Tag Archives: Fruit

Organic Blueberry Brown Butter Tarts

19 Jul

I absolutely love fresh berries in the peak of summer and when I see a local farm stand selling them, I can’t resist stocking up! In the winter time, the location of the Sonoma Swamp Blues Organic Blueberry farm stand is under water from the Laguna de Santa Rosa, but in the summer, Blueberries are grown here. We bought a pound of them and when I got home, I started thinking about what kind of dessert I could make with them.

One of the simplest ideas is to make a Compote, which is so versatile and can be stored in the refrigerator for about up to a week. Compotes can be made out of many types of fruit, such as Berries, Apples, Pears, Apricots, and various others.

For breakfast, I especially like to put warm Compote on Pancakes or cold Compote on Yoghurt, with my homemade Granola sprinkled on top (I’ll share that recipe another time).  For a no-fuss dessert, it’s a great topping on Vanilla Ice Cream.

Since I was on vacation when we bought these, I decided to do something a bit more fancy and baked up some Brown Butter Tarts. The Tart Shell recipe is from Paule Caillat. I love it because it doesn’t involve any rolling of the dough. You press it into the Tart pan with your fingers and poke the bottom all over with a fork before baking them until golden brown (see before and after baking photos below). I didn’t have the suggested size Tart pan, so I used four 4.75 inch individual tart pans, which are particularly convenient for individuals or couples, since you can add the filling right before you are ready to eat dessert. The Tart Shells store well in an airtight container for at least a week.

To make the Blueberry Compote, over low heat, cook the Blueberries in a medium pot on top of the stove with a 1/4 cup of water and 1-2 Tablespoons of Sugar (or to taste, depending on the fruit’s sweetness). You could use Agave or Maple Syrup if you prefer. I like to add the zest of 1/2 Lemon or Orange, and a Teaspoon of Cinnamon or Garam Masala spice blend. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes on the pot since it will bubble over and make a mess if you’re not careful.

I spooned approximately a 1/3 cup of the Compote in the Tart Shell, and garnished with a sprig of Mint. Of course, there are many other options for filling the Tarts, like Lemon Curd, sliced Peaches or Plums on a layer of Pastry Cream, or fresh Raspberries on top of a thin layer of melted Chocolate, but this couldn’t have been easier!

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Apple Pie In An Apple – Part 2

10 Apr

This post is related to Apple Pie In The Apple on my blog in February. I found another recipe online yesterday, and after trying this idea myself, I’ve adapted the original “re-blogged” recipe, and feel obliged to add Part 2.

Check out this link for the other recipe I found. It’s got nice pictures, including the lattice crust, that you may find helpful.

I’ve mentioned previously I’m not much of a baker (mainly because I don’t have the patience to measure out lots of ingredients), therefore, hoped to find an easy pie dough recipe and referred to Michael Ruhlman’s ratios for Pie Dough. I’ve put a link of his book Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking on My Tasty Store and there is also iPhone App  available for about $4.99. I think it’s worth it just for the convenience of having it if you’re a traveler who cooks while on vacation.

For a single crust:

  • 12 ounces Flour (350 grams)
  • 8 ounces Fat (I used Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces; note:1 stick of Butter is 4 oz.)
  • 4 ounces Water (I added 1 ice cube to keep it chilled)

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt (Optional)

1 Tablespoon of Sugar (Optional)

Mix dry ingredients and Butter in a Food Processor until Butter is in Pea-sized pieces.

Slowly add in the Water until it starts to hold together , but work it as little as possible (you may not need all of the Water, depending on the humidity of your environment). Don’t worry if it’s not totally formed into a ball.

Dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap, knead it a bit and shape into a flattened disk, wrap up the plastic disk and place it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to a full day.

Once chilled, roll out on a floured surface and cut into strips for the lattice (you should count on chilling longer than 20 minutes if the temperature is warm and/or if the dough is very soft).

My tips/filling recipe are below:

  • 4 Apples
  • 4 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend (or Cinnamon)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Optional)
  1. I figured out that you should not try to make the lattice directly on top of the apple (it’s too hard to get it looking nice). Make it on the counter and then place it on top of the apple. Leave a little space in the lattice for steam to get through.
  2. I also dotted the top of the apple with a little butter for extra flavor which you can see in the photo above (optional but delicious!)
  3. I used Pumpkin Pie Spice in lieu of Cinnamon
  4. I used 4 Apples, not 5-6 as in the original recipe I re-blogged, and there was plenty of filling for the apples.
  5. I used a Tablespoon of Light Brown Sugar per Apple in lieu of 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar and 1/4 Cup White Sugar (since I prefer the flavor of Brown Sugar)
  6. I used a round metal Teaspoon measure to scoop out the Apple.
  7. I tried setting the Apples on the top slice of the Apple (that is cut off the top) as a base…it helped stabilize 3 of the apples but the 4th one slide off during the baking process. Not sure I’d do that again, unless the top slice was a little thicker, or maybe I’d cut a bigger hole in it for the base of the apple to sit in.
  8. I’m not crazy about covering them with aluminum foil and will be test without next time. I felt it took too long for the crust to brown.

I think this concept would work equally well if you wanted a short cut and topped the Apple with some nutty Granola instead of a crust. If you try it, please share your tips or ideas. Would love to hear them!

How To Prevent A Cut Apple From Browning In Your Lunch

21 Jan

Sometimes it’s the simple ideas that bring me happiness. This one did! To prevent a cut apple from browning in your kid’s lunch box, secure a rubber band around it. I wish I had thought of this, but I found it after stumbling upon the Bragg Blog (Bragg Live Food Products include a delicious Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar). I actually like the idea for myself too, since I prefer to cut up an apple rather than biting into a whole one, especially at my desk at the office.

You surely know the trite expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and it’s a good reminder that most of us are not eating enough fruit and vegetables each day.

The new USDA Guidelines suggest you fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables–here is a link with some guidelines and nutrition data: www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov. I’d try going lighter on the fruit and eat more vegetables, since some fruits are quite high in sugar…mangoes, bananas, oranges, for example. On a side note, I read recently that the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Just imagine what a pile of that looks like!

Do you remember the Seinfeld TV show episode with Elaine who wants a “BIG” salad? That’s the kind of salad I like, that really satisfies my cravings for raw vegetables, and makes me feel super healthy with no remorse after eating a meal. You’ve probably heard of the “Meatless Mondays” campaign. What do think about “Salad Saturdays” or “Salad Sundays” where you fix a BIG salad for dinner instead of a eating heavy meal? Uh oh, I’m off on a tangent but I’d love to hear your ideas of what you’re doing to eat more fruits or vegetables!