Once Upon a Tart...: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More

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9780375413162: Once Upon a Tart...: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More

A cookbook in the tradition of The Silver Palate and The Barefoot Contessa . . .

In New York City, famous for its food and restaurants, locals are reverential about the bakeshop and café Once Upon a Tart. For more than a decade, they have been lining up at the store mornings and afternoons, waiting patiently for their signature scones, muffins, soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies, and—of course—tarts. And pretty much since the day the café opened, patrons have been asking—sometimes begging—the proprietors for their sweet and savory recipes. Good news: the wait is over.

In Once Upon a Tart, the café’s founders and co-owners, Jerome Audureau (a New Yorker via France) and Frank Mentesana (a New Yorker via New Jersey), go public with their culinary secrets (“We don’t have any,” says Frank. “That’s our biggest secret of all”) and recipes. They also tell their inspiring success story, from selling tarts wholesale out of a warehouse in Long Island City to opening their now-famous outpost in Soho.

In nine delicious chapters ranging from savory tarts to cookies, the authors instruct and advise home cooks on everything from how to make the flakiest tart crust (“keep the dough cold”) to making sandwiches (“condiments are key”) to how to diet (“you want half the calories, eat half the scone”). Once Upon a Tart is packed with more than 225 easy-to-prepare recipes, including all the store classics that have earned Frank and Jerome the devotion of their customers: Caramelized-Leek-and-Celery Tart, Creamy Carrot Soup with Fresh Dill, Pork Loin Sandwich with Frisée and Rosemary-Garlic Aioli, Buttermilk Scones with Dried Currants, Banana–Poppy Seed Muffins, and Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Crisp Topping.

Says Frank, “We believe that deep down, everyone is a cook.” Adds Jerome, “And that a little butter in your life is a good thing.”

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Review:

Once Upon a Tart offers 225 recipes from the eponymous Manhattan shop, which, in addition to sweet and savory tarts, prepares delicious soups, salads, and muffins. Both book and shop are the work of business partners Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau, whose Soho store has flourished for almost a decade, providing notable quality while expanding tart-consciousness. Among the tart recipes, particularly winning are the Zucchini Tart with Curried Custard and Dried Currants; Roasted Ratatouille Tart with Herbes de Provence; Chocolate Pear Tart; and Jerome's Mother's Famous Almond Tart, a melt-in-your mouth confection. Equally good are the recipes for sandwiches, such as pork loin with frisée and rosemary-garlic aïoli; soups, including black-bean-and-pumpkin with cinnamon and ginger; scones, like honey caramel; and quick breads and cookies, such as Apple-Cranberry Muffins and Rosie's Peanut Butter Cookies.

What makes the book especially worthy is its instructive approach. The recipes themselves contain useful technical guideposts (the authors zero-in on desirable unbaked dough texture--"just past crumbly, but still holding together"), and there are many illuminative asides, both personal and to-the-point ("'Each variation on an ingredient changes the taste and texture of the cookie,' says Frank--this kind of thing excites him," is one). With its attention to the personal, the book is also something of an autobiography à deux, and readers will enjoy getting to know the authors, one very French, one solidly American. Illustrated with color photos, and with useful notes on equipment and fundamental processes, such as How to Deal with Eggplant, the book should please bakers at all skill levels. --Arthur Boehm

From the Back Cover:

Once Upon a Tart is a treasure, chock full of wonderful stories, useful cooking tips, and pages and pages of mouth-watering recipes. A delightful addition to any cookbook collection.”
-- Nina Simonds, author of A Spoonful of Ginger

Once Upon a Tart is the kind of book I can’t get enough of: fun, unfussy, and full of helpful cooking tidbits. When I open the book I feel as if I have walked into Frank and Jerome’s café. It's a marvelous place to visit, both in person and in these pages.”
-- Joan Nathan

Once Upon A Tart is a magical collection of recipes that will quickly lead you into the kitchen to start cooking and baking.”
-- Marion Cunningham

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Frank Mentesana; Jerome Audureau
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