August 23rd, 2012
At AMPR, we’re lucky to work a stone’s throw away from the Union Square Greenmarket. With August’s cornucopia of locally grown produce, it’s hard to shake that “so-many-recipes-so-little-time” feeling while meandering through the various stalls. But fruit-wise, delicate berries from the Hudson Valley – in our opinion – always steal the show.
Fruit tarts are a common sight in France, a country that’s home to a number of exciting properties represented by AMPR. Last week would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and we’re celebrating her legacy of French cooking with a classic tart native to windswept Oléron, a scenic island off France’s Atlantic coast. The recipe is featured in Ruth Reichl’s book Tender at the Bone (a joy to read, by the way!) preceded by a few descriptive lines that had us chomping at the bit to get our hands in the flour:
Danielle took her finger out of her mouth and took a bite. I watched her. She took another. And another. I took a bite myself.
It was magnificent. The fruit was intoxicatingly fragrant and each berry released its juice only in the mouth, where it met the sweet, crumbly crust. “Why is this so much better than other tarts?” I asked.
Madame Deveau looked at me with something like interest. “The American wakes up,” she commented. “It is that the products here are so good,” she said. “Good butter from fat cows and wild berries grown in the island air.”
While we can’t comment on how the Big Apple’s Greenmarket compares to the fat cows and island berries of Oléron, we can happily confirm that this tart is a welcome taste of summer – anywhere , anytime. Now, be inspired!
Oléron Raspberry Tart
1½ c. sifted flour
¼ c. sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch squares
2 tbs. heavy cream
1 egg yolk
¾ c. blanched almonds, toasted
¾ c. sugar
3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. raspberries
2 tbs. currant jam and/or powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
Place sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter squares to the flour mixture and blend using a pastry blender or forks until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add cream to the egg yolk and pour into flour mixture. Mix lightly with a fork until the pastry holds together in a small ball. If it’s not moist enough, add a tablespoon or so of water.
Sprinkle some flour across a counter and push the dough with the heel of your palm until it has been worked through. Do not over-mix. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough and allow to warm on the countertop for ten minutes. On a floured surface, flatten the ball and roll it into an eleven-inch circle. Fit gently into an eight- or nine-inch tart pan with a fluted edge and removable bottom. Press into pan gently, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim off the edges and freeze for ten minutes to firm.
Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and filler and bake for five minutes more or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool while making the filling.
Blend the almonds and three tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor until it is a fine powder. In a separate bowl, cream butter with the remaining sugar, and then add the yolks. Fold in the almond-sugar mixture and vanilla to combine.
Spread the almond mixture into the pre-baked crust and top with two cups of the fresh berries. Sprinkle the tart with two tablespoons of sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until just set. Cool at least two hours.
Just before serving, cover the tart with the remaining two cups of raspberries. Garnish with powdered sugar or brush the top with a simple glaze made from two tablespoons currant jam heated with one tablespoon of water. Bon appétit!
Photo was taken by Ben from the AMPR team.
October 19th, 2011
La Réserve Paris
La Réserve Paris sits in the heart of the city at Place de Trocadéro, letting visitors live like a Parisian – and a chic one at that. The stylishly furnished apartments provide all guests the comforts of home, with a view only available in Paris – the Eiffel Tower cuts the sky and behind it is a backdrop of the green Champs de Mars, often speckled with picnickers.
RATES: start at 2,590 euros per night (about $3,564) for a minimum stay of 3 nights.
Le Pavillon des Lettres
The penthouse suites at the new Pavillon des Lettres are a dream for bibliophiles. Each of the hotel’s 26 rooms is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and a corresponding author. The two penthouse suites, Yeats and Zola, have beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, and Paris rooftops. Gaze out at the lights on the Eiffel Tower while reading Zola’s Nana from the room’s iPad – stocked with novels in several languages – or scan Yeats’ The Wind Among the Reeds that is printed on the wall.
RATES: start at 250 euros per night (about $347).
Victoria-Jungfrau Collection – Palace Luzern
Founded in 1906, the Palace Luzern epitomizes the height of Belle Époque elegance. While embracing the style of a true palace hotel, numerous renovations have brought the hotel into the 21st century with a fresh, modern aesthetic. Overlooking Lake Lucerne, it offers a unique combination of Alpine scenery and proximity to the center of Lucerne, which is host to renowned music festivals, world-class museums, and many charming boutiques. Sailing, golf, and skiing are all available nearby.
