i joined the town gym yesterday. i returned from my post-hawaii weekend in winnipeg (eggboy played a trombone concert!), applied a layer of activewear, and then acquired access to the best indoor waterpark in grand forks, along with some other stuff, like free weights and possibly a steam room. i haven't done enough exploring in the locker room yet to confirm that there is actually a steam room, and tbh i don't really want to *explore the locker room* and all of its bare body parts, i just want someone to give me a direct route to the steam room, if there is one. but i have a good hunch. i may also even start going to yoga classes again because these days i can't even do 30 seconds of yoga in my living room without looking at the twitter, it's atrocious. the only downside about the gym is that it takes 23 minutes by car to get there, 24 if there's traffic, but (!) i'm knee deep in research about how to make the most of my car time by way of audio hebrew lessons and i'm extremely excited about it. (do you have an recs? is rosetta stone the way to go?)
in other words, i'm moving into a post-book-deadline world and beginning some things i've been wanting to do for the past year but put aside in an effort to make my deadlines. i have a list on my phone, i'm rereading it now. "learn hebrew" and "have a bat mitzvah" are at the top, "watch every mary-kate and ashley movie ever made" and "eat no food" were all likely added during the most stressful times, and "go blonde" is something i probably won't stop thinking about until i try it.
and then of course there is the assumed "make other people's recipes that have me foaming at the mouth." so many beautiful cookbooks were birthed this spring and i'm basically floored that all of the people behind these books went through the cookbook writing process that i'm going through right now and that they're all still alive, breathing, considering doing it again, etc. it's reassuring. it makes me appreciate cookbooks even more. and today, right now, as my rhubarb patch is beginning to poke its little nose out of the ground, i'm cuddling up with yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine, a stunning ode to fruit desserts. have you ever met yossy? i think she is the calmest human on the face of the planet. her voice is exactly the one that i need in my head while i try new things (like supremeing a grapefruit or baking a gooseberry into a buckle) or attempt things that typically cause me lots of frustration (anything involving a tart shell or pie crust). it's trustworthy and encouraging, and it all shows through so well in this book, well enough to make me question my staunch preference for nutty desserts over fruity ones. and of course today we are starting with the token tahini recipe, this chocolate tart. it's sour, salty, chocolatey, and nutty, and my favorite part about making it was learning this new thing called supremeing. good luck! don't chop your fingers off, for a tasty tart awaits you at the end.
chocolate sesame tart with grapefruit
from yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine
makes one 13 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangular tart (or four small tarts, pictured)
1 chocolate tart shell, recipe below
2 medium grapefruit, scrubbed and dried
3/4 c sugar
6 oz chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c tahini
1 tsp smoked flaky sea salt
grate the zest of one of the grapefruit and measure 1 teaspoon of zest. supreme the grapefruit: cut off the tops and bottoms of the fruits, then with a very sharp knife, cut the white pith away from the outside of the fruit. over a medium saucepan, carefully cut the wedges of fruit away from the membrane, letting the fruit and juices fall into the pan. remove any seeds that have fallen in. add the sugar and zest to the pan and stir to combine. bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapefruit segments break down and the mixture thickens and reduces by about half, 7 to 12 minutes. pour the mixture into a heat-safe container and let cool to room temperature. it will seem syrupy right out of the pan, but should be the consistency of a thick, sticky jam or marmalade when cool.
add the chopped chocolate to a heat-safe bowl. bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. whisk in the tahini.
spread a thin (1/8"-1/4"), even layer of the grapefruit marmalade (you may not use it all) onto the baked and cooled tart shell. pour the warm ganache over the top and smooth with an offset spatula. chill the tart until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight, before serving.
sprinkle with the smoked salt and cut the tart into thin slices. store leftovers in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. the jam will soften the tart shell over time.
chocolate tart shell
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/3 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
10 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 tb cold water, as needed
whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a bowl using a pastry blender, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. pulse to combine. add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. add the egg mixture and pulse until it is evenly distributed and the dough starts to hold together. it may appear to be a bit crumbly but should hold together easily when pressed. if the dough does not hold together when pressed, pulse in the water 1 teaspoon at a time.
lightly butter a tart pan and press the dough into the pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides with 1/8"-1/4" of dough. save a bit of dough just in case you have to repair any cracks after baking the shell. freeze the shell for 30 minutes.
preheat the oven to 375ºf and line the frozen shell with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down. bake the tart shell (no need for pie weights) until it is beginning to brown, about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake until the shell is completely cooked through. if the shell puffs up while baking, carefully use an offset spatula to gently press it back into the pan. repair any cracks that may have formed with the reserved dough. baked shells or unbaked dough will keep in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to three months. thaw in the refrigerator before filling baked shells or using unbaked dough.