A Galette of Cherry Plums with Vanilla Bean-Brown Sugar Crust

Racing through Costco recently I spied bags of a red fruit I did not immediately recognize…Cherry Plums….small, mottled red, looking like cherries on steroids or lilliputian plums.  I grabbed a bag for later investigation.

These ping-pong ball size stone fruit taste more like very spicy sweet plums than cherries. You, reader,  may know all about them, but once again I realize there are so many edibles in this world that I have not encountered…even in my part of the world….even at Costco!

Cherry plums are noted for their sweet, spicy flavor and are most commonly used for jams and preserves as well as for baking and are grown most commonly in the Middle East.

Pitted, sliced and sugared before being baked in my vanilla, brown sugar crust. Some stone fruit can totally collapse when baked in a pie as you know, but these Cherry Plums kept their shape and did not become mushy, but softened to the just-right stage.

Cut fruit swaddled in the vanilla-sugared crust then baked until golden brown and slightly caramelized.

It’s been a hard news week, a sad news week, a dramatic news week. Make something good happen in your world…even if it’s your kitchen world. It can be simple or grand, fancy or plain. Just make something good.

A Galette of Cherry Plums in a Vanilla Bean-Brown Sugar Crust

Ingredients:

  • 15 to 18 Cherry Plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • For crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
  • vanilla beans scraped from one vanilla bean
  • ice water as needed to mix crust dough
  • one egg mixed with a bit of water to brush on finished crust

Directions:

  1. Toss cherry plum slices in a bowl with cornstarch, granulated sugar and lemon zest until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Put all-purpose flour in food processor bowl along with 2 tablespoon raw sugar, a pinch salt & vanilla beans. Pulse just to combine.
  3. Add cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until flour is grainy looking.
  4. Slowly add ice water by tablespoons with processor running just until dough begins to come together to form a ball. Turn off processor and scrape dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Gather dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll chilled dough out to a circle (not a perfect circle) about 14″ in diameter. Fold in half and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and unfold.
  7. Pile cherry plum slices in the middle of the dough circle and fold edges up over the fruit leaving the middle open.
  8. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons raw sugar.
  9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly and just beginning to brown on the edges. Adjust time according to your oven. More or less.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note:  This Galette can be made with apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches or any berries using the same recipe.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburn1@mac.com

 

 

Cream Baked Cardamom-Vanilla Bean Pears

 

Pears in poetry, pears in art, pears in history, pears in life. Quintessentially feminine and delicious. Luscious when ripe and baked in cream, pears dusted with sugar, cardamom and vanilla. A simple plate of goodness.

Pears from our pear tree last summer. The tree is already heavy with young, thumb size fruit. The anticipation is dreamy.

Cut, cored and peeled. Baked.

Warm from the oven I can think of few things I like better than the first bite. Market pears will do until fall.

Cream-Baked Cardamom and Vanilla Bean Pears

Ingredients:

  • 4 small ripe, but firm pears, peeled, cut in half and cored
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, room temp, divided
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • beans scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Smear bottom of a pie dish with 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoons raw sugar.
  3. Mix together in a small bowl the remaining raw sugar, the cardamom and vanilla beans.
  4. Place pear halves, cut side down, in the bottom of the pie dish.
  5. Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons butter and brush over the pears. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
  6. Gently pour heavy cream around the pears. Place dish in the oven.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until pears are just tender and the cream has thickened.  Remove dish from oven to cool on a wire rack. Serve pears and cream warm or at room temperature.

Teresa Blackburn   www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

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Still Life with an Arkansas Black Apple Tart & A Scenic Road Trip

I realize that many of you lovely readers of Food on Fifth and fellow bloggers travel to, or are currently vacationing in, exotic locations around the globe while so many other blogger friends live in cities and countries far & wide. Celia is in New Zealand visiting family, Roger actually lives in France, Tina is based out of Frankfurt, Germany but  can be found in so many truly exotic spots it can make the mind reel. Selma resides  in London & Cheryl in Glasgow and Meg might be blogging about Verona one day and Virginia the next. My recent travels were of a more humble nature, yet iconically American.

A couple of weeks ago my well-traveled friend, Terry, and I purposefully took a road trip to Bentonville, Arkansas.  Deep in the Ozark forest is a wonder to behold, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We will return to this thread later…..

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Have you ever eaten an Arkansas Black apple?  From a road side stand in Harrison, Arkansas I bought a half bushel basket of these very crispy, deep red, right on the edge of black, apples. They are long-keeping apples and are said to turn almost black when stored.

