Category Archives: Fruit

apple hand pies

As I sit and start writing this post, Hurricane Sandy is paying us a visit.

An uninvited guest, she imposes herself with pounding rain and wind gusts the likes of which I’ve never seen or heard.

We have moved the lawn chairs indoors and we have placed the potted herbs snug against the house.  We’ve purchased bottled water, as well as beer, in case of extreme emergency (we have our priorities!).  The batteries have been replaced in the flashlights and camping lanterns.

We have hunkered down and snuggled in.

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strawberry and yogurt biscuits

This year I decided to work for my weekly CSA share.  This means that instead of paying for my weekly share and then picking it up a at a designated drop-off location, I work for 5 hours each week at the farm and take my share home with me that same day.  My husband chuckled when I told him about my decision to do this.

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how I almost burned my house down making an apple tart

Pretty excited about all the apples in the CSA box each week.  The only thing is that I am generally the only one (and, on occasion, my son) in my house that eats them.  I love apples.  I really do. But I can usually only polish off the proverbial one apple per day.  So when I receive ten apples in one week’s bounty…well then, that calls for dessert!

Dessert and, if you are unlucky like me, an oven fire.

Yep, you read correctly.  As my husband said afterward, glad to know the fire extinguisher works but didn’t think we’d actually ever have to use it.  I prepared and baked the tart on a flat cookie sheet.  As the butter melted and the juices from the apple started to flow, it dripped (poured really) down into my gas oven.  As flames crept out of the side, my shouts to my husband to get the fire extinguisher caused the kids to come running.

The fire was extinguished, the oven turned off, and the tart sat in the oven covered in a layer of thick, gray chemical dust.  Slider and front door propped open, the dust-filled smoke billowed out of the house until it dissipated.  Before it had even cleared, both kids had spread the drama by texting their friends.  I hadn’t even had a chance to swear them to secrecy!

Learn from my lesson.  Use a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with sides to avoid a mess or, worse, a fire hazard.

apple tart

One sheet puff pastry dough

4 firm, tart apples (such as granny smith)

1/2 cup sugar

4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

1/2 cup apricot jelly

2 Tbsp Grand Marnier liquer (you can substitute rum or water, if you don’t want to use alcohol)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie (with sides!) with parchment paper.  Roll out your puff pastry to about 10 x 14 inches.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect rectangle. Place the puff pastry on the parchment paper.  There are two ways to prepare your apples.  First is to cut them in half through the stem and remove the core with a sharp knife.  Peel the apples and slice them into thin wedges approximately 1/4 inch thick.  The second is to core and section your apples like I did, using one of these.  Peel and then slice your sections thin.  Starting in the middle of your pastry, lay the apples diagonally in a row from corner to corner, slightly overlapping them.  Continue laying the apples diagonally on either side of the center row until you reach the outer edges of the pastry.  You may have to cut a few slices of the apple to make it fit in the corner.  Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar over the apples and dot with the diced butter.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the pastry is brown and the edges of the apples begin to brown, rotating the pan halfway through during baking.  Remove from oven.  Heat apricot jelly with 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier until thin.  Brush the entire tart with this mixture.  Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

fiercely fresh apple pie

 

I posted this as my status on Facebook a couple of days ago:

“While I like pumpkin lattes as much as the next person, ordering one is like admitting that summer is over”.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I can’t stand tolerate winter.  I suffer through until the days get longer, things can be touched without a jolt of static electricity, and I don’t have to wait 15 minutes for the car windows to defrost.  Meanwhile, my poor husband suffers through me asking him every other week to move to a more temperate climate.

Just as pumpkin lattes have arrived, so have the apples. While I’m looking forward to this in the coming weeks, in these early days of fall I’m enjoying a simple apple pie.

There several variations, but I prefer a straightforward pie without a lot of added ingredients.  This recipe calls for little more than the apples, a little sugar and some spices.

Have you ever purchased packaged pie crust from the grocery store?  Er, me neither.  I make my own crust, using this recipe for pate brisee from Martha Stewart.  It’s so simple, and I’m drawn to anything that can be whipped up in the food processor.  Make a few batches and freeze the discs.  You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to make a fruit or pot pies.

If you want to add a little “wow” factor to your pies with no effort at all, invest in these. They’re a little different from mine but will do the trick.  Sometimes, if I roll my dough out as thin as I should and I have enough extra, I cut enough to line the whole outer rim of the crust.

