Sweet Cherry Jam and Cream Cheese~Cherry Jam Crepes

Dark sweet cherries make the most amazing jam. It doesn’t even compare to store bought jam. I just buy fresh fruit a lot of times before I even know what I’m going to make with it. My mind starts swirling with all the possibilities. Last week I made a coffee cake thing with cherry jam filling that I had whipped up. The jam had oozed out a bit and so I didn’t exactly lend itself to a pretty photo, but the cake was still delicious and the Hubs ate it all up for me; which I was glad because I was trying to avoid indulging in more of it. Usually if I park something wrapped in plastic wrap next to the coffee pot it’s fair game. Now the filling or jam I guess you could call it; ended up being amazing. I was dreaming of crepes this morning so decided to whip up this little breakfast treat and boy they are amazing.

The filling consists of taking cream cheese and sweetening it JUST a bit so it’s not too sweet but sweet enough that it pairs beautifully with the dark cherry jam. I love love love crepes. I don’t make them enough. They are so easy to whip up and I find making them one by one in the pan is strangely for me-methodically relaxing in an odd way.

Black Cherry Jam 

2 lbs. fresh dark sweet cherries, washed, pitted and halved

1/2 Cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 Cup water

1/3 Cup dried tart cherries (optional)

In a saucepan combine the cherries, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Heat the cherries over medium heat until they start to soften and break down a bit and the mixture comes to a boil. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water and add to the pan and stir constantly until it becomes thickened. Remove from the heat using an immersion blender until mostly smooth but a little chunky still.  Add in the optional dried sour cherries and allow the jam to cool.

Cinnamon sugar (for sprinkling over crepes)

1/4 C sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

stir together in a small bowl until combined.

 

Sweet Crepe Batter (makes about 10-12,  8 inch crepes)

3/4 Cup milk (2 % is fine) (room temperature)

1/2 Cup water (lukewarm)

2 eggs (room temperature)

3 Tbsp. melted butter (+ more for prepping pan)

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1 Cup all-purpose flour

1. In a blender pulse to combine all the ingredients except the flour. Add the flour then combine for about 20-30 seconds. Cover the batter and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

2. Heat a small (6-8 inch) non-stick pan over medium low heat and add a little smear of butter. Tip: I like to use the cut end of a stick of butter and quickly swipe over the surface of the pan. You’ll want to do this for each crepe.

3. Pour about 3 Tbsp. of batter over surface of your pan, pick up the pan off the heat and immediately swirl the batter (using a circular motion and tilting your wrist) in the pan 3-4 times until pan is coated with your batter. Set the pan back on the heat and heat until lightly browned; about 2 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick to pick up the edge of the crepe and flip it over to the other side and heat until browned as well. Move your crepe to a large plate and stack your crepes between pieces of wax paper while you continue making the rest of the crepes.

Sweetened Cream Cheese

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 Tbps. + 1/2 tsp. confectioners sugar

In a small bowl smear together with a small spatula or spoon until combined.

 

Assembling the crepes:

Smear a thin layer of the sweetened cream cheese onto a crepe and then spread about a Tablespoon of cherry jam over the cream cheese. Roll or fold over the crepes as desired. I folder mine in quarters. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the crepes right before serving.

*Store any leftover prepared/assembled crepes on a plate wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.


Passion Fruit Curd Tarts

Mini Passion Fruit Curd Tarts with Meringue

 

passion fruit tarts 2

Thank you my loyal followers for stopping by to read my blog. I know I’ve been kind of absent and have not posted as often lately. I recently had back surgery-3 weeks ago,  and I’m still trying to recover and I am not able to stand for very long still, so thank you for being patient! On to the subject at hand!

One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can make it in stages. You can make the tart shells ahead of time and keep them at room temperature in a covered container, and you can make the curd a day or two ahead and keep it stored in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to make it all on the same day; (perfect when your body is not cooperating such as mine).

I am absolutely crazy for passion fruit and I love it beyond words. I know unless you live near or below the equator it can be hard to find. If you cannot find fresh passion fruit you can use the frozen variety that you can find in either Hispanic or Asian markets that allow you to thaw it. One particular brand is Goya, which is a great brand.