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Last week after our return I gave away bags of these beauties to friends who love to cook. Jill at Jill Cooks Here took home a bag and Nancy at Good Food Matters just made a terrific seasonal cake with her bag.

These apples are very crisp and do not get mushy when cooked, but hold their shape and keep a bit of crunch when used in cakes & pies. I like this quality very much.

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 Maple syrup, brown sugar & cinnamon.

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A crust using the seeds of a whole vanilla bean, almond meal & Kerrygold butter.

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Filled and loosely….I like to think artistically….latticed.

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Sugared top golden browned.

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“Still Life with an Arkansas Black Apple Tart”

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Best eaten warm from the oven.

Arkansas Black Apple Tart

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

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Ingredients for Crust:

  • the seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Meal/Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour + extra for rolling out the dough (King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold/12 tablespoons butter grated or cut into small pieces (Kerrygold is my favorite)
  • 2 tbsp cold plain greek yogurt

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 5-6 Arkansas Black Apples, cored, peeled & sliced, or other seasonal local apple with a crispy, tart flesh
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg or any ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 whole egg well beaten for wash
  • Granulated Sanding sugar for dusting over the top before baking

Directions for Tart Crust:

  1. Put the 1 3/4 cups almond flour, 1/2 cup gluten-free flour, the vanilla bean seeds & the 1/4 tsp sea salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the cold butter & pulse a few times.
  3. Add the cold yogurt & pulse until a sticky dough forms.
  4. Scrape dough from the processor bowl, shape into a ball, wrap with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. This can be made the day before as well.
  5. Lightly grease a springform pan. Press 2/3 of  the chilled dough into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Set aside.
  6. Roll the other 1/3 of the dough out on a floured board and cut into lattice strips. Use as much flour as needed as this dough is very soft and tender.

Directions for Filling the Crust:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl toss the apple slices with the juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and dark brown sugar and toss again.
  3. Drizzle with the maple syrup and toss well.
  4. Arrange the apple slices in the tart crust snuggly. Top with the butter pieces.
  5. Place the dough strips over the top of the apple filling in a “lattice” pattern. As you can see perfection was not my goal, but I did want it to look pretty.
  6. Brush lattice top with egg wash and sprinkle generously with the sanding sugar.
  7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and the top crust is golden brown. If the crust browns to rapidly then cover the entire pan loosely with foil.
  8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Best served warm and of course would be extra good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Scenes from a road trip….

A couple of hours into our trip we had to stop at Billy Tripp’s “Mindfield” in Brownsville, TN…now an official Roadside Attraction!

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I always like to stop and wander about. A West Tennessee cotton field is a contemplative place.

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Heading into the Ozarks on a cloudy day.

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Bentonville, Arkansas. Home of Walmart. Old ad..a store wide selection of timely values.

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Bentonville is also home to the  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Sam Walton’s daughter, Alice, the powerhouse behind this beautiful space is an interesting read on Google. A stunning space for both it architecture, designed by Moshe Safdie,  and its remote location, it houses American art spanning 5 centuries of artists from Colonial times to the present.

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Other road side attractons…..

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Take a road trip….make a tart.

“Vanilla Bean-Pear Ice Cream”

pear ice cream

The branches of our “accidental pear tree”,  which in this year of good rains & sunny days, are heavy with lovely ripe fruit. This tree began as a small patio tree living for one year in a pot, then after an especially hard winter it seemed dead. In a last-ditch attempt to keep it alive Wouter planted it along the alleyway outside our back fence. Needless to say our tree has flourished by “accident”…no attention paid to it, no regular watering, left to fend on its’ own it has grown into a tall, many branched lovely Seckel Pear tree. Beautiful, smooth skinned & naturally sweet.

And…..all ripe at once! Earlier than usual. What to do? Give some away of course..eat many right off the tree…I will make some pear preserves later this week. Have you ever had Pear Ice Cream?

“Vanilla Bean-Pear Ice Cream”

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For this creamy, easy-to-make ice cream I used 5 very ripe pears, the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean and sweetened with some homemade Vanilla Bean Sugar (I shared this recipe along with how to make other aromatic sugars here.)

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Instead of coring the pears first I just peel them and cut the fruit away from the core & chop. Much easier this way. Orange zest really livens up the taste. Adding vanilla bean seeds and vanilla sugar added an extra flavor layer.  Instead of using all cream, half cream and half whole milk lightened things up a bit.

