Blue Goose Italian Prune Tartlets for the First Day of Fall

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It is an afternoon of dramatic lighting, rain and thunder.  Much needed cooling temperatures and a bowl of Blue Goose Prunes for baking simple tartlets.

They sit in an old metal bowl as  the light slowly dims seeming to have an inner glow.

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I am enchanted with the texture and flavor. Somewhat like a plum but not…smaller and more oval, just a bit dryer in texture but every bite as sweet.  I do think they will be wonderful baked in a simple crust.

DSC_1194A rare sight is a bag of fresh prunes in my local grocery.  Why is this? It seems this particular and specifically grown Italian prune, which is not eaten dried but fresh,  has a short growing season and is pretty uncommon in the Southern USA. A good reason to try these beauties while I have the chance.

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Cut in half and easily pitted….tossed with dark brown sugar & Ligonberry liqueur I leave them to macerate for about 20 minutes.

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Some whipped cream cheese blended with lemon zest and a bit more brown sugar.

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See how beautiful the flesh of the prunes are after their soaking? I am using some thawed, frozen homemade pie dough, rolled out and cut into squares, with a smear of the cream cheese mixture before adding a 5 prune halves.

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I gathered the dough up and around the fruit and then drizzled the leftover juice from the bowl of fruit into and over each tartlet. Ready to bake on a parchment paper lined sheet pan…..

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25 minutes later….warm, juicy fruit in a crispy, not soggy bottomed, crust!

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Finished with a  dusting of powdered sugar..

Blue Goose Italian Prune Tartlets

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Blue Goose Italian Prunes (or any other fresh prune or plum)rinsed & patted dry
  • Pie crust dough for a double crust pie (homemade, refrigerator crust, frozen)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup Ligonberry liqueur (or any not too sweet fruit liqueur)
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese at room temperature
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Half and core the prunes and place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the dark brown sugar and the Ligonberry liqueur over the prunes and toss well. Set aside for about 20 minutes for fruit to macerate. Toss with a spoon a few times during this time.
  4. In a small bowl blend the softened whipped cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lemon zest and juice together until spreadable.
  5. Meanwhile roll out pie crust dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle. Cut into 6 squares. Each should measure about 6 x 6 inches more or less.
  6. Smear an equal amount of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each square and top with 4 or 5 prune halves. Gather the dough edges up and around the fruit mixture to create a pouch with an open center. Place each one on the prepared sheet pan not touching.
  7. There will be some sugared fruit syrup left in the bowl where the prunes were macerating so pour this evenly into the openings of each pouch letting some run over the outside of the dough.
  8. Place sheet pan in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until tartlets are golden brown and crisp on the outside with a bubbly fruit center.
  9. Remove pan from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving dusted with powdered sugar. These are also very good the next day cold or at room temperature.

Teresa Blackburn       http://www.foodonfifth.com     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie

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There are some fruits in particular that have an inner glow. Light does not shine on them, but come from within. Summer peaches are one such fruit. They are ageless, timeless and have an art-historical romance that is inherent.

 I made my weekly pilgrimage to the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market to buy a paper sack of peaches from “The Peach Truck”. This is a weekly affair as long as they are on offer. I enjoy creating simple, delicious recipes using these peaches that do not cover up the natural flavors.

This is how it easy it is to make my “My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie”. The ingredients are Peaches, sugar, frozen puff pastry and fresh lavender flowers.

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Frozen puff pastry is readily available in most supermarkets. Look for brands that use real butter such as Dufour. I keep a box of this in my freezer at all times. Just follow the package directions and you  can’t go wrong.

Do you peel ripe peaches? I do not unless the peel is very tough. In this case the lightly fuzzy peel was very soft and edible.

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Muscovado sugar with its hint of molasses & white sugar flavored with fresh lemon zest….fresh lavender flowers….and ripe peaches.

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I used the puff pastry scraps to top off this free-form pie.

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Not overly sweet with just a hint of molasses-dark brown sugar & lavender made this peach pie come alive.

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Here, have a bite….

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“From blossoms comes, this brown paper bag of peaches we bought from the boy at the bend in the road where we turned toward signs painted Peaches. From “Blossoms” By Li-Young Lee

My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ripe, but firm peaches, rinsed, patted dry & sliced
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to pkg directions
  • 1/3 cup white sugar flavored with 1 tsp lemon zest, divided
  • 3 Tbsps Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lavender flowers (or 1 tsp dried)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Unfold thawed puff pastry dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper placed on kitchen counter.  Cut dough into a 10 inch square using a sharp knife. (Roll out somewhat using a rolling-pin if necessary.) Save scraps for topping pie.
  3. Lift edges of parchment paper and place dough on a baking sheet & sprinkle surface with 2 Tbsp of the white lemon sugar.
  4. Arrange peach slices on top of dough leaving a 1 1/2 to 2 inch border uncovered. Sprinkle peaches with Muscovado sugar and half the lavender flowers.
  5. Arrange scrap strips of puff pastry dough over top of peaches  and fold bottom edges of dough up and over the edges of the filling. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining white lemons sugar and lavender flowers.
  6. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until puff pastry dough is golden brown and crispy. Remove pie from oven and cool on a rack for a bit before serving. Wonderful warm with a scoop of ice cream or as is which is my favorite way to enjoy this seasonal dessert.

For Lemon Sugar to use in this or other desserts: add fresh lemon zest to white sugar and stir….use in your desserts to brighten up the flavors.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn June 2015

A Perfectly-Imperfect Golden Polenta & Pear Bundt Cake

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I wanted some cake, I had some polenta & pears. This is what I made.

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Three fresh, ripe red Anjou pears……..

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…and a new Bundt pan…things do not always end up the way you plan…

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…careful greasing, making sure I got into every crook, curve and cranny and the top of my cake still stuck in the pan! I really didn’t mind. I gently perched the pointed tops back on for this photo. The moist, just right sweetness, the fresh pears & golden polenta still tasted fantastic…that was really all I cared about. Life is not perfect, but delicious.

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Perfectly-Imperfect Golden Polenta & Pear Bundt Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 3 firm, but ripe, pears, cored, peeled & cubed
  • 2 tsps lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan well.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the polenta, flour, baking soda & salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer beat together the sugar, olive & canola oils, eggs & vanilla extract until pale yellow.
  4. Add dry ingredients to mixture and beat on low just until combined. Fold in the pears & lemon zest.
  5. Scrape batter into the prepared Bundt pan, gently tapping pan on counter to release any air pockets in the batter.
  6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Turn cake out onto a dish and cool completely. Serve in slices warm or room temp. This cake is so moist that is good for a few days.