Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fruit Tart

I have been a bad, bad blogger. I have completely neglected my blog and yours, but now I'm back. I'm totally blaming it on being entranced by the Twilight book series. Well, the first three books, I should have laid the last one down and tended to the blog because it was a total let down.

Please accept my apology with this delicious and
summery fruit tart. The crust is a wonderful shortbread crust. The filling is a sweet, smooth, delectable pastry cream that is sure to please. Is it wrong that I can be found standing in front of an opened refrigerator eating spoonfuls of pastry cream out of the container??? Such a temptation and it does happen!

I decorate the tart as if I would arrange a fruit basket or platter. I finish it off by brushing apricot glaze atop the berries.

On a totally unrelated note...once you've visited me stop by and visit Sharon at Culinary Adventures Of A New Wife. Not only is it a great blog and is featuring a fabulous pasta dish at the moment but there is also a contest winning recipe submitted by yours truly in her current post! Sharing recipes is so great.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Pastry Shell
Fits a 9 inch tart pan
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. flour, sifted
pinch salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar until just combined.
  • Add vanilla
  • Turn mixer onto low speed and add sifted flour and salt to the butter mixture. Mix until dough starts to come together.
  • Dump onto floured surface and shape into a flat disk.
  • Press dough into tart pan, making sure the edges are flat.
  • Chill until firm. Butter one side of a square of parchment paper that will fit into tart shell and place it, buttered side down, on the chilled pastry. Fill with rice, beans or pie weights.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, prick tart all over with tines of a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool at room temperature.
Pastry Cream
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
make 2 1/2 cups

6 extra large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
2 T. unsalted butter
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. heavy cream
1 t. Bacardi golden rum
  • Combine sugar and cornstarch in bowl of electric mixer and rub them together using your hands.
  • Add egg yolks and beat using paddle attachment, until mixture is pale yellow and falls back into the bowl in a ribbon.
  • Bring milk to a boil in a large saucepan and , with the mixer on low, slowly pour it into the egg mixture. Then pour mixture back into the saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until mixture is thick, bringing mixture slowly to a boil.
  • Once mixture is to a boil, cook for 2-3 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat and mix in butter, vanilla, cream and rum.
  • Strain into storage container. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold.
  • Fill tart shell with pastry cream.
  • Add seasonal fruit.
  • Brush with glaze. (Melted Apricot or Currant Jelly thinned out with hot tap water)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool It Now: Strawberry Pops

My sister and I were Popsicle kids when we were growing up. I remember sitting in the shade during the hot Texas summer pushing our pop-ices up from their plastic casings with such refreshing enjoyment. We'd end up sucking the leftover juice out of the packaging because they seemed to melt within seconds of hitting our hands. If you were inventive, you'd blow air into the casing much like a balloon, throw your head back and allow the sweet juice to trickle into your mouth and down your throat.

We were such frozen treat connoisseurs and enjoyed all different kinds. We considered the creamsicles a very special treat. My favorite was the orange flavor. It was especially exciting when my mom filled dixie cups with juice and we'd chomp on homemade ice pops. And when the ice cream truck pulled in front of our house I opted for a berry cream popsicle in the shape of a foot that sported an embedded bubblegum toenail.

These Strawberry Pops may not be cream filled or may not even have a bubblegum toenail, but it is perfect for any kid...or any kid at heart.

Strawberry Pops
fills 8-3oz. molds

1 1/2 pint of strawberries
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1/3 c. water
  1. Pulse the strawberries, confectioners sugar and water in a food processor until pureed but still has some chunks remaining. Pour half of the mixture in a bowl.
  2. Puree remaining mixture until smooth. Add to bowl and stir the two mixtures together. Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups. Freeze until solid (8 hours.)
Have any remaining strawberry mixture...then you've got to do this:Pour it over ice cream...SO GOOD!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oven Roasted BBQ Ribs

What is a summer BBQ without ribs? Ribs are a staple that you will find at just about any sweltering hot outdoor Texan barbecue and boy, do I have the recipe for you! Soaking them overnight in liquid smoke really gives them a backyard taste even though you've baked them in the oven. If you can't stand the heat...get into the kitchen and bake these ribs!

Patience is the key to these sweet and spicy ribs. The process will take you three days...yes, three days. The first two days are minor quick steps in preparation that will lead you to the final day of roasting low and slow.

The result: sweet, spicy and succulent ribs.

2 lb. rack of baby back ribs
1/2 c. of liquid smoke, separated
1 T. cumin seeds, toasted
2 T. ancho chili powder
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. sweet Hungarian paprika
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. granulated sugar
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 c. spicy barbecue sauce
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 c. beer

Day One:
Soak Ribs in 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke, reserve the Tablespoon of Liquid Smoke. Wrap in plastic wrap or use a gallon bag and soak over night.

Day Two:
Make the dry rub. Add cumin, ancho chili powder, cayenne, paprika, sugars and garlic cloves to a food processor or mortar and grind to a paste. Rub on both sides of ribs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Day Three:
Preheat oven to 215 degrees. Place ribs uncovered in a baking dish. Bake for three hours. Remove from oven and mix BBQ sauce, reserved liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce and Old Bay and spread on top of the ribs. Add the beer to the bottom of the pan and bake 45 minutes longer.