Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Morning hazelnut plum tarts

It's been a long (or too short?, depending on how you look at it) summer of dissertation writing, but I'm almost there. My oral defense has now finally been scheduled (meaning I've somehow convinced my thesis chairs that I'm worthy of attempting the last rite of earning a PhD), and now it's just a matter of final details, filling in the blanks in the argumentation, and writing the intro and conclusion. Almoooooost.

This is the first dessert I've made in months. Given my self-imposed thesis hermitude, I've missed so much of summer's great fruit, so I wanted to take advantage of the tail end of stone fruit season before it disappeared altogether. This hazelnut plum tart is sort of a hybrid of a cake-y tart, with a thick, almost linzer-torte-like base and slices of fruit baked in on top. The secret to this "morning" tart is that the dough itself is spiked with orange zest and just ever so subtle of a hint of Turkish coffee and cardamom--enough to give the tart a dark and complex depth without stealing the scene with too much coffee flavor. It's a barely-there roasted spice flavor that helps to enhance the hazelnuts, alongside the brightness that the orange and plums provide.

It's going to be a bit slow-going while I try to reacclimate to "normal" life after my myopically-focused dissertation summer, but hopefully this also means the beginning of many more desserts coming out of the kitchen again.

(P.S. See that teacup in the photos? It's a UC Berkeley Wedgewood set! that I found at the antique fair a few months ago. I first saw these Berkeley Wedgewood place settings when I had dinner at the Chancellor's House as an undergrad, so I'm quite excited by the fact that I now too have a tea cup designed especially for my college alma mater. :D #geekpride)

Read on for recipe....