Tag Archives: Fruit

Rustic Summer Tart

For a simple, fruity dessert on a summer’s day, all you need is a good crust and some stone fruit…

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cup flours

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 stick chilled unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten

Iced water

Ingredients for the filling: 

4 red plums, pitted and cubed

4 nectarines, pitted and cubed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

Mix the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  With a sharp knife, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.  Rub the pieces of butter and the dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny pieces.  Make a well and add the egg and drizzle in the iced water.  Begin to knead the dough quickly into a ball.  Add more iced water until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball.  Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for an hour until it is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface.  Roll the dough into a circle until it is about ¼ inch thick and place it on a baking sheet.

Toss the fruit with the lemon juice.  Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving the outer 1 1/2 inches of dough uncovered.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Fold up the uncovered edge of the dough and pinch so that it stays overtop the fruit.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg.

Rustic Summer Tart

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is golden and the crust is lightly browned.  Cool slightly before serving with a chilled French rosé, such as Château Pesquié Terrasses (2015) from Ventoux Rhône Valley Vineyards.  This blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah tastes of red berries and pairs well with fruity desserts.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat

…step away from the stove, close the oven door and extinguish the grill…at least while you prepare the “cool” recipes in this summer month column.  All that you will need is fresh fruit, a blender and a few other ingredients that most home chefs have on hand.

The fruit purées below make a refreshing appetizer or dessert course, and I offer two presentations for these summer sweets.  One is to spoon a portion of each purée into a shallow soup or pasta bowl – preferably, a simple, white bowl to showcase the fruits’ vibrant colors.  The purées have a rather thin consistency, so make sure that the different colors do not run together.  Drizzle heavy cream in a circular pattern over the purées, and use a knife to pull the cream out from the center in attractive rays.

Mélange of fruit purées with heavy cream.

Mélange of fruit purées with heavy cream.

Another option for serving these colorful treats is to spoon them into clear espresso glasses.  Make the most of your herb garden by garnishing each purée with a different herb.  I used basil for the kiwi, lavender for the cantaloupe and mint for the strawberry.

Flight of fruit purées.

Flight of fruit purées.

You do not need to adhere to the flavors below.  Feel free to substitute your favorite summer fruits – cherries, apricots, plums, honeydew…’tis the season.  Each of the below recipes makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of purée.  Simply combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth, and remember to stir the purées before serving.

Cantaloupe Purée

1 cantaloupe, cut into small chunks

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of nutmeg

Strawberry Purée

1 quart strawberries, hulled

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Sugar to taste

Kiwi Purée

12 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Sugar to taste

White Peach Purée

6 white peaches, peeled and cut into slices (If the peaches are not quite ripe, soften them by blanching.)

Lemon juice to taste

Sugar to taste

So, stay in the kitchen and start puréeing!

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2015.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Mara de Bois: Thoughts on a Special Strawberry

I could spend days strolling through the weekly market in the French town of Vaison-la-Romaine.  The vendors at this open air marché sell food and wares from sardines to soap, from Morbier to mattresses.  Of all the treasures on display in this maze of stalls, the Mara de Bois – the strawberry that is like a large ruby – is the most precious.

This flavorful gem is smaller and rounder than other varieties, and my husband and I were lured by its sweet perfume.  The merchant offered us a taste, and the aromatic sugar cube melted on my tongue.  Of the two pints we purchased, one made it back to the house.  It took all of my will power to save the other for dessert.  (The tiny berries are so delicate that you must consume them within hours of purchase; at least, that is what I told myself as I popped the juicy candies into my mouth.)

There was no need to stop at the confiserie after our trip to the market.  The Mara de Bois is a natural confection.  And, that evening’s dessert was the simplest I have ever prepared – two petite bowls of Mara de Bois.  No honey, no whipped cream, and certainly, no sugar.

Strawberry Rickey

For a twist on this classic cocktail, try a Strawberry Rickey featuring one of summer’s most beloved fruits.  This recipe also includes Crème de Frais de Bois – the liqueur made from France’s sweet, wild strawberries.

Ingredients

3 strawberries

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce lime juice

1 splash Crème de Frais de Bois (I enjoy the G.E. Massenez brand.)

Seltzer water

Lime slice

Hull the strawberries and muddle in the bottom of a highball glass.  Fill the glass with ice.  Then add the other ingredients, except for the lime slice, and stir.  Garnish with the lime slice.

