Much has happened since I last posted and ironically, most of it has had nothing to do with food.
Shocking, isn’t it?
No, I haven’t stopped cooking and yes, our waistlines confirm we’ve continued to eat, but I’ve chosen not to: 1) take time to jot down notes about a recipe when I’m fiddling around with it; 2) shoot process steps and results, and 3) upload and edit photos. Do you have any idea how completely fabulous it is to eat dinner without having to do any of that?
But I digress. I haven’t lost interest — I’ve wanted to squeeze as much out of this last summer as possible having my youngest son at home before he ventures off to college, so have saved some time for family instead. Even the big guys have been around more than they normally are. It’s been great having a house full of menfolk again, if only for a few evenings, and sometimes, when no one’s looking, I’m a bit of a mess. You know, having trouble with the stiff upper lip and all.
I’m not quite back in the thinking-about-food-all-day-every-day mode, but I’ll get there — I’m busy processing how different my life will be from this point forward. I’m a bit drifty, a tad obsessed with organization, and taking yet another look at my diet and the amount of exercise I subject my body to. For those of you who know me, I understand you’re thinking, so what’s new?
Right. Shall we talk about food? And because I’m avoiding carbs, and anything baked in particular, let’s discuss pie.
Perfect little lingering wisp of summer fruit pies.
Fresh Fruit Tartlets
1/2 c. sugar
2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c. + 1 T ice cold water
Fruit Filling Ingredients
1 c. + 2 T sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
and 1/2 to 1 c. each of
cherries, pitted and cut in half
To make the crust, in the bowl of a food processor add the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter pieces, then pulse until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Pour the water evenly over the mixture, then pulse again just until the mixture begins to come together. Do not allow it to form a ball on the blade. Pour the crumbs out and press them gently into a large flat disk. Wrap well in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before rolling out and cutting.
Prepare the filling by mixing the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. In separate containers, divide the fruit you plan to construct each tartlet and the divide the sugar mix evenly over the bowls. Toss the fruit to evenly distribute the sugar mixture.
Roll the chilled dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut circles to fit the tart pan you plan to use. Place the cutouts into the tart pans and press them a bit making sure the dough on the sides rises a bit over the top of the pan.
Spoon the fruit into each of the unbaked pie shells, and top with additional decorative touches such as a latticed top, cut out stars, or other choices.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until crusts are golden brown and fillings bubbling.
- This recipe was adapted from one published in the June 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
- I made the crust from this recipe several times this summer, including my Banana Cream Tarts and Rustic Vegetable Tart , and honestly think it’s the best I’ve tried. It’s flavorful, flaky, has a nice bite, and is surprisingly sturdy. I was able to lift each of these pies from the pan by hand and with the assistance of an offset spatula without breakage. Very nice. Yes, you can eat them from your hand.
- I had fun mixing some of the fruit. With respect to the end flavor, the cherry was fabulous, but I’m so partial to apricot. Truly a treat. Choose the fruit you enjoy most.
- With respect to the use of the muffin pan, if you don’t have one, consider getting one. I lightly spray the pan with oil just to be on the safe side. If there’s overflow during baking, use a sharp knife to gently run around the edge between the pan and the crust so that when the pies cool, you’ll avoid possible sticking as the sugar hardens.
- I’m thinking that individual quiches would be perfect for this crust and no matter what the season, the ingredients change. Have fun with it!