Posts tagged tart
Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

Okay, let's talk about the big news of the week... HAVE YOU SEEN CHIP AND JOANNA'S NEW TARGET LINE?! It's so cute. I want to give them all my money. I've been making a prop wish list for Christmas and it has essentially doubled. Ah, I need to buy more instant ramen. 

I haven't actually gone to Target yet though, just cyberstalking here. Why? Well it's like the plague has fallen on San Francisco. Sorry, I'm being dramatic. But riding the bus is like swimming in a germ pool. Gross. Reuben and I have both fallen victim to whatever cold is floating around, so we have the combined energy level of a 4th year architecture student the night before her final critique. That's pretty dire. But we are persevering! Just not going to Target or doing any outside activities anytime soon. 

Honestly, being forced to stay put, drink soup, and watch Netflix has been much needed. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to just slow down. Now I have a real excuse to sleep for 10 hours.

Alright, it's almost my new bedtime... 9pm. Should we talk about these mini cheesecakes?! This recipe was handed down to me at my last job. When I worked at BAR Architects there was this amazing woman, Lillian. She was a badass architect and knew everything you needed to know about building code. She was also the keeper of this amazing cheesecake recipe. Lillian's cheesecake was super light, just sweet enough, covered in fruity pineapple, and sooooo addictive. I sat right by the kitchen, so I would always be one of the first to know if Lillian plopped down her famous cheesecake. I would quickly scurry over for a slice before everyone else knew. Suckers. JK : )

When I left, I finally got her recipe! 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 

It turns out that Lillian's Cheesecake was actually called Betty's Cheesecake. LOL! And it is stupid easy to make. I believe the recipe was passed down to her from an old neighbor. You know its a great recipe if it keeps getting passed down from person to person. Food is so great isn't it? You know, Connecting people and all. I don't know who Betty is, but I'm really thankful that she passed it down to Lillian and then she passed it down to me! Now I'm passing it on to you! Does this make it Kristina's Cheesecake?

I've adjusted it just slightly. First of all, I miniaturized it. The recipe is originally meant for an 8" round or square pan, which you can still do, but there are many pros to making mini cheesecakes.

1. They bake quicker.

2. You don't need to worry about the surface cracking.

3. You can eat a whole mini cheesecake on your own.

4. They are easy to share with friends or you can hoard all of them in your freezer for when you're feeling like life is being a real bitch and you just need a damn mini cheesecake.

Also, who doesn't love those small cheesecake squares you can buy at Costco? Mini things are always good!

I also switched up the topping. It seemed a little off season to put pineapple on it so I decided to whip up some dreamy salted caramel instead. Can I get a faucet of salted caramel installed? OMG it's so good. You can honestly top it with whatever you like! Drained canned pineapple, peaches, berry compote, sour cream, or your favorite jam. Make it YOUR Cheesecake!

Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Cheesecake Materials:

1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers 

1/3 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp salt

16 oz cream cheese - room temperature 

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs - room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

Salted Caramel - I used this recipe!


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crumble your graham crackers in a food processor or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Combine crushed graham crackers with butter and salt, give it a good mix. 

2. Line the cupcake tins with liners and divide the crust mixture evenly between each cup. Pat down the mixture until firm.

3. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also use a stand mixer of course. The key to a smooth cheesecake is making sure the cream cheese is at room temperature.

4. Pour the cheesecake filling into each cupcake tin. Smooth out the tops with a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Remove the mini cheesecakes from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack. The cup-cheesecakes will poof and then deflate once cool, which make for perfect pools to pour the caramel into.

5. Pour the salted caramel over each mini cupcake and top with a generous sprinkle of flakey sea salt.

Stone Fruit Rose Tart

Alright, alright, alright. Before I really get started with this post, I'll say it. The Cavs lost. It's very hard to be a Clevelander in San Francisco these days. I did not cry this year though! In 2015, the Warriors won. I cried and had to immediately leave the watch party I was at because it was very hard for me to process my emotions. Everyone was so happy and popping champagne and I was a sad dumpling (a soup dumpling as Reuben likes to refer to me in my sad state). Then in 2016, The Cavaliers broke the curse!!! I cried because I was so happy and full of feelings for my home state. I was yet again the only Cavs fan in the house, but it didn't matter. I was filled with so much joy! This year... I was disappointed, but mostly just "meh". I'm just ready for everyone to stop gloating. 

