Star Spangled Fourth of July Berry Tarts

Looking for a stunning dessert to top off your Fourth of July cookout? What could be more patriotic than these starry mini berry tarts?  Raspberries and blueberries bursting under flaky pastry and adorned with freshly whipped cream assure a grand finale to your celebration.

Equipment needed: six 5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms

6-inch round cookie cutter

1 ½-inch star-shaped cookie cutter

Fluted pastry wheel

Ingredients:

Tart dough  (Make two recipes; don’t double recipe):

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2  t salt

1 T sugar

8 oz. (one stick) unsalted butter, cut in 1 T pieces

4 oz. vegetable shortening, in 1 T pieces

1 yolk from an extra large egg

4 T ice water (approx.)

Raspberry filling

Mix together:

1 pint fresh raspberries

¼ cup sugar

2 T Chambord (raspberry liqueur) optional

2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T cornstarch

Blueberry filling

Mix together:

1 pint fresh blueberries

¼ cup sugar

2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ t ground cinnamon

1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg

2 T cornstarch

2 T butter

Milk for brushing tarts

Raw sugar for sprinkling tarts

Whipped cream

Procedure:

Place flour in the workbowl of a food processor with metal blade. Add salt and sugar and pulse to mix.  Add butter and vegetable shortening.  Mix using a few quick pulses.  You should still see bits of better and shortening.  Add egg yolk. Pulse again for one second.  Add 3 T ice water around top of dough. Pulse briefly.  Continue to add just enough water to allow dough to hold together when pressed between fingers.  This is the crucial step.  If the dough is too dry it will crumble when you try to roll it out.  If you add too much water, the baked crust will not be light and flaky.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Don’t let a ball form.

Dump dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disk and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Roll out pastry dough, one disk at a time, to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out six circles.  Press into tart pans and, using your thumb, press up against inside rims.  Place in refrigerator while proceeding.  Cut out the number of stars you want for decoration with the star-shaped cookie cutter.  These are baked separately from tarts. Brush with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Cut a few ½-inch strips of pastry dough with a fluted pastry wheel to use for decoration.

Take tart shells out of refrigerator and fill with berry fillings.  You can fill a shell with one filling  or two fillings side by side.  Dot with bits of butter.  Decorate half of tarts with pastry strips arranged in a parallel fashion.. Brush strips with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Set tart tins on an aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet and place in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes until crusts are lightly browned and berry filling is bubbling. Arrange the baked star cutouts decoratively on tarts. Remove tins. Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2010

Photos by Sweetpaprika

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Cherry Pie with Fresh Tart Cherries

With fresh tart cherries appearing in the markets,  I just had to move my cherry pie post to the head of the class. I hope you love it as much as I do.

IMG_1189

There they were, glistening like the crown jewels, at this week’s farmers’ market.  Who could resist?  I couldn’t.  Plump, dead ripe, sour cherries,  the beginning of a succulent cherry pie.  Not frozen, not jarred, not canned nor, in my opinion, not sweet cherries, but tart.  If you ever wondered how cherry pie achieved its status in American food lore. this will clarify it all.

Pitted cherries

Dough

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

½ t salt

2 T sugar

8 T unsalted cold butter cut into 1 T slices (1 stick)

2 T Crisco

3 to 4 T ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until mixed.  Scatter butter  over flour mixture and pulse briefly. Add Crisco. Pulse again very briefly.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Pour 3 T ice water around bowl of processor. Pulse until dough holds together between thumb and fingers.  Add another tablespoon, if necessary, but don’t let ball form.  Place dough on work surface, pat together and press outward with heel of hand to incorporate butter into flour.  (Frissage)   Form into two 6-inch disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

FillingIMG_1212

3 pints fresh tart cherries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup + 1 T sugar

4 T instant tapioca

¼ t salt

1 t fresh lemon juice

1/8 t almond extract

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T butter

egg wash of 1 yolk and 1 T milk

raw sugar

Pit cherries. Place in a 5-quart Dutch oven along with blueberries, sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, almond extract and vanilla extract.  Heat and stir on stovetop until sugar and tapioca are dissolved.  Cool.

Roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.  Trim to a 1-inch overhang.  Roll out second disk and cut into ten ¾-inch strips. Spoon filling into pie tin.  Arrange bits of butter on top.  Brush rim of pie dough with egg wash.  Place five strips of dough across pie at roughly ¾-inch intervals.  Place the other five across pie at an angle revealing diamond-shaped openings.  Press lightly at rim to adhere strips to rim.  Pinch off overhang of strips.  Then fold overhang of bottom crust over strips and flute edge. Brush strips and fluted edge with egg wash and then sprinkle raw sugar on dough.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drips.  Then bake pie in lower third of oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn oven down to 325 and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juices bubble.  Cool thoroughly.  Serve with, what else, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Photos by sweetpaprika

Blueberry Lattice Pie

Blueberry Pie, Food & Wine Section Dating Symbol blogNeed a luscious Easter dessert?  Something both sweet and tart with a light buttery undertone?  Think blueberries.  Available year round and often sporting a more than reasonable price.  And if that weren’t enough, blueberries have been found to be a “superfood”, so good for you that you should go out of you way to eat them.

And what could possibly be better than eating them out of hand?  How about a mouth-watering blueberry pie?  You may be picturing a pie with the juices running amuck or worse, a gluey texture.  Not to worry.   I think you’ll find this recipe to have the perfect texture with a combination of jammy and whole berries.  Enjoy!

Dough

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 t salt

2 T sugar

12 oz. unsalted cold butter cut into 1 T slices

4 T Crisco

¼ to ½ cup ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until mixed.  Scatter butter over flour mixture and pulse briefly. Add Crisco and pulse again.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Pour ¼ cup ice water around bowl of processor. Pulse until dough holds together between thumb and forefinger.  Add more gradually, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary.    This is a key step. Dough should not look dry nor should it look wet.   Don’t let ball form.  Place dough on work surface, pat together and press outward with heel of hand to incorporate butter into flour.   Gather into a ball and divide in half.  Form into disks.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil to catch any filling that may bubble over.  Heat in a 400 degree oven while you’re making the filling.

Filling

4 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 t lemon zest

1 t fresh lemon juice

½ t ground cinnamon

¼ t freshly ground nutmeg

4 T tapioca flour (or cornstarch)

2 T unsalted butter cut into small cubes

Egg wash made with one egg beaten with a pinch of salt

1 t coarse sugar for finishing top of pie (optional)

Directions

Rinse and pick over blueberries.  Set aside 2 cups. Place remainder in a non-reactive saucepan along with sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and mixture is bubbling.  Stir and don’t allow mixture to stick to bottom of pan.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and tapioca flour.  Continue stirring until mixture has thickened and is lightly bubbling.  Set aside to cool.

Roll out one disk of dough to fit into deep dish pie pan.  Trim overhang and place in freezer while you roll out the second disk of dough for the top.  Using a pastry cutter, cut strips of dough 1 inch wide.  Fold the 2 cups of whole berries and butter into blueberry mixture and fill bottom crust mounding in center.

Lightly moisten top edge of bottom crust with water.  Arrange strips of dough across top spacing about ¾ of an inch apart.  Then add strips at an angle across the first set.  Press onto bottom crust and trim overhang.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Place in oven on preheated baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 for 25 to 35 more or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Cool on a rack.  Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Serves 8.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell  http://www.preston-campbell.com

It’s Pie Heaven!

Pecan Pie

Would Thanksgiving be complete without the traditional pies–pumpkin, apple and, of course,   everyone’s favorite rich and flaky Southern confection, pecan pie?

Pie dough:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

½ t salt

2 t sugar

6 T cold butter cut into 1T pieces

2 T Crisco

3 – 5 T ice water

Pace flour, salt and sugar in food processor bowl.  Pulse to mix.  Place butter and Crisco around bowl and pulse until mixture resembles coarse corn meal.  Sprinkle 3 T ice water around bowl.  Pulse briefly.  If mixture has not begun to come together add 1 more T ice water. Mix again until a ball starts to form.  Stop processor. Take out mixture and pat into a round disk on top of a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap around disk and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

Roll out dough and fit into a 9-inch tart pan (with a removable bottom) or a pie tin.  If tart pan, make edges thick enough so they will not shrink or collapse when baked.  If pie tin, lap edge over ¾ inch, fold under and make a decorative edge.  Place tin in freezer while you make the filling.

Filling:

2 ½ cups pecan halves

4 large eggs

½ C sugar

1 C dark corn syrup

½ C light corn syrup

1 t pure vanilla extract

whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coarsely chop 1 ¼ cups pecans; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine eggs and sugar.  Whisk to combine.  Add corn syrups and vanilla.  Whisk until well combined. Add chopped pecans, and stir.  Pour into tart shell.