Strawberry Rickey

June’s Bounty

Check out my June issue of The Judicial Palate.

June’s Bounty

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2015.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Rough Winter Tart

Try this tart with fruit that you have on hand on a snow day.  I used apples, jarred Bing cherries, clementines and raisins, and the combination proved to be a good one!

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 stick chilled unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten

Iced water

Filling Ingredients:

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (Pink Lady preferred)

12 Bing cherries, pitted (Tillen Farms preferred)

Small handful of candied pecans, roughly chopped

Small handful of raisins

2 clementines, cut into segments

2 tablespoons maple sugar

1 egg beaten

Tart Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Mix the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  With a sharp knife, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.  Rub the pieces of butter and the dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny pieces.  Make a well and add the egg and drizzle in the iced water.  Begin to knead the dough quickly into a ball.  Add more iced water until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for several hours until it is firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface.  Roll the dough into a circle until it is about ¼ inch thick and place it on a baking sheet.

Tart Filling

Arrange the apples in the center of the dough, leaving the outer 1 1/2 inches of dough uncovered.  Arrange the other fruit on top of the apples.  Sprinkle with maple sugar.  Fold up the uncovered outer edge of the dough and pinch so that it stays overtop the fruit.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is golden and the crust is lightly browned.  Remove the tart from the baking sheet and place it on a cooling rack.

Rough Tart When ready to serve, slice and plate standing alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Some End of Summer R & R – Raspberries and Ricotta

I have been back in the classroom for two weeks, yet I am trying to soak up every last bit of summer, including summer berries.  This easy dessert incorporates raspberries, my favorite berry, and ricotta, one of my preferred cheeses.

Simply scoop some ricotta into each dessert bowl and gently blend in a small quantity of honey.  I used honey infused with lemon from a local farmers’ market.  I also drizzled a bit of chocolate infused olive oil on top of the ricotta, but you could substitute with some chocolate shavings.  Top with a few raspberries and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I purchased some delicious pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) in Tout Sweet Pâtisserie.  The Negroni flavor is most interesting with its ingredients of blood orange, grapefruit and Campari.  So, for a little bitter to balance the sweet, I placed a few of these tasty jellies on the side.

Cheers!

Ricotta and Raspberries 1

Pineapple Custard

Although Labor Day is behind us, there are several weeks remaining in summer to enjoy some refreshing desserts.  This weekend, inspired by the newest addition to our kitchen – a pineapple corer – I prepared a pineapple custard.  After coring this tropical fruit with ease, I decided to incorporate it into this light dessert.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup pineapple cut into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is warm – do not bring it to a boil.  Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the warm milk into the mixing bowl containing the other ingredients, whisking gently while pouring.  Then stir in the pineapple.

Pour the custard mixture into ramekins (the above quantities filled four of my ramekins).  Then place the ramekins in a large Pyrex baking dish.  Create a water bath by pouring enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the entire baking dish with aluminum foil, but not tightly, as the custard may puff up a bit.  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick into the custard and it comes out clean.

This custard is at its best if you allow it to set for several hours in the refrigerator before serving.

When ready to plate, top each ramekin with additional slices of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.  My favorite maraschino cherries are those from Tillen Farms – free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.  These cherries from the Pacific Northwest are a rich, deep red and are a perfect complement to the sweet yet tart pineapple.

Pineapple Custard

Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer with this tropical dessert!

Cherry Salsa

Now is the time to enjoy sweet cherries.  Already this summer, you may have prepared cherry desserts ranging from pies to clafoutis.

Another way to incorporate this fruit into your summer repertoire is a cherry salsa to enhance your main course.  I used the quantities below for an accompaniment to a grilled pork loin dinner for two (with some left over).

Ingredients:

1 1/2 dozen sweet cherries, pitted and roughly cut into smaller chunks

1 small shallot, roughly chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1 dried red chili pepper, sliced into rings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Dash of curry

Mix the cherries, shallot, cilantro, chili and olive oil in a bowl.  Taste before adding and mixing in your desired amount of sea salt and a dash of curry.  Permit the flavors to combine by placing the bowl of salsa in the refrigerator for about one hour before serving.

Final Cherries

This sweet yet spicy salsa makes for a refreshing addition to grilled pork and would also pair well with a grilled fish.

Make the most of cherries during their peak this season!