Visit our new website at!crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, and a form of pie. It is traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the jam/marmalade filling, creating a more “rough” look, rather than a uniform, circular shape. The jams that are traditionally used as a filling are cherries, peaches, apricots, berries. The crostata can also be filled with pieces of fresh fruit and pastry cream (crema pasticcera), but then it is called torta di frutta. A typical central Italian variety replaces jam with ricotta mixed with sugar, cocoa or pieces of chocolate and anisetta; this is called crostata di ricotta.

These are easy rustic forms of pies filled with YOUR favorite fillings. They can be made ahead of time, wrapped securely and frozen for use at a later time.

“Meatless Monday”

Visit our new website at!Coconut and Macadamia Tart with Chive Chevre

8 oz. sugar

1-pound butter, unsalted

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 yolk

Pinch of salt

2 oz. coconut, grated

2 oz. Macadamia nuts

Tart pans

Pan spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place macadamia nuts on cookie sheet in oven for fifteen minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool. Coarsely chop nuts and set aside. Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients to creamed mixture until well incorporated. Wrap in plastic. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove and roll out to a little less than ¼ inch. Spray tart pans and cut dough to fit tart pans. Dock (prick) and weight dough (prevents bubbles from forming in pan). Bake until golden brown edges 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Store in airtight container.

Chive Chevre

8 oz. log of Chevre cheese

2 tbsp. chives, minced

piping bag

Remove chevre from refrigerator and allow to soften. Mix in chives when chevre has softened and place in piping bag. Pipe in shell just before serving.

Plating/Serving Suggestions: Place filled tart shell on top of 2 ounces of baby greens. Serve with rocket greens and baby red arugula (which is a peppery green widely available in the herb section of finer markets.)

“Classroom Chatter”

This week is the week of kiddos!

I had completely forgotten what it’s like to have spring break.  It’s been so many years since I looked forward to a week without school buses and lunch boxes.  Oh but seeing these kids I remember how much fun a week of freedom can be!

It’s been wonderful; mornings at the culinary center are usually quiet, I sneak in, make some coffee, and settle in to some emails.  Sometimes we have an Italian class, or a team builder but they’re full of sleepy adults with toasty cups of coffee.  Not this week! We’ve had energetic kids who are used to waking up at the crack of dawn in here keeping us all lively.  They’ve been making artistic creations with baked goods so far, it’s wonderful to see what an unfettered mind will think of to make out of dough and sprinkles!

They’re all so eager to learn too, it’s great to see how excited they get when making cookies; I remember that feeling, when we’d make and decorate cookies as a family.  It’s wonderful to see that excitement live on; what a wonderful feeling to create something! I’d better get some rest though; we’ve got more junior chefs the rest of the week.

Rachel Ciordas

“Dean of Deliciousness”

Manager of Culinary Curriculum

Quinoa-Oat Crumble Topping

Visit our new website at!

This topping can be used to make any number of delicious, gluten-free crumbles.

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa flour (grind quinoa in a spice mill to make the flour)
1/3 cup unrefined turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Place the oats, quinoa flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the grain mix. The mixture should have a crumbly consistency.

2. Spread the topping over the parchment-covered baking sheet in an even layer. Place in the oven, and bake 10 minutes. Rotate the pan front to back, stir the mixture and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool. You can keep this in the freezer for several weeks in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Yield: Makes a little over 2 cups, enough for one crumble serving eight made in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

Nutritional information per serving: 194 calories; 10 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 23 milligrams cholesterol; 23 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 101 milligrams sodium; 3 grams protein


Class Extraordinaire

I was just reviewing next weeks classes and want to really shout out this one:

Full-Day Master Class on Baking.
“Hands-On” Class. You will spend the day learning the art of baking with  professional chef and excellent instructor, Chef Cody Hogan (Lidia’s Kansas City). You will   learn the principles, techniques and skills as you participate in …
and baking a wide variety of baked goods
Also on the agenda:
selection and handling of yeast, flour and other ingredients
measuring techniques
equipment usage
foccacia and flatbreads
tart dough (for a free form fruit tart)
Almond Cake
Tiella (stuffed pizza)
Breadsticks … and more!
Bring a couple of containers to class because you’ll be taking home some of your handmade creations. (Tasting & lunch)

This is not an inexpensive class but it is absolutely one that is worth every cent.
Scheduled class time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.