I love these little tarts because the tangy tart but sweet floral taste of the passion fruit pairs nicely with the billowy marshmallow like meringue. I read online that it is possible to grow passion fruit vines here in Arizona. Hmmm, that is something to think about!

passion fruit tarts

 

fresh passion fruit

If you’re not familiar with passion fruit- the juice or “puree” is housed inside the seed pockets. Buy the fruit when it is as it’s ugliest- meaning, when it is wrinkly then they are ripe. You have to scrape out the fleshy pods and the juice will burst open. Smush it through a strainer to get the best consistency. The seeds or “pips” are edible. Some people do not care for the seeds, so mostly they are discarded. Other times you will see that a few seeds are left in a recipe, for visual appeal, but not usually all. Your choice!

 

Passion Fruit Curd Tarts

yield 6-8 three inch tarts

Short Bread Tart Dough

Note: this recipe makes enough for 12 individual tarts or one 9 inch tart (so freeze the remainder or cut the recipe in half to make 6 tarts)

1  1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1/3 C  confectioners sugar

1  1/2 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

lightly beaten egg white

In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed; cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla bean paste and combine briefly until smooth. In a small bowl whisk the flour and salt to combine. Add the flour mixture on medium low speed until the mixture is almost combined; there will be some bits at the bottom of the bowl. Stop the mixer and with your hands lightly  mix the dough together to incorporate any little bits until it is combined.

Measure a size ball of dough about a ping pong ball size and press the dough into the tart pans/rings until it looks fairly even. Chill the crust for at least 30 minutes before you bake them. I chill mine an hour so it helps prevent the crust from shrinking when baked. Once the crust has chilled, dock the bottom of the crust very well all over with the tines of a fork and blind bake the shells. Bake at 350 º F for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust looks no longer wet. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush the bottom of the tart shells lightly with a beaten egg white. The egg white will prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the crusts cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Passion Fruit Curd

(yield: ~ 2 cups)

1/2 Cup passion fruit puree, divided

1 tsp. powdered gelatin

1 Cup sugar

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

 

1.  a small bowl measure out 2 tablespoons of the passion fruit puree and sprinkle the gelatin over and set aside to bloom. Keep the rest of the puree for the remainder of the recipe in step 2.

2. Place the remaining passion fruit puree, sugar, egg, egg yolks, and salt in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until mixture reaches 160° F. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin until combined. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and stir in the butter. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly over the surface and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Note: you will have some curd leftover which you can freeze or store in the fridge to spread on scones etc. or stir into yogurt (coconut yogurt in particular is fabulous!) You can also stir curd into vanilla buttercream to make passion fruit buttercream.

Swiss Meringue

3 large egg whites

3/4 Cup sugar

Place the whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl (I use the bowl of the stand mixer) and place over a bain marie and whisk while heating until the sugar is dissolved and temperature is around 160° F. Remove from the heat and whisk until the mixture is billowy and fluffy and resembles marshmallow.

 

To assemble tarts:

Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of chilled curd into each tart shell. Top with a heaping scoop of meringue, and pull up with a knife to achieve some spikes or swirls.  Use a hand held torch to brown the meringues. Serve immediately. Store any leftover tarts in the fridge.

 


Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peach Butter

I cannot deny a biscuit. A good biscuit, that is. A soft fluffy buttery biscuit. Anytime a choice is given for biscuit or toast; it’s biscuit hands down.  How about a biscuit slathered with peach butter. Uhh yeah! These biscuits are moist and tender. The secret is the frozen butter you grate into the flour-it’s a bit time consuming to grate the butter, but worth it. This recipe evokes a definite southern flare. Visions of “Driving Miss Daisy” might dance in your head as you toss back one of these biscuits. All you need is nice weather, a porch, some friends, some sweet tea and perhaps a nice porch swing. They would be amazing if you have some Virginia ham laying around to layer onto a biscuit with a little cheese. Make the peach butter ahead of time or on a rainy day or when you have some extra time as it takes a while to become thickened.

 

peach butter with sweet potato biscuits

biscuit sweet potato

peaches

I used Autumn Red variety peaches for my peach butter; but use any variety you like

Peach Butter

yield: makes a generous 2 Cups

3 1/4 pounds fresh ripe peaches (about 8 -9 large) peeled and pitted, cut into 1 inch pieces

3/4 Cup water

1 1/2 Cups sugar

juice of one lemon

optional: scant 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Note: to avoid peach chunks turning brown while cutting; work fast, toss with fruit fresh powder, or add some lemon juice to the ice water that you use to shock the peaches in. To remove peels quickly from peaches-score a one centimeter x on the bottom of each peach, drop peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds then shock in ice water, peel off skins.

1. Place peach chunks and water in a stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Place softened peaches in a Vitamix or food processor and process until smooth.

