This chocolate peanut butter tart is like a giant peanut butter cup with a crisp chocolate shortbread crust, a light peanut butter mousse filling with whipped cream and crème fraîche (that I could eat with a spoon on it's own). I like to use Skippy (or a similar style) creamy peanut butter rather than an all natural peanut butter because I find it blends better. I recommend using a high quality cocoa powder in the crust like Valrhona or Droste rather than the really cheap stuff (it's a place where splurging a little makes a big difference). I go for a chocolate in the 60-60% cacao range in the ganache, but it will work with any percentage of milk or dark chocolate you like (but I'd avoid chocolate chips which are made with additives that prevent melting smoothly). This tart is rich, so I like to serve it in small slices (10-12 slices per tart) but you do you.
This plum custard tart is fragrant with fresh ginger, orange zest, and cinnamon. It works best with small, oblong Italian prune plums, but other plums can be substituted if you keep the weight the same. Larger plums should be sliced into quarters or sixths.
The custard filling is a simple mixture of crème fraîche, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla that gets baked in the oven.
This tart is best on the day it's made, but it will keep reasonably well, refrigerated for another few days.
This passion fruit tart is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It's like a lemon tart (or lemon meringue pie) but better. The tart crust has a lighter, airier texture than most because of the long creaming time. This makes it more delicate and rustic than some might prefer, but I love it. That said, if you have go-to tart crust or pâte sucrée, feel free to use it. I tend to use frozen passion fruit puree for this. It's often available at Mexican grocery stores and at some big chains. I usually use Goya brand, but I'd recommend sticking to a brand that lists passion fruit as the only ingredient. (You can also order it online.) If you have fresh passion fruit, though, you can absolutely use them. Just slice open the fruit, scoop out the pulp and remove the seeds and use it here.
This tart doesn't need any adornment, really, but I like to top it with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
You'll need a 9.5-in tart pan and a half sheet pan for this recipe.
This cranberry curd tart uses a press-in shortbread crust inspired by one Alice Medrich uses in everything. This one has a bit of orange zest and powdered sugar to keep it tender. The cranberry curd itself is a riff on one I've been making for years that's rounded out with a generous splash of vanilla, some freshly squeezed orange juice from the orange you just zested, and an optional splash of any orange liqueur you like (but don't bother going out to buy Grand Marnier or Dry Curacao just for this). The tart crust can be made and baked up to two days ahead, and the curd can be cooked and chilled up to a week in advance, you can then assemble and bake the tart on the day (or day before) you want to eat it. The meringue is totally optional, but because the tart leaves you with extra egg whites from the curd, it's easy to go that extra step and add the meringue. The amount of meringue isn't as much what you would typically do for a towering lemon meringue pie, but it's plenty for piping decoratively on the top (and enough to cover the whole top with dots like you see pictured if you wanted to do that). You'll need a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe.
The filling of this tart tastes like Thai iced tea sweetened with condensed milk. The crust here is unconventional. It’s salty and crispy from cornflakes and rich from almonds with some more Thai tea flavor and a hit of sour from the citric acid. This crust is gluten free if you make it with a gluten free corn cereal (the classic cornflakes are sweetened with malt syrup, which contains gluten, but there are many gluten free variations in the cereal aisle these days). You should be able to find the Thai tea and tamarind concentrate in most Asian grocery stores (I found them at Golden Pacific in Andersonville) and I’m sure you can find them online if you don’t have a local source. I found citric acid at the Middle Eastern Bakery (also in Andersonville) and the prepared dulce de leche at Edgewater Produce. It’s worth exploring ethnic grocery stores in your area for these ingredients, but I’m sure you can order everything online. None of it should be too hard to find. This needs to freeze for at least 3 hours and then thaw for at least three hours before serving, so plan ahead. I found it easiest to make everything except the lemon mascarpone the day before, let it freeze overnight, thaw in the fridge during the day, and then pipe on the lemon mascarpone within a few hours of serving for best appearance. You’ll need a tart pan with a removable bottom for this to come out cleanly. I used a 14×4.5-inch rectangular tart pan like this but it would also work in a standard 9-inch round tart pan like this.
This shortbread tart crust is pretty much foolproof. It's a press-in crust that's a simple mixture of flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, melted butter, and a little bit of vanilla. It's easy to make and doesn't require any rolling or chilling or any special equipment (beyond a tart pan itself).
It's a versatile crust that will work with any standard tart recipe.
The tart crust can be made and baked up to two days ahead. You'll need a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe.