I believe that every moment of the year is a time for food gifts. I especially like to offer food gifts when they’re least expected, like when someone knocks on my door to make sure I still live here because… life is busy and that’s pretty kind of them. Or maybe when someone offers me a hug because I “look like I need it [in a good way].” That’s pretty neat, too.
It’s during the holidays that I not only gift food profusely, but also remember the folks who made my most favorite food gifts of all time. I can tell you about all of them in great detail. ALL OF THEM.
I remember my friend Jeanine whom I haven’t seen in a couple years. She offered me a batch of and the recipe for Graham Cracker Toffee. After I gobbled it up and made it a few dozen times, I put my version in my new cookbook. I always remember Jeanine and I’m hoping that she’ll come see me at this year’s Holiday Market because I miss her so much.
I remember my friend Catrine who styled my cookbook. She gave me a linen pouch full of homemade cocktail bar infusions last year. I left them on a shelf for a while — because I drink fewer spirits these days — but I recently opened her Cranberry Cordial and — oh my goodness — it has made my day, my week, my many moments when the world has won and I just need a few sips to mend my spirit (ha!). I remember Catrine but I’ll get to finally hug and hang with her when we talk about using Le Parfait Jars to decorate your home at the holidays; you can RSVP to that get-together now.
And I remember my friend Yvette. I was her fan and then her far away follower-admirer-devotee and then her friend. I basically love her — and not just because she’s written a bunch of inspiring cookbooks. She encourages me to do my thing, to share my story, and to never apologize for how passionately I geek out about food gifts. She saw Food Gift Love even before I did, I am sure of it.
On a visit to Amsterdam, in part to visit Yvette, we planned a picnic in the park to enjoy the nice weather. A New England picnic typically involves a blanket, wrapped sandwiches, a jarred salad and some cookies, or other dishes that are easily wrapped and served. In Amsterdam, Yvette’s picnic is biked into the park in the sweetest baskets. Her drinks are served in proper glassware; her meat is grilled on a portable grill; and dessert is sweet and savory, taking the form of a sweet wine served in mini glasses and a savory-fruity-cheesy tart. In fact, it was this one.
This Fig, Apricot, Stilton, and Goat Cheese Tart is all that and a bag of fruit. The homemade short crust plays host to a mesh of fresh fruit, strong cheese, an egg custard, and woodsy rosemary. And when it worked so well at our picnic, she popped it into her latest cookbook, HOME BAKED: More Than 150 Recipes for Sweet and Savory Goodies.
To honor my friend and remember that most memorable food gift, I remade Yvette’s tart for a little Fall-style picnic. I love it, and hope you will too.
Fig, Apricot, Stilton, and Goat Cheese Tart
When my friend Maggie came to visit me in Amsterdam from Boston, we organized a picnic and BBQ in the park for her. At home I baked this pie to bring along. All of us were so enthusiastic about it that I decided to include the recipe in this book. It’s sweet and savory at the same time. Perfect, really. -Yvette Recipe from Home Baked by Yvette van Boven; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 2015
When my friend Maggie came to visit me in Amsterdam from Boston, we organized a picnic and BBQ in the park for her. At home I baked this pie to bring along. All of us were so enthusiastic about it that I decided to include the recipe in this book. It’s sweet and savory at the same time. Perfect, really. -Yvette
Recipe from Home Baked by Yvette van Boven; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 2015
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hours 10 Minutes
Ingredients:For the shortcrust dough
- Pinch of sea salt
- 21⁄4 cups (300 g) all-purpose all-purpose flour
- 2⁄3 cup (1 1/3 sticks/150 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk (optional)
- Few drops of ice water
- 3⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (200 milliliter) heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 apricots, sliced into about 6 wedges
- 2 figs, sliced into about 6 wedges
- 2 1⁄2 ounces (75 grams) soft goat cheese
- 2 1⁄2 ounces (75 grams) Stilton cheese
- 3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
Directions:Make the shortcrust dough
- Mix the sea salt with the flour. Use your cold hands, or two knives, to mix in the butter cubes until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Another way of doing this without having to touch the butter is pulsing it in a food processor. If a firmer dough is desired, add the egg, then just enough liquid for the dough to come together. Do so sparingly—usually just a tiny drop or two will suffice.
- Swiftly work the dough into a flattened ball. Wrap it in plastic and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come back to room temperature.
- After about 25 minutes, it will be easier to roll out on a flour- dusted countertop.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan—preferably a tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Roll out the dough into a slab that fits your pie pan and fit in the dough. Neatly trim the edges. Prick the bottom a couple of times with a fork. Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes, allowing it to stiffen up nicely. Then blind bake it for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream with the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Be careful not to use too much salt— the cheese is salty as well.
- Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie crust. Arrange the apricots and figs on top. Crumble the goat cheese and the Stilton and sprinkle them between the fruit wedges. Sprinkle everything with the rosemary and grind some extra pepper over the filling.
- Bake the pie for about 30 minutes.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.