blood orange tart

This blood orange tart is full of velvety blood orange curd, crispy citrus crust, luscious piles of vanilla whipped cream – and candied orange slices, because we fancy. We’ve taken the step past sprinkles (though, to be honest, if you put sprinkles on this I would not be upset) all the way to real fruits garnishing our tarts. It’s almost spring! We’re doing fine!

In all honesty, I spend what seems like my entire week in a lab, playing with fossils that are way too old for me – a casual 300 million years too old, and messing around (a.k.a. carefully using because I’m terrified to break) microscopes that are fancier than any piece of equipment I’ve ever touched. It’s almost spring! I’m doing fine!

I’m sure you’re being your best self right now. Maybe you had one too many mimosas for brunch last weekend, but it is citrus season, and we can still pretend that Vitamin C prevents all nasty illnesses – and hey – you won’t get scurvy anytime soon. It’s almost spring! We’re doing fine and we don’t have scurvy!

This tart will help walk you out of any scurvy worries and into a land where blood oranges naturally make everything a delightful shade of pink – where candied oranges look good no matter how you arrange them, and where there’s blood orange curd to eat by the spoonful. It will help you walk out of the winter citrus with dignity, unlike the fourth mimosa you had last brunch. It’s almost spring! We like dignity!

So, by my logic, this tart will not only taste delicious, it will prevent scurvy, bring back your dignity that a mimosa ran off with, and help you gracefully enter springtime. And yes, I’m so fully aware that it is still February, but here outside of Philly it’s feeling an awful lot like spring, and despite my schooling in climate change, I’m here for it. It’s almost spring! We’re doing fine in climate-change-warmness! Make this tart. You won’t be sorry.


blood orange tart

citrus tart crust:
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbs) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs cold water
Zest of 1 blood orange

blood orange curd:
2 eggs
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs cornstarch
1 cup blood orange juice
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs blood orange zest
4 Tbs butter

vanilla scented whipped cream: 
1/2 cup heavy cream
Scraped seeds of one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tbs sugar

candied orange slices:
1 blood orange/orange, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup powdered sugar

how-to: tart crust
Rub orange zest into sugar with your fingertips. Toss the zesty sugar with butter cubes in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until a paste forms with no lumps, about 5 minutes. 

Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Sift flour and salt together in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients, just until combined. Add the cold water and mix briefly.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead several times until smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough to fit your tart pan, and don’t worry if it cracks or breaks here and there. Press it into the pan until there is a uniform thickness. Dock with a fork. For best results and less shrinkage, stick the lined pan in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Line pan with parchment paper and fill with dried beans (or rice, or baking weights) and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the bottom is somewhat dry. Remove weights and bake for another 15-20 minutes more until the crust is evenly golden brown. Let cool completely.

how-to: blood orange curd
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and salt and continue mixing. Add blood orange juice, zest, water and butter, and mix until somewhat incorporated (the butter will not mix in). Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, and whisk continuously until mixture thickens and deepens in color. Remove from heat and whisk for an additional minute or two. Pour mixture into the pre-baked and cooled tart crust. Cover surface with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for at least an hour – ideally more.

how-to: vanilla scented whipped cream
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together cream, sugar, and vanilla seeds until stiff peaks form. Spread over surface of the tart and garnish with dried orange slices.

how-to: candied orange slices:
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Put the powdered sugar in a medium, shallow bowl. Dip each slice to coat and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until dried and slightly shriveled, about 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours. Let cool. Arrange over whipped cream on top of tart.

roasted peaches with honeyed cream and almond brittle

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Whoa, what a mouthful this recipe is. You need all the information you can get though – information is power, and power is these roasty toasty peaches. I’m also not ashamed to say that I was eating this whipped cream out of the bowl, with a spoon. It’s that time of year. I’m back at school, and trying to get in the swing of things – so here’s the late posts. Posts might be late these days, but I like to think we’ll all survive.

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This is a recipe for when you forget that you want to make dessert, or when you feel as though you’d like some fresh fruit involved. You can leave out the almond brittle, switch up the cream, or just guzzle the roasted peaches straight – I won’t tell.

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This recipe is also one where the exact amounts don’t matter so much. Toss your peaches with a bit of cinnamon, rub the pan with a bit of butter. For the cream, one glug of honey and a pinch of salt should do it. Dump some sugar in a saucepan, melt it down, and toss with some sliced or slivered almonds. Boom – brittle. I think that these are the best types of recipes – the ones that give you the flexibility to make the food you want. Whether that be significantly sweeter roasted peaches, no-salt whipped cream, or peanut brittle instead of the lowly almond. It’s your pick. Congratulations, this just might be the one thing in your entire life that is completely under control. Relish that.

