Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Fruit Tart

Happy almost Fourth of July! If you're anything like me, you like to have something sweet and festive around for the holiday. This tart recipe looks like it's intensive, with lots of steps, but it's not hard at all. I've given options for both regular and gluten-free crust. That's the only thing that matters when it comes to dietary issues.
After that, it's time to enjoy the flavors of summer! And your independence. 

Did you know (fourth of July fun facts):

...that John Adams wrote home to Abigail on the 3rd of July that this day, July 2nd, will go down in history...but it wasn't until July 4th that congress accepted Jefferson's proposal.

...in a bizarre twist of fate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th.

...the fourth of July was being celebrated as early as 1777, but it wasn't an official holiday until 1870.

...the fourth of July is the biggest hot dog consuming day, with over 155 million being eaten for celebrations.

...this one for Sheila...which I'm sure she knows, history buff that she is...the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846, for fear of cracking it further. Therefore, on July 4th, it is tapped 13 times to signify it is time to ring the bells of freedom across the country.



FOURTH OF JULY FRUIT TART

Ingredients:

For the crust (***regular or gluten-free option):
1 stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
1/4 cup sugar (*I used raw sugar)
1 1/4 cup regular or gluten-free flour, plus extra for rolling dough (depending on your dietary needs!)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water (I used 4)

For the tart:
1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar (*I used raw sugar)
4 tablespoons cornstarch 

Jam Glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup apricot jam or strawberry jam
1 tablespoon water

Topping:

3 cups fruit including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more…raspberries kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc., depending on your preference

Special equipment needed:
1 pound dried beans or rice
Parchment paper
10-inch tart pan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the dough:
Put the butter, sugar, flour OR gluten-free flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy consistency. Add half of the water and pulse the food processor 2 to 3 times. The dough should start to come together. If desired, add the remaining water. (I did!) Check the consistency by clenching a small handful in your fist. If the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. If not, pulse the dough with a little more water. When the dough has reached the right consistency, set it on parchment paper that has been dusted with flour (or gluten-free flour, depending on your needs!) Dust with more flour (or GF flour). Top with another piece of parchment paper. Flatten slightly using the heel of your hand. Put the entire thing into a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.




 
When ready:  Set the dough, including parchment paper, on a clean work surface. Roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness between the paper. Peel off the parchment paper and roll the dough gently into a tube. Then lay the dough in the tart pan, unrolling as you go. Push the dough into the sides of the tart pan. Roll dough over the top edge of the tart pan, then cut the extra dough from the pan. (You need this extra bit because the dough will shrink when it bakes.) Cover the dough with parchment paper and gently poke holes in the paper. Fill the tart shell with the dried beans or rice and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the parchment and beans/rice and bake for 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. The dough should be golden and crisp.

For the custard:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together.

Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Next, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla to a boil, just until the edges bubble. Remove from heat and add slowly to the egg mixture. Now pour the egg-milk mixture into a FRESH medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. Whisk for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl and VERY IMPORTANT cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature.





To construct the tart:
Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds on medium-high. Brush half of the jam over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes). 



Remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan by placing your hand under the pan and gently pushing the tart straight up. Neat trick: the fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. Set the tart pan on a flat surface and the tart ring in the sink.
If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter. But this isn’t necessary.
Next, spread the cooled to room temperature pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit on top of cream or in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Using the remaining jam, brush the fruit with a glaze.

Refrigerate the tart, but bring to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves about 6-8 people.


TWO MORE THINGS:

On Killer Characters blog, which a number of us participate on, we are having the Cozy Days of Summer Giveaway, where each day you can enter to win a book or more. Check it out and leave a comment with your email! Click the picture to follow the link:


ALSO

For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!



******************

Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Days of Wine and Roquefort 
is out!
order here

Inherit the Word
  is out!
                                    order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for preorder: order here.


If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Will Travel for Food


The timbale, as served in Taormina
From Daryl aka Avery:


My husband and I took a trip that we'd planned for 30 years. Okay, perhaps not planned. But we'd been planning to take...you get the idea. We went on a cruise that took us to Italy, Greece, and Croatia. Including Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Taormina, Amalfi/Positano, and the island of Sardinia (great to visit if you're rich and own yacht!).

The beauty, the history, the food. It was all wonderful. [The jet lag...not so much fun!]

Venice, canal
We had a fabulous time exploring the back streets of Venice with a tour guide who loved to give us the inside scoop. Tidbit: Did you know "stua" which I would have assumed meant street actually means "sauna or spa" and was the name designated for the red light district streets. During the Middle Ages, there were 11,600 prostitutes in Venice, all encouraged to show their wares to keep men from choosing an alternative lifestyle, considered a venal sin.

Another tidbit: the city is sinking. We knew that, right? But to see where the original steps are, beneath the water level, is amazing.



Positano, built into the hill in terraces

On this trip, we got our fill of walking up steps and the insides of churches! Loved Positano! It is often depicted in paintings.

St. Mark's, built 9th century; floors very uneven

The churches in each port of call were amazing. Even the ceilings of arcades were gorgeous.


The markets were beautiful, too.



From the overlook in Dubrovnik.



And the streets of Dubrovnik, a walled city, are marble. Slippery when wet, we were told. No cars. So much fun! They had a throne for Game of Thrones at the end of the plaza where people could sit and take pictures of themselves in power. LOL



View from Greek odeon on Taormina
While in Taormina, Sicily (not far from Mt. Etna, which was active, although we couldn't see the activity) we were directed to a hole in the wall restaurant, off the beaten track. I was assured the place would know how to deal with my gluten-free issue. In Italy, everyone by the age of two is tested for celiac disease. How's that!  This place was fabulous. They had gluten-free pasta, which they did with a delicious pesto sauce. I ate fresh Amberjack fish, caught by the owner's boyfriend that morning, and made Sicilian style with olives, tomatoes, and garlic. Oh, boy, was it good!!! And they made a delicious zucchini appetizer that melted in my mouth, which I'm trying to recreate for you today. The flavor is right, but I sure can't make it as pretty as they made it. I'm guessing they used a tart pan or even a hamburger press to make the little "timbale" shape, as shown above. If you have ideas, let me know! This is going to be a regular on our menu.

By the way, there is a fabulous old Greek odeon/outdoor theater with an overlook of the island in Taormina. Not to be missed.

Buon appetito!!

Sicilian Zucchini

Per person:

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in thin slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons red pasta sauce
Basil leaves, if desired (I didn't have any on hand)

Directions:

Slice the zucchini.

Heat the oil on medium high in a large frying pan. Lay the zucchini in and cook 1-2 minutes a side, until lightly browned.

Remove from the pan and lay/fold the zucchini on a preparation plate, dusting with Parmesan before each fold.

Place stacks of zucchini side by side and trim to a circle shape, if desired. Top with more Parmesan, pasta sauce, and basil leaves, if you have on hand.



That's it.


Here are photos of other items I ate on the trip. I didn't starve, that's for sure.

Pasta, cheese platter, at Barbabao ristorante in Venice



Gluten-free pasta with pesto in Taormina


Amberjack Sicilian style in Taormina


Gelato, gussied up! In St. Mark's Square


You can find more pictures on my Facebook page.

As for my writing...

For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!



******************

Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Days of Wine and Roquefort 
is out!
order here

Inherit the Word
  is out!
                                    order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for preorder: order here.


If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!