Tahitian Vanilla Tart with Summer Fruits & Sweet Wine Glaze


It ain’t easy to start cooking after a Top chef. You can become self-conscious, nervous even! And you start questioning everything you do. Is it good enough? What is he going to think about this? Is he.. Is he gonna say.. c’est quoi cette merde!? Ahhhh! The ultimate insult! Well maybe i’m just nervous because i heard from some good sources that some heavy-hitters visited this blog to check out the last post. I won’t cite any names but let me put it this way: if this was a church, i could say that God literally walked-in last week. I wish i had known ahead of time so i could have at least vacuumed the damn place. So i played it pretty safe for this post and i was pleasantly surprised. I thought this Tahitian vanilla tart with a lei of summer fruits and a wine syrup came out nicely. Really delicious.

I chose to call it a Tahitian vanilla tart because all too often vanilla plays the supporting role in desserts. It’s about time we give it the main role. I could have called it a cheesecake but what sticks out the most when you bite into this baby is the floral and exotic character of the Tahitian vanilla. What come next is the creamy (unbaked) cheesecake filling followed by the graham crackers crust you all know so well. I don’t want to sound like i’m bragging but it even earned the #sexonaplate label on twitter. huh huh. Jealous yet?


I used a Kendall Jackson cabernet sauvignon to make a glaze, just added some sugar to it and a few star anise and let it reduce to a shiny syrupy glaze. I could have tossed the summer’s fruit bounty with the glaze before placing it on top of the tart but for aesthetic reasons and also because i don’t care, i did it that way.

Oh.. Did i just said i don’t care? No no.. i care! I really do!..  Now that the culinary Gods are watching.

  • Tahitian Vanilla Tart w/ Summer Fruits & Sweet Wine Glaze

    • Serves 8
  • tahitian-tart-4

    • For the crust:
    • 12 graham crackers
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
    • For the Tahitian vanilla filling:
    • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup creme fraiche
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla extract
    • 1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split & seed scraped. Keep the bean for wine syrup.
    • For the wine glaze & topping:
    • 2 cups cabernet sauvignon
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 star anise
    • reserved vanilla bean from filling
    • 2 cups mixed summer fruit, red currant, cherries, gooseberries, blueberries etc..
    • For the graham cracker crust:
  • Preheat oven to 350’F
  • Place the graham crackers (chunks) in the bowl of a food processor. Process until you obtain crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse a few times. Then drizzle the melted butter and process until the crust comes together. Press into a 9-inch tart pans or 8 individual tartelette pans.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cool completely.
  • For the Tahitian vanilla filling:
  • In a small bowl, place 1/4 cup heavy cream and sprinkle the gelatin over it to soften.
  • In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup heavy cream and the cream cheese to a simmer. Whisk until smooth.
  • Combine the cream cheese mixture with the gelatin mixture and whisk until smooth. Let it cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whip the creme fraiche, 1/2 cup heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract and pulp to soft peaks.
  • Fold the whipped cream mixture into the cooled cream cheese mixture in two additions.
  • Pour filling into the tart shell (make sure it’s cool) and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • For the wine glaze & topping:
  • Combine the wine, sugar, star anise and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and let it simmer until you obtain a syrupy glaze, about 45 minutes. Strain and cool.
  • When ready to serve, clean the fruit and arrange it nicely on top of the tart. Serve with the wine glaze drizzled on top or on the side. Enjoy!
  • tahitian-tart-2

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  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    Love the look of these!

  • http://rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    So yummy looking. Looks almost like the ones I got from Paris.

  • http://gratinee.wordpress.com Darina

    Fruit tarts are my favorite. And vanilla. Yum!The glaze is a nice touch.

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    Vanilla brings good memories to me, but fortunately we don’t have to import them anymore- vanilla beans are already grown in the Philippines. Hey, you don’t have to feel nervous cooking next to a Top Chef. Look at this dessert you created. So Top Chef. I love you.

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com Colloquial Cook

    Ahah, I bet you obsessively polished each single gooseberry with a mini cloth (“yeah, I don’t care” – MON OEIL! You tweezer-adjusted the fruits on the custard I can tell)The red currants are suspisciously shiny 😛

    Good job monsieur Zen :-) Tahiti should make you a honorary citizen. That should at least get you a free holiday at the beach.

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    I knew there was a good reason for the French to be in Tahiti!

    This is a perfect summer dessert, fruits, a custard and not too big..bravo Monsieur!

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom

    I really wished I had these tarts right now.