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roasted peaches with honeyed cream and almond brittle

ripe peaches
brown sugar
unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 glug of honey
Pinch of sea salt


Preheat oven to 425F. Rub the inside of an 8×8 pan with the unsalted butter. Feel free to use a larger pan if you’re using more peaches! Halve the peaches, pick out the pits, and cut them into quarters. Toss with a couple of pinches of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar. Place in pan, and roast until they’re your desired level of roastiness – you can go really far, or keep them somewhat firm.

While they’re roasting, place parchment on a sheet pan and spray with nonstick spray. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir around with a spatula every once in a while, until melted. It might look weird at various stages up until this point. Stop stirring once melted, and bring to a deep amber color. Stir in the almonds, and pour out onto prepared pan. Smash the brittle into a flat shape – relatively thin. Let cool completely, and break into shards of desired size.

Lastly, place the cream, honey and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks.
Place roasted peaches in small ramekins or bowls and top with the cream and brittle. Enjoy warm and melty.

eclipse fudge brownies

Is an eclipse even an eclipse without eclipse-themed desserts? Probably not. I spent yesterday teaching my little sister how to make a pinhole camera (science major, check), and staring at lights sources to ensure it worked. Although we only got a sliver of the eclipse up here in Portland, you could still see it through the pinhole camera. Too cool.

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For these guys, I first decided to not use any recipe, to test my merit in the kitchen with brownies…using only what I remembered about the best brownie methods – melt the butter, use cocoa powder, pray to the pastry gods, etc.


I then decided to play with only light and dark.. because you can only take an eclipse dessert so far before it’s just a sugar cookie dressed up like a moon. Mint and white chocolate ganache is swirled into the fudgiest brownies of all time. Almost too fudgy to even call them brownies. For a second, when they came out, I was ready to call it a relative failure, since they were undoubtedly too dense and too fudgy. And then, my family descended upon them, stealing slices and half moons and crumbs. And a full moon is all that remains, and so the fudge brownies are movin’ onto the blog.


All jokes aside, these brownies are melt-in-your-mouth fun. They’re not very sturdy, but they are really pretty. Plus, they lend themselves nicely to being cut into shapes – but beware, they will leave a bit of an oily stain behind. They’re an excellent snack to stress-eat out of the pans as you worry about Game of Thrones (I’m worried about everyone in the whole show, quite frankly), and an excellent snack to insta and pretend you’re cool.


For my next iteration of these, I’m planning on including a little less oil/butter, and seeing if that leads to a more traditional brownie…. but these were an excellent pit stop along the way. Let me know if you try any tweaks.

eclipse brownies

6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
Drops of mint extract, to taste

1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3-1/2 cup oil (fudgy vs. super fudgy)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drop of mint extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream up until steaming, add the mint leaves, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, heat the cream up until bubbling around the edges, and strain over the white chocolate. Nudge all the chocolate pieces down into the cream, and let sit for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, using a spatula or whisk, start stirring in small circles in the center, and you’ll see it all come together into a glossy ganache. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8×8 pan, and fit one piece of parchment into the pan, having it drape over two sides. To make the brownies, place the butter and the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Turn off the heat.
In a separate, medium bowl, mix together the sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add sugar mixture to the butter mixture and stir well to combine. It will look a bit grainy. Add the vanilla and mint extracts and stir well. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well to combine after each addition. Add the flour and stir until combined. Then, stir quickly and vigorously for about 40-50 strokes. Brownie batter should look delicious. Pour into the prepared pan. Drizzle the ganache (I didn’t use all of it) on top in stripes, and stir around with a butter knife to make pretty swirls.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and it’s pulling away from the edges a bit. Let cool for a while, then enjoy still slightly warm.


bittersweet chocolate pudding with earl grey cream

There comes a time where we all must revert to childhood and eat pudding. Even better if the pudding could possibly exist in a pudding cup-type ensemble, and possibly eaten with the foil top because oops you have no spoon. All jokes aside, though, I honestly don’t actively crave pudding most of the time because I’m too busy craving bread and whipped cream and rose italian sodas. Correction – I didn’t actively crave pudding, because now I sure as hell do. It’s on the list – for good. Here’s why.


