Once upon a Tart...: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More from New York City's Favorite Bakeshop and Cafe
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Once upon a Tart...: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More from New York City's Favorite Bakeshop and Cafe

by Frank Mentesana, Jerome Audureau
     
 
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,

Overview

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.”

Editorial Reviews

T. Susan Chang
[T]he book stands as a small, tasty tribute to a craft worth mastering.—The Boston Globe
Publishers Weekly
Once Upon a Tart, a charming cafe in New York's SoHo, was founded by two refugees from hotel management intent on a dream. Audureau, who ran a tarterie in Avignon, France, his home town, saw that New York had not discovered this French lunch delight the savory tart, with its accoutrements of salads and the finish of a sweet. Jersey-born Mentesana learned to cook from his Italian grandmother. The cafe chefs add unusual twists to traditional recipes for example Zucchini Tart with Curried Custard and Dried Currants and Chickpea-Tomato Soup with Fresh Rosemary. Zestful loving touches, such as Tomato Chutney with Golden Raisins as a spread for sandwiches, are what make this book and the cafE a standout. In chatty, accessible style, Audureau and Mentesana explain everything from blanching vegetables to how to cool tart crust and how to make apricot glaze for sweet tarts. The cafE's regulars will be ecstatic to have this generous offering of recipes for their favorite tarts, scones, tea breads, and cookies, such as My Mother's Are Better Ginger Cookies and the Chocolate-Pecan French-Style Macaroons. Each section, from salads to condiments, is carefully presented and full of ideas and hints. The lunchbox-size book (9 x 7) and lovely photos make for a cozy, lighthearted presentation. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Audureau, who had an earlier tarterie in his native France, and Mentesana, who grew up in New Jersey, opened their shop in New York City's SoHo some ten years ago, when the now-trendy neighborhood was still somewhat off the beaten path. Their original menu featured only tarts, both sweet and savory, but over the years they've added to their repertoire delicious muffins and other quick breads, soups and sandwiches, salads, and cookies. Most of their recipes are easy to prepare, and the instructions, like the readable headnotes and the dozens of helpful tips scattered throughout, are written in a conversational style. Mouthwatering full-page color photographs add to the appeal of the book. For most collections. [Good Cook Book Club selection.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375413162
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/22/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Shamey's Crisp Topping
makes one 9-inch tart

When Frank was growing up, there was an annual backyard party given by his neighbors. "It was the kind of event where you were sure to see people you hadn't seen since the same party the year before. And that you wouldn't see again until next year's party." Frank particularly looked forward to the strawberry-rhubarb crisp brought every year by a woman named Shamey. Shamey gave Frank the recipe from which he created this tart.

1 pint strawberries, stems removed and berries cut in quarters
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, rinsed, leafy ends removed, and cut into 1/2-inch slices; or tart apples, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 par-baked Flaky Tart Crust
1 recipe Shamey's Crisp Topping

1. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a big bowl. Dump this mixture into your par-baked tart shell and spread it out evenly. Using your fingers, sprinkle Shamey's topping over the fruit, taking care to cover its entire surface area, especially around the edges.
3. Place the tart on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until you see fruit juices bubbling up through the topping and down around the sides of the tart. You may want to place a baking sheet under the tart to catch any spilled juices.
4. Remove the tart from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly.
5. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a wide can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced, then slide the outside ring of pan down off the tart. Move the tart to your work surface, and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a rimless serving dish or cutting board. We love this tart fresh from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Shamey's Crisp Topping
makes about 2 cups (enough for a one 9-inch tart)

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 ounces (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Dump the flour and the brown sugar into the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until they're just integrated. Add the butter all at once, and use the pulse button to cut butter into flour. Stop pulsing when mixture is the texture of moist crumbs.
2. Remove the blade from the food processor, and dump the crumbs into a big bowl. Add the oats and nuts. Work them into the crumbs with your fingers until the topping is stuck together in big clumps. It should not be one whole ball of dough but more like.... well, like crisp topping. Only not cooked.

Meet the Author

Frank Mentesana has spent ten years as owner of Once Upon a Tart. He is the creator of several cooking curricula for children and has recently broadened his involvement with food to include food styling, photography, and gardening. He holds a degree in hotel management and met partner Jerome Audureau while working as a food and beverage director for the French Accor Hotel Group. Frank learned to cook from his Italian grandmother and learned to love food during long forays through markets with his father. His proudest achievement by far is his son, Matthew. Frank lives in New Jersey.

Jerome Audureau grew up in Avignon, France. While running a summer business as part of his studies at Maxine’s Hotel and Restaurant School in Paris, he developed an idea for a café dedicated to tarts. He brought this idea with him when he came to the United States, and, along with partner Frank Mentesana, made it into Once Upon a Tart. After ten years, Jerome is still responsible for running the café, remembering which customer likes which cookie, and generally making people feel good. Jerome lives in Long Island City.

Carolynn Carreño is a writer living in New York City.

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