RATES: start at $308 for a City View Double Room.
Uma Paro is in the extraordinary Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, sitting atop a tree-lined hill on 38 acres overlooking the town of Paro in the valley below. Situated on the country’s western border, the Paro Valley is one of the main cultural centers of Bhutan. Simply relax and gaze out at the unbelievable view, or join one of Uma Paro’s activities such as hiking or biking to the nearby monasteries or exploring the country through the lens of a camera.
RATES: start at $ 330 through December 31, 2011.
Park Hyatt Shanghai
Located in one of the world’s tallest buildings, a bathing experience at the Park Hyatt Shanghai is far from ordinary. Even with the heated floors in the bathroom, you’ll shiver at the thrill as you glance down at the breathtaking city from a window-side deep soaking tub. For the faint of heart, there is always the oversized monsoon rain shower, not a bad trade.
RATES: start at $391 for a Park King room.
Park Hyatt Beijing
Park Hyatt Beijing illuminates the city skyline as a new landmark. Directly opposite the China World Trade Center and the striking new CCTV Tower, the hotel occupies the uppermost floors in the main tower of the Beijing Yintai Center — the tallest development on prestigious Chang’an Avenue in the heart of the capital’s Central Business District. The interiors of Park Hyatt Beijing have been inspired by classical Suzhou architecture and water gardens, and the hotel incorporates these Oriental aesthetics into a sleek, contemporary design.
RATES: start at $288 for a Park King Room.
Park Hyatt Sydney
The iconic Park Hyatt Sydney will reopen in late 2011 after a seven month makeover and complete redesign. Located in the Rocks district of Sydney’s city center, the hotel has been reimagined by Melbourne-based design firm BARStudio. All rooms are being completely redesigned to enhance the guest experience and highlight the hotel’s harborfront location. Views of Sydney Harbor and the Opera House take on new meaning with a series of floor-to-ceiling windows throughout almost all areas of the property, including in The Dining Room, the hotel’s premier restaurant, completing the large-scale redesign.
RATES: opening rates starting at $871 for a City/Harbour King Room.
Shakti 360˚ Leti
U.S. Toll-free: 1 877 637 5665
At 8,000 feet in elevation surrounded by soaring peaks of the snowcapped Indian Himalayas, Shakti 360˚ Leti has some of the best views in India. Each of the four en-suite cabins and the central lodge of this high elevation hotel have floor to ceiling windows, which means the views of the peaks and, in spring, the rhododendrons in full bloom, never disappear. Described as “a contender for the world’s most remote luxury resort,” Shakti 360˚ Leti can be visited as an extension from the Shakti Kumaon Village Experience, or as its own destination. Accessible by car or charter flight from Delhi, the fun getting there really begins with the hour-long trek into the hills. But once you’re there, you won’t want to leave… Forget your Blackberry, power down your iPhone, disconnect, and just breathe in the fresh mountain air while listening to the silence that surrounds you.
Season: October 1 – May 1
RATES: 3-night, 4-day package starts at $1,916 per person, double occupancy. Rates include accommodations; all meals and beverages; activities; English speaking guide and porters; a car at your disposal, and all taxes and return transfers between Shakti Kumaon Village Experience and Shakti 360˚ Leti. Flights are not included. Minimum of a 3-night stay required.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
In the heart of the Liwa Desert just ninety minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport is Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, the newly built 206-room resort surrounded entirely by legendary red sand dunes. The Liwa is part of the Rub’-al-Khali, or Empty Quarter, the world’s largest uninterrupted desert. Built right into the sand, the resort is modeled after an ancient Emirati fort that rises out of the desert and evokes the rich culture of the Bedouins, the indigenous tribes people who roamed the desert for centuries. Get away not only from your everyday life, but this century altogether!
The rooms and suites spill off the main lodge like little villages, and all have stunning views of the ocher dunes of the Liwa. Hundreds of museum-caliber artifacts are on display throughout the hotel to provide more feasts for the eye, including the world’s largest collection of camel saddlebags used in desert crossings by the Bedouins throughout Arabia. Offering all the comforts of modern luxury in a superbly unique setting, Qasr Al Sarab is more than just a luxury hotel; it is a window into the history and culture of a nation.
RATES: start at 2,100 AED from October 1-November 30, 2011, and at 1,900 AED from December 1, 2011-January 31, 2012.