Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brandied Apricot Ginger Marzipan Tart & Pie Party Potluck NYC

I honestly can't believe it took me so long to attend this. The third annual Pie Party Potluck was held last week and it was a blast. 

The event was held at the GE Monogram Design Center. A gorgeous space that included several kitchen areas. A side note:  Sorry for my appliance A.D.D. but I fell in love with this fridge. If I could have fit it in my swag bag, I would.

Beautifully, expertly organized by Jackie Gordon (The Diva That Ate NY) and Ken (The Hungry Rabbit), primarily food bloggers attended this event. 

Every attendee had to bring a pie of course. Tickets were opened up at the last minute to non-blogger food industry friends and colleagues. The event photos were all taken with my iphone so please excuse the quality.

The generous sponsors were the design center, Kerrygold, Jarlsberg, Wüsthof, Dub Pies, Anolon, HCP Dishes and Woolrich Dairy.  

There was a fun game organized by the sponsors. Tweet out a picture of their product with properly hashtagged and you were automatically entered to win a gift package from that sponsor.

Kerrygold,  Woolrich  and Jarlsberg all put out sumptuous  spreads to sample. And Dub Pies sent a cutie of a chef who warmed up these little treats and served them all evening.

Chef Tejere who really should have her own TV show, was extremely funny and informative. She demonstrated a lovely chicken pot pie and I learned useful tips regarding my nemesis, pie crust. Hello? Adding vinegar to the crust and rolling out the dough between two greased pieces of parchment paper!

The pies, oh the pies. They ranged from sweet to savory to gluten free. Some even came with shots of liquor.

The creativity and love that was put into each shell was wonderful to see. 

On the "onyourmarkgetsetgo" signal from Jackie, everyone went to town eating the pies. 

I had a blast hanging out with dynamo Vicki Winters (The Vicki Winters Show) and FINALLY got to meet and have some fun with the fabulous  The Kitchen Gaily's, Michael Muñoz. 

Both brought eye catching pies. 

Vicki's delicious Broccoli Bacon Four Cheese Quiche was huge and delectable and Michael's Mac-n-Cheese Pie with a Bacon Weave on top was epic. WORK that weave gurrl.

Admittedly, I stressed over my contribution for two reasons. First, pie crust is not my friend. I had yet to make a perfect one. Two, there was the pressure of coming up with a unique idea amongst a sea of talented bloggers. This was not a competition, it was a potluck event but I wanted to present a dynamo flavor combination. 

I spent the weekend before the event flipping through my cookbooks, both German and American. One recipe that caught my eye  was a French marzipan tart, March Pane Tarte of Apricox in a lovely book called Festive Tarts by Sylvia Thompson that I scored for 50 cents at a local thrift store. I was looking in Germany and ended up in France. Wasn't the first time that happened.

Finally, because I kept returning to it, I committed myself to the recipe, to tweaking it for the final product and was eventually satisfied it would be a nice contribution to the party. 

Then I went shopping for fresh apricots. Ugh.

I searched high and low and was repeatedly told they were out of season. (I'm looking at you Trader Joe's staff.) Eventually, I had a hunch to visit a favorite fruit and vegetable store near my mom on Long Island and SCORE! I found beautiful ripe ones from California. 

So I was on my way to pie. I also had the foresight to pack up the bottle of ginger brandy that was hanging out in our Pennsylvania house, along with some other relevant ingredients (ginger and almond extracts, apricot jam, ginger powder) and brought it all back to the city in anticipation.

The pie was carefully made step by step, the crust first, then the filling, the fresh apricot topping and glaze. Recipe is at the end of this post. The best part was the pie crust, thanks to a coating of apricot jam to seal it from becoming soggy and a plethora of pie weights, foil wrapped around the crust to prevent it from burning turned out PERFECT! I was over joyed. The finished pie was beautiful until I got on the subway.