Despite the unfortunate events of Monday evening, this week has been pretty bright and sunny! For me at least, poor Reuben is working a deadline and I feel like I've barely seen him 😔 .  On Tuesday I got to go to the grand opening party for the project I spent like 3 years working on at my last job. It is 2 mix-used residential buildings in San Mateo. People live in it now! And it's so so so crazy to see real people walking around the building and introducing themselves to their neighbors. It's like real live Sims!!! I was soaking up the experience and also stuffing my face with cheeseburger sliders, tuna poke, ceviche, and Tin Pot Creamery ice cream. I also stuffed my purse with some Blue Bottle iced coffee cartons. The inner old Chinese woman in me can't pass up free things. I also got to see some of my old coworkers, engineers, and contractors! Solid night.

It's hard to not be in a good mood when the weather is as beautiful as it's been. I'm a Leo, and I'm probably making this up, but I feel like I am powered by the sun. My mood and energy levels are so up! Give me all the vitamin D and 70+ temperatures! This weekend Reuben and I are heading out for a long hike and some sweet time out in nature. My Babes Brunch group is also meeting up this Sunday for a picnic edition in Golden Gate Park! I'm making the soba noodles from my last post and I can't wait to laugh until my cheeks hurt with some babes. On a supportive girlfriend note: I'm hearing such great life updates from my girlfriends all around the world that it makes my heart burst! So it's been hard not to feel sunny this week.

Should we talk about this sunny little fruit tart now? For the last couple weeks I've been seeing all the food bloggers that I envy making incredible buttercream flowers, flower cakes, flower cookies, so many flower sweets. To be honest, it intimidates me. I have very distant goals of being able to pipe buttercream roses and write "Happy Birthday Mom!" in frosting. Last weekend I had made it my goal to make a floral something. I can paint flowers with my eyes closed, so that should count for something right? I went to the Clement Street Farmers Market, as I do every week, and picked some sweet plums and peaches for a tart. I brought them home and took a deep breath. Am I being dramatic? Turns out, this floral tart is really not that hard. If you have a sharp knife and a peaceful mind, making these fruit roses was actually quite relaxing. This fruit tart is such a pretty and delicious dessert. It's sweet and brightly acidic. I won't tell anyone if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.

It sort of looks like a pepperoni pizza though in the post oven pictures, doesn't it? I noticed while I was editing the photos and now I can't un-see it lol. Eh, I ain't mad about that. 

Stone Fruit Rose Tart

1 - 11" tart


1 1/2 C + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 C + 1 tsp sugar

1/4 C vegetable oil

1/4 C olive oil

2 tsp milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

5-6 small ripe stone fruits (peaches, plums, pluots, etc)


1. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just until it starts to come together. Then, transfer the dough to an 11-inch tart pan. Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge.

2. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine granules and tiny pebbles. Set aside.

3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

4. Cut and pit your stone fruit of choice. Make sure to maintain either quarter or half segments of your fruit. Cut into thin slices, about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. You don't want them paper thin because they need structure to maintain the rose shape. Keep your slices in segments, this will make forming the roses easier. You can get about 2 small roses out of a 1/4 segment. Take a few adjacent slices and gently pinch them into a long segment, make sure the slices are still touching. Then slowly curl on end of the slices and form a rose. Place in your tart dough and gently push down to keep it in place. Repeat until the tart is full. Alternatively, you could also lay out the slices into whatever pattern your heart desires!

5. Once the tart is full of fruit, sprinkle your sugar mixture over the fruit. Take in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown and the fruit is juicy. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Tree Collard, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Tartlets + City Slicker Farm

Farm Snaps

Happy weekend everybody! The weather people are predicting rain in San Francisco over the weekend : ( hopefully it's only a light drizzle and won't damper my sight-seeing plans with my dear friend Michael! I love having friends visit, it allows me to be a tourist in my own city and forces me to not be a hermit painting radishes all day.