 

fiercely fresh apple pie

6 cups firm, tart apples, peeled and and thinly sliced

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

pastry crust for 9-inch pie (2 crusts)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Stir in apples.  Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate; dot the top with small pieces of the butter.  Cover with the top crust.  Cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.  Seal top and bottom crusts, fluting the edges.  Cover edge with strip of aluminum foil to prevent burning.  Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Remove foil from pie crust for last 15 minutes of baking.

Plum Almond Tart

   This week at the CSA we got more plums. I don’t really like plums….. I can’t eat them raw because they make my throat itchy and I hate peeling them and cutting them. But I persevered and made this yummy dessert, so you can too!

Plum-Almond Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1998

Makes 1 9-inch tart or 8 4-inch mini-tartlets

For crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For filling
1/3 cup whole almonds (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons framboise (raspberry liqueur) or brandy
12 ounces ripe red-skinned plums, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges
1/4 cup red currant jelly

Whipped cream (optional)

Make crust: 
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first 3 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix 2 tablespoons ice water and vanilla in small bowl. Pour water mixture over dough. Process until moist clumps form.

Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in and press, forming double-thick sides. Using fork, pierce dough all over. Freeze 15 minutes.

Bake crust until pale golden, about 30 minutes (crust may shrink slightly). Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Finely grind almonds with sugar in processor. Add egg, butter and 2 teaspoons framboise. Process until batter forms. Pour filling into crust. Arrange plums atop filling. Bake until plums are tender and filling is golden and set, about 50 minutes.

Melt jelly with remaining 2 teaspoons framboise in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush jelly mixture over plums.

Cool tart. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.

What do you do with Tomatoes and Nectarines?

You make these two recipes! When I got the tomatoes at this weeks CSA pick up the only thing I could think of to do with them was make pasta sauce or something. Then I remembered I had an amazing recipe that called for 28oz. diced tomatoes and voila! I made this for dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato and Sausage Risotto
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Serves 4

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach (10 to 14 ounces), washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

  1. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  4. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

 

Now the next ingredient I was stumped on what to do with, was the nectarines. Thank goodness for Smitten Kitchen’s search bar. I just typed in Nectarine and got this beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle

3/4 cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 190 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons (9 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
Pinch of allspice
1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds nectarines, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Streusel
Reserved butter from cake (above)
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces or 64 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns. Set aside and let cool (the fridge will hasten this along).

Prepare you pan: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan, springform or cast iron skillet with parchment paper and butter the paper and rest of the pan generously; set aside.

Make the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and allspice in medium bowl to blend. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooled browned butter (set aside remaining 1/4 cup for topping), sugar and then eggs, one at a time. Stir in milk or buttermilk. Stir dry ingredients into this wet mixture; mix until just combined and spread batter in prepared pan. Toss nectarine wedges with lemon juice and arrange them in a single layer on top of the batter.

Make the streusel and bake the cake: Stir remaining brown butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt together until large crumbs form.Sprinkle the nectarine-topped batter with crumbs. Bake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack.

Blueberry Peach Ice Pops

       This weeks CSA bounty gave me more peaches. I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to make anything new or interesting with them besides some sort of cobbler. Fortunatly, Cooking Light provided me with the base recipe for these Blueberry Peach Ice Pops. I tweaked it a bit because there version didnt fill up my popsicle molds. I added vanilla yogurt to the bottom, and I used less sugar then their recipe called for. Hope you enjoy, I know my son did!

Blueberry Peach Ice Pops

5 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup peeled, pitted, and sliced peach (about 1 large peach)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and berries in a food processor, and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, pressing to extract juices, and discard solids.
2. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon juice and peach in a food processor; process until smooth. Place cream in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir one quarter of whipped cream into peach mixture. Gently fold remaining cream into peach mixture; chill. Divide half of the blueberry mixture evenly among ice-pop molds. Top with lid. Freeze 25 minutes or until set. Uncover and top each serving with peach mixture; top with lid. Freeze for 25 minutes or until set. Uncover and top each serving with remaining blueberry mixture. Freeze 25 minutes and then fill to top with vanilla yogurt. Freeze for 4 hours or until thoroughly frozen