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Using my trusty Cuisinart electric ice cream freezer within 20 minutes it was ready. You can eat immediately as a softer-serve or keep in the refrigerator freezer for a more hard-frozen version.

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Pretty bowl of Pears.

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I love this song….”3 Pears” lyrics by Dwight Yoakam

Vanilla Bean-Pear Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup each – cold milk & cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (see below for how to make your own)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped out
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 TBSP orange zest
  • 5 small ripe pears, peeled, cored & chopped

Directions:

  1. In a glass pitcher whisk together cold milk & cream, vanilla sugar, vanilla bean seeds, pinch of salt & orange zest. Whisk until the sugar has almost dissolved.
  2. Pour milk-cream mixture into an electric ice cream freezer & process according to the machine directions. Halfway through the freezing process, add the chopped fresh pears & continue to process until mixture is frozen.
  3. Store pear ice cream in your refrigerator freezer until ready to serve. If you serve immediately you will have a softer serve ice cream.

Note on how to make Vanilla Sugar:

Place 2 cups of white or raw sugar in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Split two vanilla beans with a knife & put in the jar with the sugar. Add lid and shake jar a few time. Store for 2 weeks before using. When your jar of sugar gets low, just add some more to the vanilla beans in the jar.

Recipe by Teresa Blackburn      teresablackburnfoodstyling.com   foodonfifth.com

“Tiny Blood Orange Curd Meringue Tartlets to Celebrate Lunar Eclipses”

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If not for heavy low clouds full of moisture I would be able to see the Blood Moon tonight. There is a deep wet darkness between me and this eclipse of red. If you are one of the lucky ones and you do indeed see it and take a photo would you send me one? In the meantime I will share with you a short & sweet recipe that celebrates this auspicious occasion.

“Tiny Blood Orange Curd MeringueTartlets”

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Here is what you will need to make the Blood Orange Curd: 5 eggs, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 stick butter cut into small pieces, 2 tbsp grated Blood Orange zest.

To Make Curd:

1. In the top of a double boiler or a heatproof glass bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water whisk together quickly the eggs, sugar, Blood Orange juice & lemon juice.  Using the whisk stir mixture for about 10 minutes constantly.

Blood Orange CurdCurd

2. Remove from the heat & pour mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps. Whisk the butter pieces into the mixture until well blended & smooth. Stir in the zest. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap touching the surface of the curd allowing it to cool for 30 minutes.

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Here is what you will need to finish off the tarts:

Pre-made/Store-bought mini tartlet shells (one or two bite size), 3-4 egg whites, 1 tbsp sugar

1. While curd is cooling place tartlet shells on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Turn oven to broil.

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2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar over whites & continue to beat until glossy. Fill each tartlet shell with curd & top with a generous free-form dollop of meringue.

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3. Pop tray of meringue topped tartlets in the oven…keeping a close eye…and brown the meringues until light golden. This should only take a minute or two.

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As Easter is just a few days away wouldn’t these be just the perfect ending to an Easter Lunch or Dinner? Something about these meringues reminds me of Peeps?

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This will be my last Blood Orange post for 2014. The citrus season wans as the fresh produce season waxes. I enjoy these “food seasons” reflecting the movements of  the earth & the moon.  Goodnight (Blood) Moon.

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“My G7 Chocolate-Black Peppercorn-Orange Madeleine”

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In my little kitchen here on 5th Avenue I do not have “Night Watch” as a background, nor do I look out over a restful, flowing canal. I am not meeting with heads of state, but I did to manage to have my very own culinary “G7” meeting this week.

 A French Madeleine tin, Chocolate from Ghana given to me as a gift from dear friends (see photo below) of Wouter’s who live in Amsterdam, marketed as “Tony’s Chocolonely”…..

Case & Annemieke
Kees & Annemieke…good friends…good company…good people. Annemieke is a fantastic illustrator…take a look.

….Kerrygold Butter from Ireland, Madagascar Vanilla Extract,  Black Peppercorns from India and eggs hatched right here in Tennessee..a Food on Fifth G7!

Since finding a Madeleine Tin (made in France stamped underneath) at a Thrift store last year I have intended to try it out. I adore Madeleines…whenever I go to a bakery that sells them I will choose these little seashell shaped tea cakes every time. The crispy edges…the slight aroma of vanilla…not overly sweet…delicate in all ways is the Madeleine. They always remind me of the teacakes my Mother would make for us as children in West Tennessee, but way better…and French.  Why not add some really good chocolate? No?….oui!

