21 Aug2007


I woke up early yesterday knowing that there was a small dinner planned on my birthday. Best I could figure, my roomate from college 20+ years ago and his wife were guests, as well as a good friend from the days we lived in Jakarta 15+ years ago. So I thought it was a reunion of old and dear friends and I figured Mrs. MM was going to cook a simple pasta dish and we could all catch up on old times. But up at 6 a.m., I noticed there was little or no activity in the kitchen at all, and I was wondering what the dinner menu would include if the ham wasn’t even soaked yet, and there was no serious prep work in progress in the kitchen. Not knowing what the dinner menu would be, I decided to make several desserts, after all, what better day to eat whatever you feel like with a minimum of guilt… First up, I made a classic apple pie, using a tried and true recipe that I first learned from my sister 30+ years ago, and have since made hundreds of pies over the decades. It always sells at the dessert buffet and I figured friends who have known me for 20+ years would appreciate some pie, the way I have always made it…


The night before I had prepared several batches of pate sucre or tart dough and a variation called an almond shortbread dough. Therefor, I had enough dough in stock to make several tarts. But I hadn’t made up my mind which tarts to make. I decided to bake all morning and try and get out of the kitchen by noon so that dinner preparations would not be disturbed. The first tart that I made was a plum tart with lots of ground almonds and cinnamon and butter and eggs. I used a mixture of black and red plums that I purchased days earlier and ripened myself on the kitchen counter. This dessert turned out well and though the plums weren’t the finest (say a 7 out of 10), the overall taste I was striving for was reasonably achieved. Just before serving, The Kid sprinkled the outer edge of this tart with copious amounts of powdered confectioner’s sugar and it looked stunning. The incredible color of the plum skins leeching onto the surface of the pie also made this a visual hit.


With several pounds of 60% Valrhona chocolate still in stock, I chopped up 16 oz worth and made three chocolate tarts a la Payard. As with the apple pie, this is a staple in our home for special events and this recipe always yields a terrific, simple and delicious tart. I have previously posted the recipe on this blog, and I return to it again and again. What would a dessert buffet be without chocolate of some sort? And miraculously, no added sugar in the chocolate filling, but please, do not attempt this unless you have really good chocolate to begin with! Serve this warm, with whipped cream or ice cream, yum!


Lemon tarts are another favorite of mine, and as with the chocolate tart, this recipe is simple and results in a fantastic acidic but flavorful tart that is easier to make than most tart recipes. I was also planning to make a Dayap Pie a la Marketman but just ran out of steam. A dayap tart would have been a nice counterpoint to the chocolate and a great dessert beside the lemon version. The color of this lemon tart was brilliant. I took the suggestion of one cookbook and glazed this with apricot preserve but it looked better WITHOUT the glaze. You can also sprinkle confectioner’s sugar for added visual appeal.


Last but not least, The Kid staggered half-awake into the kitchen at around 10 am and said she wanted to make a dessert so she almost single-handedly created these pecan boats. Patterned after the desserts filled with crushed pili nuts, she made the boats from leftover dough and then we made a simple chopped pecan and caramel concoction that she filled the boats with and baked for say 10 minutes. These were an absolute hit. Just enough pecan taste but not overwhelmingly rich. Brilliant with ice cream or a hot cup of tea. So all in all, we made 5 desserts for that evening. And we could have made several others. We shelved a fresh fruit tart with grapes, nectarines, green and yellow kiwis, etc. We served a huge bowl of fresh fruit instead… Now wait till you see what “simple” meal Mrs. MM and The Kid had arranged for dinner BEFORE these desserts!



  1. tings says:

    Haayyyy, nakakagutom! I can’t wait for the next post!

    Aug 21, 2007 | 9:24 pm


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  3. Robin says:

    Oh my gosh pie! This makes me wish I had an oven.