I wanted to share with you all one of the best afternoons I've had in a really long time. Like I said, I've been hiding out too much at my apartment on the weekends working on watercolors and recipes for the blog. So last weekend it was really great to get out in the sun and be surrounded by vegetables IRL and pretty chickens! I was in heaven. I couldn't handle it. I organized a volunteering event at City Slicker Farms for my firm. It is an amazing urban farm located in West Oakland. We cut down a huge patch of Fava plants and cut them into the ground for new planting, cut grass to feed the chickens, planted baby spinach and tree collards, rebuilt and fortified a trellis for sweet peas (perfect job for Reuby!), and transported a ton of manure. To be honest I volunteered for the low impact jobs like cutting grass for the chickies and planting tree collards... I know myself. Reuben obviously volunteered for the high impact heavy duty work, cutting down Fava, trellis building, shoveling manure...

In between tasks, I ended up just floating around the farm playing with the chickens (I have about 8,674,524,576 photos of chickens on my phone now), staring at all the gorgeous vegetables, chatting with the neighbors, and eating the free farm samples. Again, I WAS IN HEAVEN. The farm was really a community gathering spot. In addition to the farm, it has a playground, bbq area, demo kitchen, and adorable farm stand. It was literally something I would have loved to design in architecture school. The amount of community energy there was invigorating. I loved seeing all the families, especially the little kiddos running around the garden and climbing mountains of mulch.

The farm manager, Joseph, was just a joy to work with. He was full of so much humor and knowledge about all things agricultural, plus more I'm sure. He taught me the history of the Tree Collards and how easily it can grow. It's the official vegetable of Richmond, CA! When people were migrating from the South to Northern California during WWII they were able to cut the woody stocks, travel with them, and then plant them right in the ground of where they settled and have sweet hearty greens to eat once they proprogate. I ate a few leaves right there and they were surprisingly sweet, I could have continued snacking on them. By that point I was starving and ready to head to Drake's Dealership for a beer and a personal pizza, so I saved the Tree Collards for later.

Reuben mentioned how the greens would be great with some sweet caramelized onions while in the car ride home. It was settled! We were going to make Tree Collard, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tartlets, with Gruyere! That's a long name. This could easily be made into one big impressive tart if you're having a dinner party or fancy brunch at home. I like the idea of mini tarts because you can throw a leftover tart in your backpack in the morning before you sprint to catch the express bus. I'm all about that.

I'm so excited to send this recipe to Joseph, I hope I make him proud with my use of Tree Collards! : )

Tree Collard, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tartlets

makes 8 mini tarts or 1 large tart

Materials :

1 1/2 C Chopped Tree Collards (any hearty green will work too)

2 Medium Onions

5 oz Goat Cheese

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

Salt + Pepper

1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry (defrosted)

Gruyere Cheese

Steps :

  1. Peel and slice your onions into 1/4" slices. Pour olive oil into your pan or skillet and heat to medium heat. Not too hot! Add onions to skillet, season with a pinch of salt and pepper,  and cook over medium to medium low heat until caramelized. About 45-55 mins. Stir occasionally. Add a little bit more oil or turn down the heat if the onions start to char.
  2. While your onions are caramelizing, wash and chop your tree collards. Set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Place goat cheese in another small bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and thyme. Mix with a spoon. Set aside.
  4. Once onions are caramelized, place in a small bowl and let cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, layout the sheet of defrosted puff pastry. Cut sheet into 8 equal rectangles and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Top each tartlet with a layer of goat cheese first, then the tree collards, and finally the caramelized onions. Leave a 1/2" border around each tartlet.
  7. Cook in the oven for 20 mins. Take out and shave gruyere over the tartlets and put back in the oven for an additional 5-10 mins until golden brown and crispy.
  8. Take out, let cool, and enjoy!