It’s at the point in summer where everything feels like one of those fast action videos – things are moving far too quickly and there’s also far too many things to do. Between real-life work, this delightful blog baby of mine, a temperamental sourdough starter and the impending return of a school year where the lab hours seem to keep multiplying… I’m ready to move to New Zealand for a while just to calm down. No joke – been researching working holiday visas and requirements and plane tickets.Let me know if you’re feeling like New Zealand is where you’re headed too. We can hang.


In a snap back to reality yesterday, I was forced to stop googling New Zealand and instead had to make something to share with you all. Probably good, because I’ve been in such a whirlwind lately that blog baby has taken a hit because temperamental sourdough starter has taken all of my free time because there’s so much real life work so there’s limited free time…..okay okay okay breathe. Think of New Zealand. Loop back around. I decided to make you all pudding. Because pudding is easy and it is good and it is pure of heart.


To class it up – add earl grey cream and swirl and feel as much like an adult as you can considering you’re moving to New Zealand. To summer it up, add peaches, which I’m sure grow in New Zealand. To enjoy fully, share with friends, to convince them to move to New Zealand. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.


bittersweet chocolate pudding with earl grey cream 
adapted from salt fat acid heat

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 cups half and half
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 heaping fine sea salt
3 eggs

earl grey cream:

2 tablespoons earl grey leaves (about 4 teabags)
1 cup heavy cream, separated into 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Splash of pure vanilla extract
Sliced peaches, for topping

Place the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl and place a mesh strainer over it. Crack the eggs into another medium bowl and whisk lightly to break up and combine a bit. Mix the cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and sugar in yet another medium bowl. Place the half and half in a medium saucepan – and now we’re good to go.

Heat the half and half on low heat until just steaming and simmering. Don’t boil this – it won’t ever be the same. Pour the half and half into the cornstarch mixture and whisk to combine. Return to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, constantly stirring, until visibly thickened and the pudding can hold a trail on the back of a spoon. While whisking, stir about two thirds of the half and half mixture into the eggs, and then return all of it to the pot. Cook on low heat until visibly thickened again. You’ll know when it’s ready. It might take a minute, it might take ten. Just keep stirring and let it take it’s own sweet time.

Pour thickened pudding through the mesh sieve and onto the chocolate. Use a spatula to push the pudding through. Let the heat melt the chocolate, and then blend with a stick blender (or a normal blender, do your own thing), until silky and smooth and it looks like you want to eat it up. Adjust salt as needed, and pour into whatever cups for serving. Let come to room temp, or put in fridge for cold pudding.

To make the whipped cream, heat 1/2 cup of the cream in a small saucepan over low heat, until just steaming. Turn off the heat. Steep the leaves in the cream for 10 minutes, and strain. Add the rest of the cream and chill until very cold. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip up to soft peaks.

Pile earl grey cream on pudding cups and top with sliced peaches or other fruit. Breathe in, eat pudding, breathe out.


summer pavlova


Let’s face it – when the summer fruit begins to roll in, we’ve got high expectations.  We’re making pies and tarts and jams and fillings. There’s a point, though, where the cooking is out of hand. This moment is usually pretty soon for me. Cooking fruit gets old. Fresh fruit is in, always.


I’m also busy, since it’s August, and we’re all busy. Between work, this blog, trying to get my cat to like me, reading cookbooks and watching game of thrones…. you see how my days get eaten up quickly. Casual aside – did you see game of thrones yesterday?? I’m thinking dragon themed desserts for the rest of the summer. Lots of blowtorching, maybe? Scorched earth is what we’re after. All men must die, right?

This dessert is the best of both worlds – a super easy meringue and marshmallow-y base, rosy whipped cream, and piles of fresh strawberries and raspberries. Change it up if you want – I’m always feeling peaches. Feel free to also mess with the whipped cream – maybe some fresh mint or basil or even maybe chocolate?? Do what you will with that. I believe in your ability to improvise with what you’ve got.


If you’ve always seen pictures of pavlovas on the internet and said – hey, that’s pretty – now’s your time to shine. Also, you’ll have some leftover yolks, and if you don’t feel like making ice cream with those I’m not totally sure we should be friends… at least give it a shot. Or don’t. It’s hot, and if you just want to sit on your couch and rewatch game of thrones… please invite me.


summer pavlova
recipe adapted from alice mendrich

1 cup sugar (superfine works better, just whiz some sugar in a food processor for 15 seconds)
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
4 egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon white vinegar)

1 cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon rosewater

1 half pint raspberries, 1 half pint strawberries or whatever fruit you feel like

how to:

Preheat oven to 275°F. Trace a 7 inch circle on a piece of parchment, then turn it over. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and beat at medium-high speed with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until egg whites are creamy and hold a soft shape. Add the sugar mixture 1 teaspoon at a time. When it is all in, it should be a stiff meringue.

