Chef's Notes Plus

Alumni Spotlight: Erin McDowell

You may know her for her pies, or her helpful but relatable how-to videos, or maybe you just know her from Instagram, where you follow along for the occasional sighting of her little dog, Brimley! But here at the CIA, Erin McDowell is family, and like all of our alumni, […]


Blitz Puff Pastry

Makes 2 pounds of dough There are a few ways to make ultra-flaky puff pastry, but this one is the quickest (that’s why it’s called blitz!). The layers in puff pastry are a result of folding the dough four times. We included a photo at the end to show you what […]

Desserts, Free Recipes, Pies & Tarts

Boiled Apple Cider Custard Tart

Makes one 11-inch tart A classic northeast specialty typically made in pie form, but upgraded here to an elegant tart. Serve each slice with vanilla ice cream to offset the brightness of the apples. Pears can be easily substituted for the apple. To see how it’s done, check out this […]

Pies & Tarts

Chai Vanilla Tart

Makes one tart – 8-10 servings Tart Filling Ingredients 1/3 cup sugar 2 tbsp cornstarch 1 3/4 cups milk 1 egg 2 egg yolks 2 chai tea bags 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 tsp vanilla extract Ground cinnamon, as needed Sweetened whipped cream, for topping Directions In a medium bowl, […]

Pies & Tarts

Cornmeal Pastry Dough

Makes one disc, enough for one 9-inch single-crust pie This crispy cornmeal crust was developed to be used for both savory and sweet pies. It is especially good paired with stone fruit pies and galettes—just be sure to purchase a high-quality, stone-ground fine cornmeal for the best flavor. Ingredients 1 […]

Pies & Tarts

Erin McDowell’s Double-Crust Berry Galette

Makes one 10-by-5-inch galette This recipe comes from friend-of-the-CIA, Erin McDowell, a 2009 graduate of our Hyde Park, NY campus. Erin is now a food writer, recipe developer, and talented food stylist, especially well known for her beautiful pies! She has shared this amazing summer berry recipe from her first […]

Pies & Tarts

Rhubarb Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie Rhubarb is tart, but well-balanced by the oat crumble we’ve paired it with here. Some rhubarb stalks may be tender enough, but if your rhubarb has a thick outer membrane (you can tell by peeling a bit back with your fingers), you may want to remove […]


Rhubarb Tart

Makes 6 servings Tarte à la rhubarbe is a popular dessert in the Lorraine region of France. The temperature of the area and the soil type support the growth of this delicious vegetable, often mistaken for fruit. This recipe, prepared with store-bought puff pastry, is a snap to prepare. dessert […]


Tarte Tatin

Makes 6 servings Although Tarte Tatin seems quite elegant and, in some restaurants, liberties have been taken to fancy it up, it is really just a simple apple tart. Though fancy versions exist, we think that simpler is better. Remove all the bells and whistles and keep it simple—a good […]

Breakfast & Brunch, Main Dishes, Pies & Tarts

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Galette

Makes one 9-inch galette A galette is a free-form, rustic version of a tart with a savory or sweet filling. One of its main advantages is the ease and simplicity of preparation. For a particularly lovely and tasty presentation, select heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors. Ingredients Cornmeal Pastry […]