Arrange remaining 1 ¼ cups pecan halves decoratively on top of tart and bake until crust is golden, filling is firm, and a cake tester inserted in center of tart comes out clean—about 50 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.  Serve with whipped cream. (Photo by sweetpapika.)

Turkey and Pie, Food & Wine on Dating Symbol blog

Victor Basks in Pie Heaven

I don’t know about you, but my Mom never placed a pie on the window sill to cool. That probably wouldn’t have been a good thing to do in Brooklyn. However, she was – and is – an avid pie baker. And even if the intoxicating aromas of her pies didn’t waft through the neighborhood, they certainly did permeate the house, as well as our hearts, especially this time of year. They still do.

Stunning Pies, Food & Wine Section, Dating Symbol blog

Very little says “comfort food” the way a home-baked pie does. For me it evokes memories of holiday celebrations, special occasions or even cozy nights of copious cups of old fashioned, perked coffee and conversations around the kitchen table. And as the saying goes, “easy as pie” is fairly accurate. A pie, to some, feels somewhat intimidating to make. It’s not really. Like all good crafting, it takes some practice. Trial and error with the crust, mostly. But once you have a feel for it, you’ll be making all your favorites with almost no effort at all.

Peach pie a la mode, Food & Wine Section Dating Symbol blog

Favorites. Yes, everyone has their pie heaven. For me, it’s most assuredly the pumpkin pie. Something about the sugar and spice and everything custard and nice. I simply insist on this standard for Thanksgiving, at the very least. Whether it’s traditional or a spin off featuring praline pecans. Serve it to me solo, with a dollop of whipped heavy cream or a la mode. I’m always game for at least two slices.

Another one of my joys is the all American apple pie. I recounted a few blogs back my annual apple-picking trek to Upstate New York. Well, the majority of my harvest is always delivered to my Mom’s house. Then she works her magic, creating her famous pies, some two crusted, some topped with cinnamon laced crumbs. Everyone waits in mouthwatering anticipation for them, as they are gifted to family and friends with a loving note. And love is the operative word here, because when it comes to baking a pie, affection is always the key ingredient.

Blueberry Pie, Food & Wine Section Dating Symbol blog

So, are you a seasoned pie baking professional or a beginner? For the aficionados, please keep it up. You’re bringing such bliss and delight to all your guests – and even to the world – with your home- baked creations. There’s something so homestead about it all. And our society needs a little more of that spread around. To the pie baking rookie, I recommend starting with the basics. Apple, blueberry, pumpkin. Guess you can use a pre-made crust dough. They’re easy enough to find. But take it from me; they don’t taste the same as a kitchen original. And they usually use lard. Instead, get your hands on a good recipe (I recommend Phyllis Kirigan for guidance) and take a leap of faith. Whether you’re using shortening or butter, be sure that you keep things as cool as possible. Ice water for incorporating the crust is a must. And remember, a little moisture at a time. You can always add more water if a bit too crumbly and dry. Adding more flour to a sticky dough and then over kneading it can produce a tough crust. That doesn’t work for anybody.

OK, so get your pie recipe handy. And start to bake.

Pumpkin PIe, Food & WIne Section, Dating symbol blog

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Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Written by Victor Ribaudo http://theribaudogroup.com
Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin,  https://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com
Food Stylist http://www.preston-campbell.com
Blog syndicated at http:/www.datingsymbol.com


Peach Pie Revisited

Ripe peaches at the farmers market

Selection for pie

Peaches' Destiny

Yes, I know, I’ve already published a peach pie AND a peach tart.  But I’ve made more pies and I have some new photos.

It’s that time of year again and peaches are at their peak.  If you  love peaches as much as I do, now is the time to grab your rolling pin, don your apron and go for it.  Here it is then, no corners cut, with a crumb crust for more complex flavor and texture.

Peach Pie with Crumb Topping

Crust:

1 ½ cups flour

¼ t salt

1T sugar

8 T unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

4 T ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter.  Pulse briefly.  There should still be bits of butter visible.  Add ice water around bowl and again, pulse briefly, just until dough holds together when pressed between your fingers.  Don’t let a ball form.

On work surface, press dough outward with the heel of your hand.  Pat into a round, wrap in plastic and chill for a half hour.