Ingredients for “G7 Madeleines”

1/2 cup melted butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 ounces good quality 70% pure chocolate melted, 3 eggs room temp, 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns, 1 tbsp fresh orange zest + extra butter to grease the Madeleine tin

Chocolate from GhanaTony's...Chocolate Bar

Madeleine Ingredients

Directions: 2 hours before baking make the batter

1. Cream butter & sugar together until light & fluffy using a stand or hand mixer. Add in vanilla extract & melted chocolate while mixer is running. Turn mixer to low.

2. Add in eggs one at a time until well blended.  Mixture should be light in color and very fluffy.

3.  Fold the flour mixture, the ground black pepper & the orange zest into the butter-chocolate mixture very gently. Cover batter with plastic & chill 1 to 2 hours.

DSC_6786Batter for Madeleines with Freshly ground black pepper from IndiaOrange Zest

4. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter the Madeleine tin well using softened butter. Remove batter from the refrigerator.

Batter and Madeleine pan

5. Use a spoon to fill each “shell” with batter. When batter is baking it will melt and fill in the shape of the tin. (Another method is to put the batter in a piping bag and pipe batter into the shells.)

Chocolate Madeleine batter

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove tin from oven and turn Madeleines out onto a kitchen towel to cool. If you have extra batter (I did) then let tin cool, re-butter and repeat baking process. This recipe made about 16 Madeleines.

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Chocolate Madeleines

Soft and pillowy with crispy thin edges…chocolate with just a hint of orange & black pepper..international & local…a culinary G7!

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“Night Watch” (The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq) by Rembrandt van Rijn 1642

Bon Appetit Y’all

A Ruby Red Rio Star Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake for Dark February Days

Rio Star Grapefruit

Hold On! Do Not Panic! This is not a giant red asteroid about to hit the earth!

It is, on the other hand, a very close-up iphone photo of a Texas Rio Star Grapefruit that I just turned into the most delicious upside down cake.

Last year about this time I was writing about Blood Oranges and baking little tartlets. This year I have turned to Texas Rio Star Grapefruits & Upside-Down Cakes.  Deep winter is the only time I can find these ruby red-orange grapefruits in our local markets.

An Upside-Down Cake is such a classic and simple, homey & cozy dessert…the perfect foil for this jewel of the citrus world.

Rio Star Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake

This recipe was inspired by  a recipe for upside-down Blood Orange Cake I saw in The New York Times, Wednesday, January 16, 2013 in an article by Melissa Clark.  Here is my version using Texas Rio Star Grapefruits .

Here is what you will need:

2  Texas Rio Star Grapefruits

1 1/2 stick of Butter  softened + 1/2 stick for baking pan

2/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 TBSP freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

1/2 cup White whole-wheat Flour

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Generous pinch of Sea or Kosher Salt

1 cup Raw Sugar

4 Eggs

1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt

1 TBSP grated Rio Star Grapefruit peel

1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

Here is how you make this cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 1/2 stick butter over medium heat in a 10 inch iron skillet. Remove from heat. Stir the dark brown sugar & lemon juice into the melted butter. Set aside.

Butter & Sugar Melted

2. Slice off the top and bottom of each of the Grapefruits. Cut the peel & pith away from the Grapefruit. Cut peeled Grapefruit into 1/4″ circles. Remove any seeds.

Rio Star Grapefruit

3. Arrange Grapefruit slices over the bottom of the iron skillet covering the butter-sugar-lemon juice mixture.

Butter Sugar Melted

Rio Star Grapefruit Wheels

4. In a bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder & salt with a whisk. Using a mixer, blend together in a large mixing bowl the 1 1/2 stick softened butter & raw sugar.  Scrape down side of bowl when needed. Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition. Add zest, yogurt & vanilla extract. Add flour mixture by 1/2 cupfuls at a time to the butter-sugar-egg mixture until well mixed. Do not over-mix.  Batter will be thick. Scrape batter into the skillet over the grapefruit slices spreading out to edges  and smoothing top of batter.

Upside-Down Cake Batter

5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake for a few minutes in the pan.

Baked Upside-Down Cake

6. Invert cake upside-down on a large plate or platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Rio Star Grapefruit Upside Down Cake

Here, have a bite….

Rio Star Upside-Down Cake

This is a very moist cake, with a slight bit of crunch from the cornmeal, very citrusy and not too sweet. The colors are to die for and will make you very happy in these dark days of February.

Drink it or eat it, but get some Vitamin C however you can!

Rio Star Grapefruits