sweet things Archive

Apple & Thyme Custard Tart

A couple of weeks ago, I went apple picking in Hood River with my friend Adriana.

Long before we picked our buckets apples, we had grand plans for them. Adriana wanted to try her hand at apple butter for the first time. I was determined to make a simple and unsweetened rustic applesauce. There would be cakes and pies and galettes galore.

apples

When I got home, I realized that I had picked a never-ending supply of apples. I successfully made (and canned) a batch of unsweetened chunky applesauce (and it was delicious). I made rosemary apple butter. I made butternut squash and apple soup (twice!).

After all of that, I still had apples.

I knew what I had to do with the rest of the apples — they needed to be baked into delicious treats — but I was a little hesitant. Truth be told, I’m a little terrified of baking desserts. It’s not that I don’t like dessert. On the contrary, I really, really like dessert. I just didn’t do a whole lot of baking in my younger years. You see, my sisters are the bakers in my family. I’m the cook. (I make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and they make all the pies. It’s tradition.)

All of that to say, I’m a little bit rusty in the baking department. It had been awhile since I’d made a proper tart dough, and I was a little bit nervous for how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out beautifully. It’s such a simple tart, and it really highlights the beauty of perfectly ripe apples. It’s simple, seasonal, and it might be my new favorite dessert. I’m not so sure what I was afraid of, but I’m glad I rolled up my sleeves and dove into a little seasonal baking.

I should do this more often.

Apple Custard Tart | Rosemarried

Apple & Thyme Custard Tart

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • TART FILLING:
  • 4 crisp apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ***********************************************
  • TART DOUGH:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, flour, and salt.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the egg and dry ingredients, and beat until the mixture comes together as an evenly formed mass. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Dough can be made one day ahead of time.)
  3. Once the dough is chilled, roll dough into a thin circle (slightly larger than your tart pan). Working quickly, line the tart pan with the dough. Trim off any excess dough that hangs over the edges. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
  4. Toss apple slices with lemon juice, nutmeg, and half of the thyme. Working from the outside toward the center, lay the apple slices in the tart shell in a circular pattern, overlapping them slightly.
  5. Gently whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, and vanilla, until just combined. Pour the custard mixture over the apple slices. Sprinkle the rest of the thyme over the custard and apples.
  6. Bake tart at 375 F until the crust is golden and center is set, 30 to 40 minutes. (Note: if you find your crust is browning too quickly, cover the tart with aluminum foil for the duration of baking.) Allow the tart to cool before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Joanne Chen’s recipe on Gothamist.com

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

http://rosemarried.com/2013/10/25/apple-thyme-custard-tart/

On Planting Fruit Trees (and a recipe for Blackberry-Blueberry Crisp).

Two weeks ago, I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate my 31st birthday. My mom and sister were particularly excited for me to open my gifts, as they had already informed me that they’d chosen the perfect gift. As I unwrapped the presents, a theme began to unfold before me: a beautiful vintage cobbler pan, a cookbook for rustic fruit desserts. And lastly, a gift certificate to a local nursery. Specifically, a gift certificate for fruit trees.

I didn’t get it at first. Don’t get me wrong, I love fruit trees and I was very excited at the prospect of having my very own. But I wasn’t sure why they were so excited to give me fruit trees. And then they explained it: they gave me the gift of fruit trees because I’m the one that’s staying.

I am a planter.

I am rooted here in Portland.

As I mentioned previously, my sister and her husband and daughter are moving to Minneapolis to work with the urban poor. Specifically, they will working with the large population of Somalian refugees that have settled in Minneapolis. (To read more about what they’ll be doing in Minneapolis, check out their blog.)

On Friday, my sister and I will pack all of her earthly belongings into a Subaru wagon and we will then drive halfway across the country. We’ll see a lot of Montana and North Dakota, and eventually we’ll land in Minneapolis. My mom, brother-in-law, and niece will fly out a few days later and will join us, as we attempt to settle them into their new life in Minnesota.

To be completely honest, I’m a little bit of a wreck. I’m just not ready to say goodbye to them. Selfishly, I want them to stay here, but, in my heart I know that it’s their time to go. I know that this is what they are supposed to be doing. I’m heartbroken, and yet so proud.

And while they are off in Minneapolis doing amazing things, I’m going to plant some fruit trees and put down roots. I’m going to do everything I can to provide them with love and support them from afar.