Spread the meringue on the circle and use a spatula to spread it into a swirly, somewhat flat dome. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until it is browned a bit, pinkish and feels really crusty on the outside. The inside will be marshmallowy though, so don’t freak out (like I did). Cool it completely on a cooling rack. It is going to crack and settle when it comes out of the oven. Don’t worry – you’re just gonna be piling whipped cream and fruit on top, so it’s supposed to be rustic.

Make the whipped cream by whipping the cream, sugar and rosewater to stiff peaks. Pile whipped cream on meringue and top with fruit. Serve immediately. Once you put it all on, it’s only best for a couple hours, so eat up!

plum and almond tart

Last night, I made a meal for eight people, with three courses, and one plum-almond tart.


I rubbed garlic cloves on slices of toasted baguette, and I spooned tomatoes all happy and relaxed in their juices. I sliced shallots thinly, fried them and promptly ate them all. Whatever was left of the shallots appeared to make their way into my sister’s hands – but I have no blame to give.

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I halved two pounds of cherry tomatoes, and I spilled white wine on the floor, which was already partially covered with flour. I rolled meatballs, wine deglazed, drizzled honey and topped tomatoes with jaunty basil leaves that my mom had just picked outside. I used every single bowl we have in our kitchen – twice. It was probably too much food.


All the while, my stone fruit tart whiled away in the oven, biding its time for my attention. And I’ll be darned if it didn’t grab my attention and never let it go. I stuck my face right above it, inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled, found my happy place, and almost forgot about browning those meatballs on all sides.

Sweet plums, nestled in a buttery dough and sprinkled with ground almonds seems too easy – too simple, but when I set aside the potatoes and the pancetta and turned my attention to this baby, I decided it wasn’t too easy at all. It was that tart. The one you see online and think that it might be too hard or too many plums or maybe they had special plums cause wow – but – I assure you no special plums here. If anything, these were slightly underripe plums, and it was still gosh-darn good.


It was perfect. I kid you not. Make this for your next dinner party and your grandfather will probably suggest you become a caterer, your grandmother will wonder over whipped cream, and your sisters will clamor for more – despite this being the fourth or fifth plate of food. Serve it up, summer style, with vanilla ice cream – or go my route with lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream. Doesn’t matter – these plums will outshine it all.

plum-almond tart

1⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ baking powder
½ salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
⅓ cup sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk or cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup fine breadcrumbs
½ cup finely ground raw almonds
½ finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons sugar
1¾ pounds ripe plums
1½ tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into little slivers or chunks
2 tablespoons sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 375F, and butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest, and pile it on a clean work surface. Cut the butter into tiny tiny cubes, and refreeze to harden if needed. Take the butter and put it in a circle around the dry pile. Mix together the egg, milk, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl. Pour into the well in the top of the dry ingredients, and begin to mix together with a fork. When it gets to hard to mix with a fork, begin to use a bench scraper to mix in, making sure to scrape up from the bottom and also to chop the butter in. Once it is cohesive, knead a couple times to get it to come together, form a disk, wrap in plastic, and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Once it has rested, lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out to about 1 1/2 inches wider than the springform pan (mine was about an 11 inch circle). Place it in the prepared pan, pressing down in the edges to make sure it forms the right shape. Ideally this comes up an inch or more on the sides. Trim and mess around with the sides to make them somewhat even – but don’t freak out since this is a rustic tart. Poke all over with a fork, and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While it is resting, mix together the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Slice each of the plums in half lengthwise, leaving the back edge connected like a book. Pry out pits. If you accidentally cut one all the way in half don’t panic.
Once the tart shell is ready, sprinkle half of the almond mixture (about 1/2 cup) in the bottom, and arrange the cut plums in circles on the top (remember – rustic). Sprinkle the other half of the almond mixture on top, and top with the slivers of cold, unsalted butter and the sliced almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes (mine took close to 55), until the pastry is a dark golden brown and the plums have released their juices. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or whatever your heart desires. Share with family, and enjoy.