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Raspberry tart made with a sweet sugar crust coated with dark chocolate and filled with pastry cream. Image by  Robert Watson.

Wondering what dessert to make this year for your Christmas dinner? How about a tart. Easy to prepare, tarts can be served in many different ways, both warm or cold. They can be prepared with a few ingredients such as this classic French apple tart or with more elaborate ingredients such as a warm plum hazelnut tart. See my recipes page for the full recipe for the apple tart.

The warm plum hazelnut tart was featured in the National Culinary Review in my article “Tantalizing Tarts” in the September issue of the National Culinary Review, the official magazine of the American Culinary Federation. In the article I included recipes and advice for creating signature tarts from some of the nation’s top pastry chefs and pastry authors along with a brief history of some timeless classic tarts like Tart Tatin and Backwell tart.

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French Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce and Cream Anglaise. Image by Robert Watson.
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Warm Plum Tart in a Linzer Crust- Image by Madeline Beyer

Pecans are yet another favorite filling for tarts and pies and when combined with chocolate and bourbon in the filling and covered with a rich chocolate ganache in sweet sugar crust (Pate Sucree) they never fail to please.

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Chocolate bourbon pecan tart simply plated. Image by Madeline Bayer.

Lemon tarts are also a classic tart which can be covered with a decadent Swiss or Italian meringue for yet another impressive dessert. In this photo I garnished the tart with caramel and sugar coated dried lemon slices and white chocolate plaques that have been colored green by the use of a chocolate transfer sheet.

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Lemon Meringue Tart

In conclusion, my last tart for this post takes me back to the first image shown at the top and is always a great flavor combination: raspberry and vanilla pastry cream. Although raspberries are out of season they are readily available all year long and are the decadent berry that reminds of us of warmer times in mid summer. Note the thin chocolate coating that I brushed onto the crust after it was baked before I filled it with pastry cream. This helps to keep the crust from becoming soggy and also lends another, ever so slight, flavor profile to the finished tart.

With these ideas I hope you make a nice tart for your friends and family this holiday season and make it a tradition for years to come. Happy holidays!