That being said, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to bake another cobbler or crisp without getting a little bit sappy. I definitely blubbered a bit while baking this crisp (and also while writing this post).

So without further delay, I’d like to share this recipe for you. It’s quite lovely.

(Note: I’m still undecided as to what fruit trees I want. I’m currently thinking I’d like a Meyer lemon tree and a blueberry bush. What do you think I should plant?)

Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp
(Adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

Note: The original recipe calls for 6 cups of blueberries (and does not use blackberries), which fills a 9×13 pan. I made less filling (4 cups of berries), and filled a 9×5 pan and a small ramekin. I did make the same amount of crumble as the original recipe called for, as I like to have a lot of crumble!

Ingredients
For the berry filling:
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
Juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried basil

For the crumble topping:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed in 1/2-inch squares
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease your baking pan (with oil, butter, or nonstick spray) and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Mash the berries a bit (with a fork or spoon), and season with nutmeg and dried basil. Transfer the berry mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse together the butter, flour, and brown sugar. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Once combined, add in the pecans and process for a couple of seconds – until the pecans are chopped and incorporated into the mixture.

In a small bowl, gently toss the butter/flour/pecan mixture with the oats, cinnamon and salt. When combined, sprinkle this mixture over the berries in the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crumb top is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. The crisp is great hot or cold, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

**Funny side note: I tried to make fresh basil whipped cream to go atop this lovely crisp. I made it two different ways, and each time it was a dismal failure. That being said, I scrapped the idea of basil whipped cream and topped the crisp with vanilla bean ice cream. It was super delicious.

Vanilla Bean & Lavender Panna Cotta with Fresh Peaches

I like to think of this dessert as peaches and cream, all grown up.

My husband, however, describes it as “milky jello.”

The funny thing is, he’s kind of right. Panna cotta is essentially milky jello.

However, I don’t think that description does this dessert justice. This panna cotta is light and creamy, sweet but not cloying. The addition of honey, lavender and vanilla give the dish a subtle and lovely complexity. In addition, it’s the perfect summertime dessert, as it requires very little cooking.

And it should be said that this dessert is just really, really pretty. Not only does it taste good, but it’s just so lovely to look at.

Therefore, I implore you, friends: go forth and make this milky jello!

Vanilla Bean and Lavender Panna Cotta with Fresh Peaches
(Adapted from Cherry Tea Cakes)
Makes 4 small panna cottas

For the panna cotta:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons honey
1.5 teaspoons culinary lavender
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

For the peach topping:
1-2 peaches, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon raw sugar

Method:
Prepare four small dishes (cups, mugs, ramekins, etc) by greasing them with a small amount of canola or vegetable oil. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water. Allow the gelatin to ‘blossom’. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and honey over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out all of the vanilla seeds. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Add in the scraped vanilla pod and the lavender. Heat for 10 minutes, or until the milk is warmed all the way through and the honey is dissolved and combined with the cream.

Strain out the vanilla pods and lavender, using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth. When the milk mixture is still warm, stir in the gelatin mixture until combined. Pour contents into the containers. Refrigerate for 6 hours (or overnight), until set.

30 minutes prior to serving, slice the peach(es) and toss with sugar, lemon juice, lavender and thyme. Allow the peaches to sit for 30 minutes or more, in order to get the juices flowing.

When ready to serve, remove the panna cottas from the fridge and top with a spoonful of the peach mixture. Enjoy!

Strawberry Lemon Ginger Ale Pops: Recipe Swap

When life hands you lemons – or a vintage recipe for Lemon Sponge Pie – make popsicles. (That’s what I always say, anyway…)

For this installment of the Recipe Swap, Christianna from Burwell General Store selected a recipe for Lemon Sponge Pie. The recipe actually looks pretty great (unlike the infamous “Ham Snails“), but I just couldn’t bring myself to bake a pie.

It doesn’t get hot in Portland very often, but when it does the whole city shuts down. We all turn into whiny, melty puddles. It’s a bit pathetic, really.

That being said, I am guilty of being a whiny, melty puddle this week. It was 102 degrees! There was zero chance I was going to turn on my oven. So, I turned Lemon Sponge Pie into Strawberry Lemon Gingerale Pops. I was really pleased with the results.

They were frosty, tangy, refreshing, and delicious – the perfect cure to my summertime woes.