  • http://www.clumbsycookie.blogspot.com clumbsycookie

    I’m picturing you eating this in a speedo. Needless to say I won’t sleep tonight…

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    the proposal is on the table. was it really him, whom we spoke of the other day??!?! dites-moi que c’est vrai! can’t wait to take a bite out of ur food!

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Beautiful tarts! The wine glaze is perfect with the fruit too.

  • http://peachkitchen.blogspot.com peachkins

    what a pretty and elegant tart!

  • http://itsnotyouitsbrie.com Its Not You, it’s Brie

    i’ve earned #sexonaplate on twitter too. okay, i haven’t, and i’d totally brag, because this a sexy little vanilla number isn’t even stopped by the prudish British gooseberry on top. that’s topchef material.

  • margotr

    look delicious

  • http://happylovestrawberry.blogspot.com/ Indigo

    I’m totally with you on giving vanilla the starring role – I’m a huge fan! Sounds so delicious…

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    Stunning. I was fascinated to find out recently that the vanilla bean was in fact from the orchid family.

  • http://www.worldfoodieguide.com Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    I wish you were my private chef! I’d never even dare to attempt this, but it’s such a pretty tart and I love the look of the crust in particular…

  • http://sugareverythingnice.blogspot.com/ jo

    This tart looks absolutely delicious. I love the summery fruit decorations as well.

  • http://www.thecakedcrusader.blogspot.com the caked crusader

    I’m a total vanilla addict and these look as close to heaven as I could get without actually dying!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Hmm… Macarons Infinitely Vanille and now these beautiful tarts? I’d say you’d given them top billing for a while now! I don’t blame you at all- that aroma is divine. I was about to write that I’m jealous of your summer bounty, but then a ton of people would pounce on me for not taking advantage of my tropical harvest :) (And no, I do not harvest it myself…)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    maybe you are talking about me? i totally visited that post!

    ok, all kidding aside, i feel like i should’ve spell/grammar checked my comment if i knew “heavy hitters” would be checking out your post. ah well…

    anyways, back to that tart. damn, real vanilla turns cow balls into a tasty dessert. this looks exquisite.

  • http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com cakebrain

    I love the smell of real vanilla and it looks like a winner in your dessert!

  • http://www.ediblearrangements.com/Arrangements/Arrangements.aspx?ArrangementCategoryID=56 summer fruits

    oh looks absolutely delicious. I love the summery fruit decorations as well.

  • http://www.tavolini.blogspot.com Tavolini

    All right, Zen–your killing me over here! That looks fantastic! Would it be wrong to want this for breakfast??

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com Gloria

    This is really nice and beauty! xGloria

  • http://cooking-up-a-storm-zaayeka.blogspot.com/ navita

    wow personal tarts…I love all mini single desserts…n good luck with “god” visiting again :)

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    It’s not the dessert that’s sex on a plate, my dear…

  • http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com My Sweet & Saucy

    Looks absolutely delicious!

  • http://www.ediblearrangements.com/Arrangements/Arrangements.aspx?ArrangementCategoryID=56 summer celebrations

    wow quite interesting looks fantastic

  • http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)


  • http://jeenaskitchen.blogspot.com Chef Jeena

    This looks fabulous!

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com Ginny

    Looks great! I’ve been using Vanilla a lot more as the actually flavoring of a dish lately… it deserves to be in the spotlight more, as much as I love chocolate!

  • http://www.standingstraight.blogspot.com Claudia

    What a gorgeous summer dessert. Definitely going to make that one.

    I’ve got the vanilla vine growing on in my lemon tree, but never know when it flowers, or what the heck it’s doing up there. We’re propagating bits of it in other places though, so who knows, one day my own vanilla.

  • http://www,bigboysoven.com Big Boys Oven

    just pure awesome! :)

  • http://www.1001recettes.blogspot.com Claude-Olivier

    mais mais mais, cela fait une éternité que je n’ai pas vu tes billets, je ne comprends pas..bon je file,j’ai de la lecture en retard! bonne journée

  • http://constableslarder.com Giff

    love it! going to try making that wine glaze at some point.

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    Gimme Gimme Gimme!!! Puhleeeeze!!
    Si tu continue le bikini va virtuellement retrecir!!

  • http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com Emily

    Yum! This looks amazing and so fresh!

  • http://justcooknyc.blogspot.com/ justcooknyc

    love the photos

  • http://www.rachelschell.com rachel

    those look amazing! really love the photo.