few hours ahead. It's dramatic looking—your guests will be so impressed, they cannot imagine what a breeze it was to put together. It's rich, but not cloying. Traditionally, tiramisu has raw egg yolks in it, but this eggless version is worry-free. And don't be scared of all the alcohol, the taste is just sophisticated, not too potent.


Eggless Tiramisu with Marsala and Kahlua
serves 9-12

2 cups very strong decaf coffee or espresso, cooled
1/3 cup plus 1 T sugar, divided
3 T Kahlua
2 cups mascarpone
3 T Marsala wine (unsalted-buy at a liquor store, not "cooking wine")
36 savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers)
1 1/2 cups very fresh heavy whipping cream
small bar good-quality dark chocolate for grating (I used four Valrhona 70% cocoa feves)

Prepare layering ingredients: chill a large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer (a hand mixer is fine.) Prepare coffee and let cool in a wide-low dish (a loaf pan or baking dish works well.) Add 1 T sugar and the Kahlua, set aside.
Place mascarpone in a large bowl. Fold in reminiang 1/3 cup sugar and marsala. Using chilled bowl and beaters, whip cream until soft peaks form. Do not overwhip! Gently fold half of the cream into the mascarpone mixture, then add in the rest, folding carefully until just mixed.

To assemble tiramisu, have 8 1/2" trifle bowl (or other straight-sided serving bowl) next to coffee mixture. Dip savoiardi one at a time into coffee mixture briefly -count "One" as you dip one side, then turn and count "One" before removing. Place in bottom of bowl until a layer is formed (You may have to break a few ladyfingers before dipping to evenly fill bottom layer. When bottom of bowl is covered, carefully add about a quarter of the mascarpone and cream mixture, smoothing the top with a spatula. Grate chocolate on top, evenly covering the cream (you should still be able to see the cream through the chocolate.) Cover with another layer of soaked savoiardi, then another layer of cream, followed by chocolate shavings, repeating until you have four layers and all your cream has been used up. Wrap well with saran wrap and refridgerate at least two hours before serving. You can wait overnight, but the whipped cream condenses a little.


Who Has The Best Dessert in Chester County? I'll Tell You Who…

After judging this year’s Sweet Charity event I had a sugar high for a week but it was well worth it. I have to say my personal favorites were the Plum Tart with Goat Cheese & Walnut Thyme Streusel by Classic Fare Catering (yup, that’s a branch of Aramark… ) and the Truffles from The Brickside Grille (in particular the dark chocolate with fresh blueberries inside… heaven.) Of course, I’m always a huge fan of Cupcakes Gourmet and a taste of their summertime trio cupcakes is like a putting the sipping lemonade on the porch moment right in your mouth.

Below is the recap from the event.

In an encouraging demonstration of Chester County’s spirit of philanthropy, more than 425 guests attended the
March 31 Sweet Charity event. Set at Waterloo Gardens in Exton, chefs from a dozen restaurants created unique desserts and donated and served over 4000 portions to the guests. “It is encouraging to see the generosity of our community,” noted Karen Simmons, President and CEO of the Chester County Community Foundation. “Given the current economy, we are thrilled to have so many restaurants and guests share their resources.”

The evening culminated in a vote for the best desserts. Carlino’s Market, of West Chester, was named best dessert for the Sunset Cake: Honey-Rum Napoleon with Scarlet Orange Sauce & Macerated Spring Fruit made by Jessica Pachorkowsky-Perez, executive pastry chef.

A Plum Tart with Goat Cheese & Walnut Thyme Streusel by Classic Fare Catering was chosen as
Most Creative, and the popular choice, voted on by the guests, was a tie between A Collection of
Truffles by Brickside Grille and Jimmy Duffy & Sons Chocoa Yuna with Banana & Yuzu Cream
alongside Hazelnut Sponge Cake with Chocolate Mousse.


A is for Apples: A Savory Bread Pudding and an Apple Oat Walnut Bar

Fall isn’t Fall without apple bars, breads, cakes, cookies, crisps, bread puddings, salads and soups!

Do you have seasonal favorite dishes that you like to make? As each year rolls around, I look forward with great anticipation to tasting some favorite dishes once more, and it seems like periodically they are due for a wee makeover. Not that there was anything wrong with them the first time around, but just because I think…’Wow, wouldn’t this be good with this or that added to it?’ Or, ‘What if I tried making that into something else?’ Here are two new dishes, not quite the same as the old dishes—and both involve one of my favorite seasonal ingredients, apples! Continue reading &rarr

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Camping and Hiking Part II, Fruited Farro Salad, and Grilled Za’atar Spiced Chicken with Peppers and Onions

Summer is in full force and it’s just flying by. Soon the children will go back to school, the wind will take on a decidedly cooler feel, and Fall will be here before we know it—but not yet! There’s still plenty of time for grilling and chilling.

Hot weather makes me crave salads and this Fruited Farro Salad is one of my new favorites. This colorful salad is more savory than sweet, with a perfect balance between the natural sweetness of the fruit and nuts, the herbaceous parsley and crisp celery, and the chewy farro with a tangy dressing. It pairs well with most any food and is particularly nice with barbecued pork, or with your favorite style of chicken…like this Za’atar Spiced, Marinated and Grilled Chicken with Peppers and Onions. These two dishes make a complete meal, and the farro salad lasts for a few days, so leftovers can be used for a light lunch. Check out the easy recipes below for these two versatile and delicious dishes to try.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, we’ve been doing some hiking lately and have managed a hike a week all summer—with the one exception of last week when we were traveling. Hiking in North Georgia is particularly nice right now because the temps are so much cooler than those we have here in the city. Following is the continuation and conclusion of my story about our little adventure camping in the mountains in early June, featuring three more great hiking areas to explore…

Close to the Warwoman Dell recreation area is Black Rock Mountain, a beautiful state park with a visitors center which is situated at the top of the mountain, overlooking the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. The area features camping, cabins and hiking trails as well as scenic overlooks with some 80 miles of vistas. The cabins and the tent campsite areas literally hang over the edge of the top of the mountain, and the views are breathtaking. There are RV campsites with hookups by reservation, cabins by reservation and walk-in rustic campsites on a first come, first serve basis. Because we’d just finished our hike at Warwoman Dell when we visited here, we didn’t hike any of the trails, but we did make a note to try renting a cabin here at some point down the road.