STRAWBERRY LEMON GINGER ALE POPS
(Inspired by this recipe from What I Do)
Makes 4 popsicles

Ingredients:
1 bottle good quality ginger ale or ginger beer
1 pint of lemon sorbet, softened (Note: you will have sorbet leftover!)
6-8 strawberries, stems removed and diced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Method:
In a small bowl, mix together the diced strawberries, lemon zest, and grated ginger.

Place a spoonful of the strawberry mixture in each popsicle mold. Pour a bit of ginger ale (slowly, as it will fizz!) over the mixture, and top with a dollop of lemon sorbet. Repeat with each mold – strawberries, ginger beer, sorbet – until each is nearly full. Leave a very small amount of headspace at the top. Place lids/sticks the in the molds and freeze overnight.

And, please see below for the other creative contributions to this month’s recipe swap!



Strawberry & Mint Shortcakes: Recipe Swap

When life hands you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade. When life hands you a neck injury, however, it seems that you can’t make much of anything.

I’ve been stuck on the couch for three days. It hurts to move, it hurts to sit, it hurts to sleep. I’ve got my routine down: a glass of water, ibuprofen, ice (frozen peas) and heat (homemade sock rice pack). I watched an entire season of Project Runway yesterday. I’m going a little bit stir crazy. And while there’s never a good time to get injured, this weekend seemed like particularly bad timing. The Montavilla Farmer’s Market opened for its 6th season today. In addition, today is the deadline for the June Recipe Swap.

I’ve been planning this post for weeks. When Christianna (from Burwell General Store) emailed us the recipe for ‘Mint Pie‘, I knew that I was going to take the recipe in an entirely different direction.

You see, I’m one of the few people on the planet that doesn’t like the combination of chocolate and mint. I love chocolate. I love fresh mint. For whatever reason, I just don’t like them together. (Please don’t hate me!) Since it’s strawberry season in the Northwest – and since my mint plant is growing like crazy and threatening to take over the backyard – I decided to combine these two ingredients instead.

My apologies to all of the chocolate-and-mint lovers out there, but I’m officially on Team Strawberries-and-Mint. The combination is incredible! This dessert is a slight variation of a classic strawberry shortcake, but it’s the subtleties that make this recipe truly special. Perfectly ripe strawberries, purchased at the farmer’s market this morning. Fresh mint, plucked from my backyard. Hints of lemon, mint, black pepper, and cream. It all works together to create a light and airy spring treat that isn’t overly sweet or complicated. It’s just perfect.

STRAWBERRY & MINT SHORTCAKES WITH LEMONY WHIPPED CREAM
Adapted from Bite by Michelle
(Makes 10-12 shorcakes)

For the shortcakes:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely diced
1 stick (1/2 cup) chilled salted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk
Optional: Egg wash & raw sugar

For the strawberry topping:
1 pint strawberries
1.5 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white sugar
A couple grinds of black pepper

For the lemony whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Method:
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or knives, fingers, food processor, etc) cut in butter until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in mint and buttermilk, and mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead a couple of times and pat into a circle (with a 1″ thickness). Using a biscuit cutter (or juice glass), cut out the shortcakes. Place on a lined baking sheet, 1-2 inches apart. Optional: brush each cake with an egg wash and sprinkle with raw (or coarse grain) sugar before baking.

Place baking sheet in the oven on bottom rack and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, wash and de-stem the strawberries. Slice strawberries and place in a bowl. Toss with fresh mint, black pepper, lemon juice, and black pepper.

Mix the whipping cream, vanilla, sugar, and lemon zest together. Whip, using a whisk or electric mixer for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and billowy. (Be careful not to overwhip! You want soft peaks.)

When the shortcakes have cooled, arrange each cake on a plate with a generous dollop of whipped cream and strawberries. Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Bars

Every Tuesday evening, I meet up with six of my closest girlfriends.

We make dinner together. We drink wine, we talk, we laugh.

I look forward to it every single week. We’ve been making dinner together on Tuesday nights for almost 3 years now.

This week, we said goodbye to our friend Stacie. Stacie is getting married and moving to Spokane and is going to do all sorts of wonderful and exciting things with her life. I’m positively thrilled for her. But, she’s moving a lot sooner than expected – we thought we weren’t going to have to say goodbye until August. But, sometimes life hands you a curveball. In this instance, life handed Stacie a good job in Spokane. And the job starts now.

I’m horrible at goodbyes. But I showed up on Tuesday night with a bottle of champagne and some rhubarb bars. (I happen to think that bubbles and baked goods are a perfectly acceptable way to say goodbye.)