    Aug 21, 2007 | 9:43 pm

  4. Apicio says:

    Faced with all of these riches I’d probably vacillate between the a tiny wedge of lemon tart and a pecan boat.

    Aug 21, 2007 | 9:52 pm

  5. elaine says:

    Sighhhh……….just love a good apple pie and lemon pie but unfortunately never tasted them here. A favorite is tarte au sucre or sugar pie which I tasted back in Montreal (wonder if they have a version here or YOU may have one)…it’s something I’m so willing to make a crust/dough for but checking out your recipe for apple pie is not so intimidating to make. I also love the idea of the kid making pecan boat tarts rather than the usual pecan bars(which i love to make, btw). Thank you for sharing, sana nga magtayo ka na ng cafe so we too could enjoy real and good food…:)

    Aug 21, 2007 | 10:26 pm

  6. mila says:

    That’s a dessert party unto its own! Tart and bright yellow, velvety dark black chocolate tart, and the nubbly texture of the pecan boats.

    Aug 21, 2007 | 11:11 pm

  7. rhea says:

    recipes please!!!! itsura pa lang masarap na…

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:09 am

  8. Marghi says:

    I must say that the tarts look absolutely gorgeous in the photos and in some strange way, even if I may not have had the chance to taste them, the pictures seem to suggest that the crusts could indeed be heavenly…ooh, but that lemon tart seems oh sooooooooooo tart…with globs of cream, that would be absolute heaven!!!! The plum tart looks absolutely magical too…even if you are right about the quality of tarts that find their way to our shores….the exercise of letting them ripen on your kitchen counter would be the only way to have them at their best and have them look as good as they do in the photo…more baking power MM

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:38 am

  9. allen says:

    These tarts look marvelous! More than good enough to grace the covers of food magazines and recipe books ;)I wanna swim in the lemon tart. Nice touch there, contrasting the blue and yellow!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:07 am

  10. brenda says:

    I really love The Kid and I’m really impressed with her abilities. How old is she?

    Those pecan boats looks wonderful and yummy. So are so darn lucky for having The Kid.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:16 am

  11. dhayL says:

    These desserts alone are wonderful, i can’t wait to see what Mrs.MM and The Kid had prepared for dinner! You are one lucky father and a husband i must say! :)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 5:47 am

  12. smiles4angels says:

    Maybe I have to go back to sleep and stagger in the kitchen half awake, maybe then I could make a great dessert. :) But wait, have to fill up my tummy first.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 6:59 am

  13. Pebs says:

    That lemon tart looks incredibly good! Hope you can post the recipe. I tried the kalamansi muffins over the weekend and now I’m addicted – can’t stop eating them!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:01 am

  14. SimplePleasures says:

    MM belated Happy Bithday! lovely desserts would have love to have been invited :)

    My question id how did you make the lemon tart looks so yellow??? It looks so different from what I make.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:05 am

  15. Marketman says:

    Simplepleasures, I will have to post the recipe for lemon tart soon, it amazed me as well, that is the natural color of the dessert… smiles4angels, I miss the days I “staggered” anywhere… brenda, The Kid is 11, going on 21, if you know what I mean. allen, the lemon tart was my favorite along with the pecan boats…

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:37 am

  16. sonia says:

    Those pecan boats remind me of the cashew or pili nut tarts of one of my Lola’s. She made it the Kapampangan way so you can imagine how rich, buttery, and creamy they were. I even remember the way they smelled through the cellophane wrapping :)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 11:07 am

  17. Christine says:

    I LOVE lemon tarts, and yours looks perfect! Sorry I missed your birthday, have been out of town. Looks like it was celebrated well. Happy Birthday! :)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 11:12 am

  18. Candygirl says:

    I love desserts. I wish I was invited :-)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:23 pm

  19. chick says:

    oh god.. the pecan boat tarts and apple pie looks soooo yummy!! i want one. haha! happy bday!

    Aug 24, 2007 | 9:47 am


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