Daily Dinner (and Dessert!) Idea: Olive Onion Tart and Crème Brûlée

Photo: The Fire Island Cookbook / World Wine Guys Photo: The Fire Island Cookbook / World Wine Guys

Today’s daily dinner (and delicious dessert) idea is a meal that allows you to feel good and do good. Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen — otherwise known as the World Wine Guys — are donating a portion of the proceeds on sales of their Fire Island Cookbook to charities that serve communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The cookbook draws inspiration from both the beach and the authors’ travels — reminding us how badly we miss the summer months.

If you’re looking to fill up and give back, try out the recipes below and purchase The Fire Island Cookbook here.

Provencal Black Olive and Onion Tart

Dough Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 teaspoon finely ground rosemary, 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into bits, 1 egg, 2 to 3 teaspoons ice water

Filling Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, 3 small Vidalia onions, coarsely diced, 3/4 cup pitted nicoise olives, 1/2 teaspoon ground black better, 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. To make the dough: Combine the flour, salt and rosemary in a bowl. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture looks like small bread crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Mix well with your hands and add ice water as necessary until the dough holds together. Remove the dough from the bowl and work into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough, as it can get “tough”. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into a buttered 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. To make the filling: Heat the oil in a skillet, then add the butter. Add the onions and cook until soft and light golden-brown. Add the olives, pepper and salt and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Set the filling aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chilled tart pan from the fridge, prick the bottom with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the filling evenly in the tart shell. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is golden in color, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove and place on a rack to cool.

Baked Crème Brûlée

Ingredients: 12 egg yolks, 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar together in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow. Whisk in the cream and vanilla, whisking until blended. Strain into another large bowl.

2. Slowly pour the mixture into eight5-ounce ramekins, being sure to skim off any bubbles. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan filled with 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water. Bake until set at the edges but still loose in the middle, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and chill for at least 2 hours. (May be made up to this point 2 days in advance.)

3. At serving time, sprinkle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar over each ramekin of crème brûlée. Use a small handheld torch to melt the sugar. (You can buy a torch at kitchen equipment stores just for this purpose.) If there is no torch in the house, borrow one from the folks next door, or just place the ramekins under the broiler until the sugar is melted.

TIP: Crème brûlée is French for “burnt cream,” but the sugar should crack like glass and still taste sweet. When melting the sugar on crème brûlée, you have to caramelize it to the point that it can be cracked with the tip or back of a teaspoon. If you want to practice before trying this out in front of dinner guests, test your technique on a ramekin of store-bought pudding or yogurt while nobody else is around.

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