2. Return peach puree into stock pot and add in rest of ingredients. Simmer puree for about 2-3 hours; stirring frequently until thick and when drawing a wooden spoon through mixture it takes about 10 seconds for the peach mixture to cover bottom of pot. Place in a clean jar or jars. Note: I did NOT sterilize and process as canned-since it is a small batch, but rather stored in the refrigerator; you may choose to sterilize and can if you want to store on the shelf. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

recipe: from chow.com

yield: 16 small biscuits or 8 large

2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 Cup whole or 2 % milk
1 Cup baked, mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium potato) [see note]
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
heavy cream, for brushing tops

[to bake sweet potato in microwave- pierce with a fork a washed and dried potato on a microwave safe plate and heat on full power for 5 minutes, turn over then heat for 5 minutes more. Wrap potato in tinfoil and let sit for a few minutes].

1. Heat the oven to 400° F and arrange rack in middle of oven. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a fork. In a glass measuring cup combine the milk and potato and whisk well with a fork. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater with large holes and combine with the dry ingredients. Add milk mixture to the dry and mix with fork until it forms a shaggy mass.

2. Turn out mixture onto a floured board and knead just until it comes together. Pat dough into 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds or squares. I used a 2 inch square cutter and got 16 squares. Place biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.


Holiday Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite things I love about Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce. I love how the sweet taste hits your tongue but then the tart bite sneaks up on you. As a kid I practically used to beg my Mother to let me be the one to open up the cranberry sauce in a can. I love the sound it makes as it comes out of the can, once the suction is broken as it slides away from the can. Ffffffwuppp. That sound- I only got to hear it once a year, but it had some magical way of announcing Thanksgiving once you released it from the can. Sure, there was the Macy”s Thanksgiving day parade, sure there was the chop chop sound coming from the kitchen as my Mother chopped vegetables for stuffing, but for me it was always the sound of that cranberry sauce once it slopped out onto the serving plate. I still love the taste of canned cranberry sauce, but given the choice, I now prefer to make my own. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to share with you this time, as we are getting ready for a major move and my house is in a major state of transition. Trust me though that this sauce is amazing. Is there anything better than the perfect bite of turkey, mashed potatoes mixed with a sweet bite of cranberry sauce? I think not. Okay, actually- I can think of one; a shmear of this sauce on a turkey sandwich with a bit of spicy dijon mustard and swiss cheese is a good second. Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

1  1/4 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup water

1/2 Cup orange juice

1 bag fresh cranberries

3/4  Cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 Cup golden raisins

1/2 Cup finely chopped granny smith apple

1/2 Cup drained crushed pineapple

zest of one orange + juice and as much pulp squeezed out as possible

1/2 lemon juiced

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 Cup dried cranberries (optional) [I like the added texture they bring]

1/4 Cup brandy

1 Tbsp. dark rum

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Add the fresh cranberries and boil for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer to allow cranberries to pop and burst. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool and serve, store any leftovers in the refrigerator.


Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

Summer is long gone, but I happened to have a beautiful bounty of meyer lemons remaining in my fridge thanks to my Debbie Meyer (no pun intended) produce bags. If you are not aware of Debbie Meyer “green bags” you have to try them; you can hold produce a lot longer without losing your produce to spoiling. If you are a produce slacker like me- they are invaluable. You can find the bags at Bed Bath and Beyond stores. I have been able to hold my lemons for several weeks now. My friend Jill was gracious to give me the last offering of lemons from her Mother’s tree. Thank you Jill!

Meyer Lemon & Vanilla Bean Marmalade

recipe: Bon Appetit

yield: ~ 4  1/2 Cups

1  1/4 lbs. meyer lemons (about 5 lemons)

5 Cups water

5  1/2-6 Cups sugar

1 vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste)

optional: additional vanilla beans for jars

pinch of salt

Working on large plate to catch juice, cut lemons in half  lengthwise, remove the pithy white membrane, then cut half moon slices very thinly crosswise. Discard seeds. Pack enough lemons and  any juice to measure 2 1/2 cups. Transfer to large nonreactive pot. Add 5 cups  water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from  heat; let stand uncovered overnight.

Measure lemon mixture  (there should be about 5 1/2 cups). Return to same pot. Add equal amount of  sugar (about 5 1/2 cups). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Add pinch  of salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Attach clip-on candy  thermometer. Maintaining active boil and adjusting heat to prevent boiling over,  cook until temperature reaches 226°F, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.  Cool to room temperature. Transfer to jars. Place a half of vanilla bean in each jar. Cover and chill. (Can be made 2  weeks ahead. Keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.)