Strawberry Almond Tarts

Even though it’s only Tuesday, my week is already fantastic. I was able to finish all of my finals early last week so I would be able to come to Ottawa, Ontario, to attend a summer music program! So yes, I’m technically blogging internationally, which is totally a first for me. I’m having so much fun meeting other kids and seeing some old friends too, and I can’t wait to spend 2 weeks here.
In addition to all of the music fun that’s been happening, we had our yearly gymnastics banquet last Friday night. It was so sweet seeing everyone from the gym dressed up in their pretty dresses and sparkly shoes (especially the little kids), but it was also emotional because the gymnast who is a senior this year is leaving after 16 years at Arena. We are all so proud of her and know that she’ll be an absolute start in college gymnastics!
Since my summer is just beginning (even though it’s not June 21), I thought that I would share an absolutely delicious tart with you guys. My mom has been working away at her website, which is sure to be launched in August, and I’ve been helping with a lot of the baking. We had a nice selection of strawberries that were begging to be used, and they were just too pretty to shove into a pie or crumble. This recipe is courtesy of Molly O’Neill, former food writer for the New York Times.
Strawberry Almond Tarts
The crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water

The filling:

  • 4 ounces almond paste
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The berries:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish.

1. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until butter is the size of small peas. Add the water and pulse until dough barely begins to come together. Press the dough together with your hands, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Fit it into a 9 1/2-inch quiche dish. Line the crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or raw beans and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the paper and the weights and bake for 2 minutes more. Set aside.

3. Place the almond paste and butter in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix in the flour, sugar and salt. Add the egg and vanilla and process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the tart shell, spread into an even layer and bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool.

4. Make a ring of strawberries around the edge of the dish, leaning the cut side of the berries up against the edge. Repeat, making concentric circles until the tart is covered. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Cut into wedges. Serve.

Yield: Six servings.

A perfect way to start off an amazing summer.

-Rayna 🙂


Apricot and Raspberry Tart

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Labor day! I survived my first week of school and now that was the last blast of summer before I truly get down to business. I headed back to gymnastics this week after taking a full week off, so no crazy new things. I experimented with some really cool floor choreography and I’m still in the search for some great floor music! Feel free to throw out some suggestions!

What do you know, another fantastic summer fruit recipe. Instead of using all of the perfectly ripe peaches (peach recipes are coming!) I saw some fantastic looking fresh apricots at the store and needed to find a recipe that would just let the fruit shine. If you’ve never had a fresh apricot, the outside is similar to the texture of a peach, but the inside is sweeter. With just some puff pastry dough to hold the gorgeous fruit in, this super simple recipe from BBC is an easy crowd pleaser. Simple, delicious, basically healthy…? 🙂

Apricot and Raspberry Tart


  • 3 Large sheets filo dough
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam, melted
  • 6 ripe apricots, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 3 ounces raspberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 375, let the filo dough thaw, and set up one baking sheet.
  2. Brush each layer of filo dough with melted butter and fold the sheet over itself, making a small rectangle. Use your fingers to fold in the edges and make a 2 cm boarder. Brush the boarder with the melted jelly. Slide the filo dough onto the tray and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and scatter with the apricots. Glaze with any leftover butter. Bake for 10 minutes, then take it out, add the raspberries, and bake for another 10 minutes.

So simple, so pretty, so delicious…what’s not to love?

-Rayna 🙂



Fresh Cherry Tart

Today is my official last day of summer and at 7:30 tomorrow morning, my junior year will have officially begun! But today, my family and I are driving my brother up to college and getting him settled in. It will feel weird around the house to only have one sibling here and to not hear the constant whistling going on next to me while I do my homework. Who will be my homework buddy at midnight from now on? I’m certainly going to miss him, but I know that we’ll be seeing him again soon.

Now, we all know that the best part about late summer is the fantastic produce, and this summer is a way to get in those dark red, sweet as sugar cherries that I just love. The cherry crisp that I made last year was good, but this tart from Martha Stewart was amazing. I made it with reiner cherries which made the tart especially gorgeous. In addition to the graham cracker crumb on the bottom, I sprinkled on some almond paste, which gave the otherwise simple crust a candy like quality that was amazing. It was almost a little too hard, making it a (kind of) pain in the butt to cut through, but the flavor was absolutely amazing. With a simple cream in the middle, what’s not to love?

Fresh Cherry Tart
Makes 1 9” Tart


  • 9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon seedless jam (I used apple)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9” tart pan. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and 2 tbsp sugar until ground. Add the butter and process until combined. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan, and using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan. Sprinkle on the almond paste. Bake until browned, 10-12 minutes.
  2. While that is baking, using an electric mixture on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the cream and beat until soft peaks form. Spread the mixture in the cooled crust and scatter cherries on top.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon of water. Heat on low until liquified, about 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, glaze the cherries.

A perfect Labor Day dessert…(for one)!

-Rayna 🙂