Indian summer tartlettes

Recently, my friend and former culinary school compadre Felicia Friesema invited me over for some girl talk and a much needed catch up sesh. Fel is a a phenomenal cook (and rockin' host), so she offered to prep the dinner. My mouth being quicker than my mind, I offered to bring dessert.

In the past pastry has not been my forte. Not because they turn out disastrous, but simply because I don't have the patience. The precision always struck me as stunting. I've always approached the kicthen as a place where I can work as a whimsical alchemist, letting intuition be my guide. Baking just seems so formulaic. And let's just say I've had road blocks in the math department since the fifth grade.

But if there's one thing I'll bake for, it's gossip. So I headed where I always do when in a bind for a fool-proof pastry recipe: David Lebovitz. And his recipe for jam tarts did not disappoint. Lebovitz actually borrowed the idea for the tarts from Wednesday Chef. Deciding not to rest on his laurels, he  tweaked the crust, adding cornmeal to the traditional base.

Deciding not to rest on my own, I opted to make a fresh homemade fig and strawberry jam for filling. I also tweaked the recipe to be mini tartlettes, perfect for our dinner for two plus leftovers. And my lovely neighbor Sarah of Fruit and Flour pies lent me these adorable fall leaf pie crust cutters for a little extra flair. (Fel was cracking open her wine stash, after all.)

My favorite part of Lebovitz's recipe is that the dough requires no rolling out, and the crust is really lovely and flaky because of the cornmeal. I imagine that a little jam made from the coming season's persimmons would make a great filling, but use what you've got!

Head over to David's blog for the recipe.