Someone kicked my pie. I know that didn't sound right, Dirty even. But someone did kick my apricot pie on the 6 train. When I got to the center, even though I had so carefully packed it, I discovered the filling had spilled over the side. Of course this revelation happened just as they were asking me to take a picture with it on the red carpet in front of the step and repeat. Fabulous.

The beautiful marzipan crust that formed during baking was all busted but I managed to do a little surgery on it, scraping it back together and it looked different, but ok for the picture.

I left the party stuffed from tasting all the wonderful creations, a bit happier from the beautiful wines served clutching a swag bag full of  beautiful and delicious gifts.

Is it too early to sign up for next year?

Brandied Apricot Ginger Marzipan Tart
(Adapted from March Pane Tarte of Apricox from Festive Tarts by Sylvia Thompson, Chronicle Books, San Fransisco, 1996)

For the ginger crust:


  • 1+2/3 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 rounded 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ginger extract
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves


  • Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together liquid ingredients, pour over the butter mixture and pulse until just combined.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface.
  • Fraisage - Pinch off walnut size pieces of the dough and using the heel of your hand, spread the dough into a thin layer on the work surface. Repeat until you have done this with all the dough.
  • Scrape the dough back together, pat into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour.
  • Remove from fridge, unwrap and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough and press it into a 9 inch round pan. crimp the edges or press evenly into the sides of the pan.
  • Trim excess dough and place the pan in freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Remove from freezer and brush the crust with the apricot preserves.
  • Place a few sheets of wax paper on top of the preserves, making sure the sides of the wax paper overlap the sides of the pan.
  • Fill pan with pie weights, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
  • Use the overlapping wax paper to lift out the pie weights.
  • Return to oven and bake 5 more minutes.
  • Cool in the pan.

For the Apricot Ginger Brandy Marzipan filling:


  • 8 tablespoons butter room temperature and cut into small pieces.
  • 1+3/4 cup powdered sugars
  • 1 XL egg
  • 1 tablespoon egg white
  • 5 tablespoons ginger brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 cup almond flour - lightly toasted in oven.
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons fine dried plain bread crumbs or unsalted cracker crumbs.
  • 10-12 fresh apricots cut in half and pit removed.


  • Whisk together the toasted almonds and cornstarch and set aside.
  • Cream together butter and confectionary sugar until fluffy.
  • Add the following, one at a time until combined - egg, egg white, brandy and almond extract.
  • Wrap mixture in bowl and refrigerate until chilled - 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Assemble and bake the tart:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place shell still in it's pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle the bread or cracker crumbs in the pie shell
  • Gently smooth the filling into the shell.
  • Arrange the fresh apricots on top of the filling.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake about 30 minutes more or until a golden brown crust has formed on top.
  • Remove from oven and glaze below.

For the Apricot Ginger Brandy Glaze:


  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup ginger brandy
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger cut into small pieces


  • In a small sauce over a low heat warm up the apricot preserves and brandy together.
  • Pour over the tart and sprinkle with the pieces of crystallized ginger.
  • De-pan the pie and serve.


  1. Great post. Bonus points for mentioning how great I am.....

  2. Stunning post!!! Thanks so much for coming and bringing your beautiful pie -- good job with the surgery. I only wish I'd been able to taste. There was a bit of surgery going on. When I went to remove the outer ring on my tart, the crust had melted because I used a blow torch on the filling (PHYSICS -- why didn't I think of that?). I gently replaced the ring and let the crowd figure it out. LOL!

    Nice to have a face to go with the hilarious Twitter handle and blog name.

    Hope to see you again.


  3. This event looks like a blast to attend (not to mention the place to go to feast both your eyes and your tummy) I'm sorry that someone kicked your amazing pie on the way but your *surgery* on it seemed to work wonderfully as it looks no worse for wear in your red carpet photo. Both you and your pie look great! Glad you had fun and I'm looking forward to your post on this event next year!


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