A pomegranate tart in deep crimson, coconut ice cream in off-white, an apricot pie in bright orange: when cooking, Emilie Guelpa is as inspired by Pantone colours as she is by flavours. The 26 year-old Parisian food blogger – whose beautiful website Griottes is testimony both to her cooking passion as well as her parallel careers as art director and web designer – has just published her latest book. Rainbow Tarts brings together 50 recipes for thoroughly original sweet and savoury tarts inspired by the colour chart – from black truffle and egg to rose and lychee. Here, Emily shares four of her favourite recipes and tells AnOther about her love of food and colour.
What inspired you to start your blog?
I started the blog in 2008 as a sort of digital notebook to help me remember any new recipes I happened to come across and like. It was really something for myself, but people connected with the concept very quickly. I think the layout of the blog had a lot to do with it.
How did the Pantone recipes idea come about?
Being a graphic designer, I have a tendency to notice colour before anything else, even when it comes to food. Of course I love flavour, but with my work in the blog I wanted to go beyond that and explore the relationship between taste and chromatism. So I started doing some Pantone recipes, like the Pantone pie (which combines white currants, yellow plums, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, chocolate and figs). Then I did a project with some of my favourite Parisian chefs, in which each one had to choose a colour and create a recipe using that colour only. It was challenging, but the results were so surprising! That’s where the idea for the monochrome tarts came from.
What is your favourite colour?
I don’t really have a favourite colour but I do prefer bright tones, the ones between primary and dark colours and pastels. I especially like turquoise and coral. They’re so dreamy.
What is your favourite food?
As you can see on my blog and my books (about marshmallows, Smarties and cake pops) I have a seriously sweet tooth! I can never say no to dessert, but I’m no big fan of very elaborate or sophisticated recipes. Simplicity always wins me over. I think my all-time favourite food is raspberry “tartelette”: so uncomplicated and classic, and it always brings me back to my childhood.
Here Emilie presents four of her favourite recipes from Rainbow Tarts:
Mojito Cream Tart
Base: 50g unsalted butter, 70g flour, 70g sugar
Colour topping: 250 ml chilled cream, 1½ tablespoons icing sugar, a few drops pepppermint essence, mint, to decorate
White topping: finely grated zest and juice from 2 limes, 1 tablespoon icing sugar, 150ml chilled cream
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a tray with baking paper.
To make the crumble base, combine the butter, flour and sugar, and coarsely mix with your hands to make a crumble. Spread the crumble onto the prepared tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until browned.
To make the colour topping, beat the cream using an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Add the sugar and mint essence, and mix until well incorporated. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.
To make the white topping, heat the lime juice and sugar with 10ml water in a saucepan over medium–high heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Set aside to cool. Beat the cream using an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Add the lime syrup and mix until the syrup is well incorporated.
On serving plates, form the crumble into two 11 cm x 14 cm rectangles. Pipe the lime mixture onto the upper part of the rectangle, and spread the cream onto the lower part. Sprinkle with the lime zest and mint, and serve.
Base: 100g sweet spiced biscuits, 80g unsalted butter
Colour topping: pulp from 5 large passionfruit, 50g caster sugar
White topping: 300g cream cheese, 250g mascarpone, 150g caster sugar, 4 eggs
To make the biscuit base, crush the biscuits into very small pieces and put into a mixing bowl. Melt the butter and mix into the crushed biscuits. Line a small baking tin with baking paper and spread the biscuits over the base of the tin. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the white topping, preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and eggs using an electric mixer. Pour over the chilled biscuit base and then bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
To make the coloured topping, combine the passionfruit and sugar. Cut the cheesecake into two 11 cm × 14 cm (4¼ in × 5½ in) rectangles. Spread the sweetened passionfruit pulp onto the upper part of the rectangles and serve.
Dark Chocolate & Coconut Tart
Base: 200g desiccated coconut, 400g condensed milk
Colour topping: 200g dark chocolate
To make the coconut base, combine the coconut with the condensed milk and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Spoon into two 11cm x 14cm rectangular moulds and return to the refrigerator.
To make the colour topping, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a large saucepan of simmering water. Spoon the melted chocolate over the upper part of the base and serve.
Cotton Candy & Marshmallow Tart
Base: 2 sheets brick (Tunisian) pastry, 10g unsalted butter, melted
Colour topping: 40g cotton candy
White topping: 10 marshmallows
To make the base, preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a tray with baking paper. Cut the pastry into four 11 cm × 14 cm (4¼ in × 5½ in) rectangles. Place onto the prepared tray and brush with butter. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
To make the white topping, place the marshmallows and 50 ml water in a mixing bowl placed over a large saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is cooled. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes (do not leave too long or else the mixture will become too hard).
On serving plates, stack two sheets of pastry on each plate. Arrange the cotton candy on the upper part of the pastry and spread the marshmallow on the lower part.
Rainbow Tarts is out now, published by Hardie Grant Books.
Text by Marta Represa