Crumb topping:

½ cup walnuts

1 cup flour

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup old fashion rolled oats

¼ t salt

½ cup butter, melted but not hot

While dough is chilling, prepare crumb topping in food processor.  No need to clean it first.  Pulse walnuts very briefly until roughly chopped.  Add flour, sugar, oats, salt and pulse for one second.  Transfer to a bowl, stir melted butter through and set aside.

Filling:

3 lbs. ripe peaches

juice from ½ lemon

1 cup light brown sugar

¼ cup instant tapioca

½ t vanilla

½ t cinnamon

¼ t freshly grated nutmeg

4 T butter cut into a ½ inch dice

Prepare peaches. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Cut a small cross in the stem end of each peach.  Submerge peaches in water, a few at a time for one minute.  Remove and let cool enough to handle. With a paring knife, catch hold of the cut skin.  It will pull off easily.  Cut peaches into ½ inch slices or into small cubes. Place back in pot you have just emptied.  Add lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Roll out dough to a 12 inch round.  Place in a deep dish 9-inch pie pan, crimp edges and chill for 15 minutes.

Pour off liquid that has collected in bottom of peach mixture.  This is very important to assure a firm filling and not a soupy one.

Place mixture in pie shell, heaping slightly in center.  Dot with butter and then top with crumb mixture breaking it into small clumps.

Place in a 400 degree oven for a half hour.  Lower heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for another half hour or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  Let cool.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Prepare to receive rave reviews.

[Edit]

Farmers Markets Continue in Full Swing

Tigerella tomatoes

I have been planning  my family meals around farmers market offerings.  Today I discovered these beautiful striped  Tigerella tomatoes at the Croton market.  They were sweet and juicy with a red interior.  I know it’s late in the season, but I still can’t believe I bought two trays of impatiens for a dollar a pot from Hodgson Farm.

The peaches are the star of my next post,  peach pie with a crumb topping.  The beets and tomatoes are from the Pleasantville market. Check out the adorable cupcakes from Flour and Sun Bakery in Pleasantville (a little side trip from the farmers market.)

Fragrant peaches at last!

The colors of summer!

Hodgson Farm Succulents

Colorful mini tomatoes

Uprooted this morning

Orange beets

Cherry Pie with Fresh Tart Cherries

With fresh tart cherries appearing in the markets,  I just had to move my cherry pie post to the head of the class. I hope you love it as much as I do.

IMG_1189

There they were, glistening like the crown jewels, at this week’s farmers’ market.  Who could resist?  I couldn’t.  Plump, dead ripe, sour cherries,  the beginning of a succulent cherry pie.  Not frozen, not jarred, not canned nor, in my opinion, not sweet cherries, but tart.  If you ever wondered how cherry pie achieved its status in American food lore. this will clarify it all.

Dough

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

½ t salt

2 T sugar

8 T unsalted cold butter cut into 1 T slices (1 stick)

2 T Crisco

3 to 4 T ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until mixed.  Scatter butter  over flour mixture and pulse briefly. Add Crisco. Pulse again very briefly.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Pour 3 T ice water around bowl of processor. Pulse until dough holds together between thumb and fingers.  Add another tablespoon, if necessary, but don’t let ball form.  Place dough on work surface, pat together and press outward with heel of hand to incorporate butter into flour.  (Frissage)   Form into two 6-inch disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

FillingIMG_1212

3 pints fresh tart cherries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup + 1 T sugar

4 T instant tapioca

¼ t salt

1 t fresh lemon juice

1/8 t almond extract

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T butter

egg wash of 1 yolk and 1 T milk

raw sugar

Pit cherries. Place in a 5-quart Dutch oven along with blueberries, sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, almond extract and vanilla extract.  Heat and stir on stovetop until sugar and tapioca are dissolved.  Cool.

Roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.  Trim to a 1-inch overhang.  Roll out second disk and cut into ten ¾-inch strips. Spoon filling into pie tin.  Arrange bits of butter on top.  Brush rim of pie dough with egg wash.  Place five strips of dough across pie at roughly ¾-inch intervals.  Place the other five across pie at an angle revealing diamond-shaped openings.  Press lightly at rim to adhere strips to rim.  Pinch off overhang of strips.  Then fold overhang of bottom crust over strips and flute edge. Brush strips and fluted edge with egg wash and then sprinkle raw sugar on dough.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drips.  Then bake pie in lower third of oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn oven down to 325 and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juices bubble.  Cool thoroughly.  Serve with, what else, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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