Here’s to you, Stacie! Safe travels and happy adventures, my dear.

P.S. I’ll see you soon, friend. This isn’t goodbye.

P.P.S. As for the rhubarb squares, they speak for themselves. We devoured them all in one sitting.

VANILLA BEAN RHUBARB BARS
Adapted from Two Spoons
(Makes one 8×8″ pan)

Crust ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Rhubarb puree:
3 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 a vanilla bean

Rhubarb topping:
1 (heaping) cup rhubarb puree
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup of white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon corn starch

To make the rhubarb puree (can be done ahead of time):
Place rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine rhubarb and sugar. The mixture will look dry at first, but as the rhubarb heats up it will release moisture. (You don’t need to add water, I promise!) Let the rhubarb simmer on the stove until it is soft and pulpy (10-15 minutes). When the rhubarb is soft, stir in orange zest and scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture. Allow to simmer for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture, using an immersion blender or food processor. Set aside to cool, or store in the fridge for later use.

Make the crust:
Mix together the butter and sugar until well combined (with a wooden spoon or mixer). Mix in the flour until the mixture in uniform. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. (Note: I ended up adding a little extra flour and butter to the mix, as I wanted the base to be a bit thicker). Place the crust in the freezer while your oven preheats to 350 degrees. Once your oven is preheated, remove the crust from the freezer bake it for 15-20 minutes, until golden at the edges. Remove from oven.

While the crust is baking, make the filling:
Whisk eggs and sugar together. Whisk in the lemon juice, rhubarb puree and corn starch until combined and uniform. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the crust. Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is set and just starting to brown along the edges. Allow to cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar (if you desire) just prior to serving.

Gin & Tonic Jellies: A Vintage Recipe Swap (and a Tribute to Mad Men)

Today is a big day.

It’s April Fool’s Day. Game of Thrones (Season 2) premiers tonight. A new recipe swap goes up today.

And there’s a new episode of Mad Men on tonight.

I adore Mad Men. I think the writing is fantastic, the sets and wardrobes are stunning, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Don Draper.

So I think that it’s entirely fitting that I’m giving my recipe swap post a Mad Men twist.

If you’re unfamiliar, I’m part of a Recipe Swap group that re-interprets vintage recipes. Christianna from Burwell General Store selects a recipe from an old cookbook and emails it to the group. We then create our own interpretations of the recipe, and we all post on the first Sunday of the month.

This month’s recipe was bizarre, to say the least. Christianna selected “Ham Snails“, in honor of the post going up on April Fool’s Day.

I read through the recipe a few times and to be honest, I was somewhat repulsed. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the recipe. Nothing about it sounded appealing to me. (And, I’m still in the middle of Lent, so I knew that I couldn’t actually make something with ham.) But for whatever reason, I kept coming back to the “jelly roll” part of the recipe. I wasn’t about to make a ham snail, but I could work with a jelly roll.

And somewhere along the way, a jelly roll turned into a jello shot.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’m happy that it did. I was researching classic cocktails to make for this evening, as we’re having a few friends over to watch Mad Men and Game of Thrones. And I cam across a recipe for Gin & Tonic Jellies. Done and done.

You see, the gin and tonic is my all time favorite cocktail. It is simple, crisp, refreshing, and perfect. I was giddy at the prospect of turning my favorite cocktail into jello. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone: these gin & tonic jellies are my ode to both ham snails and Mad Men.

Sure, it might be a stretch. But it’s a delicious (and boozy) stretch.

So happy recipe swap, everyone! (And happy April Fools! And Mad Men! And Game of Thrones!)

GIN & TONIC JELLY SHOTS
(Adapted from The Food Network)

10 ounces tonic water (I use Q Tonic Water)
6 ounces gin
4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 limes, hollowed and flesh/pulp removed (See note below)
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
Lime zest, for garnish

Note: If you would like to make jello shot lime wedges, first cut two limes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon or small paring knife, remove the lime flesh and pulp, leaving the “shell” in tact. Once all the flesh is scraped out, set aside until ready to use.

Pour half of the tonic water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the tonic (do not stir) and allow to set until the gelatin blooms (5 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat the rest of the tonic water and the lime juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the tonic to a low simmer and then whisk the hot tonic into the gelatin mixture. Whisk in the gin. Pour the mixture into shot glasses or hollowed lime halves and place in the refrigerator for 2+ hours (or until set). Garnish with lime zest. Keep chilled until ready to serve.