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!
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.
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.
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.
I used Autumn Red variety peaches for my peach butter; but use any variety you like
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.
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.
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.)
My little Seth is a biscuit fiend. He loves a good biscuit, and quite frankly who doesn’t ?? I had some leftover buttermilk from the cake I made earlier in the week and I always try to use it up when I can before it goes bad, so I decided to treat him and make some biscuits. I’m making chicken noodle soup today for dinner, so these biscuits will be a nice treat with the soup and for a quick breakfast with jam.
This blackberry jam is stress free jam. No sterilizing, no canning, no pectin; just a few simple ingredients and some time on the stove stirring, and voila you’ve got something scrumptious to slather on a fresh biscuit. Blackberries can be quite pricey, so when I saw them on sale I grabbed a couple of containers which is just enough to make this lovely jam. The jam will last about a month in the fridge if it’s stored in an airtight container.
Buttermilk Biscuits and Blackberry Jam
Biscuits: (yield: 8 biscuits)
1 Cup cake flour
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inches pieces, (kept cold until ready to use)
1 1/3 Cup buttermilk (kept cold until ready to use)
half-n-half (to brush on top)
kosher salt (optional) for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat the oven to 400 º Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place both the flours, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chilled cubes of butter and with a pastry blender combine until the mixture resembles coarse peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the cold buttermilk and with a fork combine until it comes together.
3. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and gently knead the dough a few times and pat into a thickness that is about 1-1 1/4 inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and brush with the half and half. Bake for about 20- 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
4. Remove the tray from the oven and brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
5. Serve warm.
Small Batch Blackberry Jam (yield: 1 generous cup)
2 Cups fresh Blackberries; washed
1 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients and with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon; bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick. Let the mixture cool slightly and strain through a strainer to remove seeds (or not if you don’t mind the seeds). Refrigerate any leftover jam in an airtight sealed container. It will keep about a month in the fridge.
Spiced Blood Orange Marmalade
Blood oranges are one of those things when they are good, they are really good and when they are bad, well…. they are not that great.
I’ve been stalking the markets lately in hopes of finding some and yesterday I found some a the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. I was so excited the moment I saw them. If you have never had a blood orange, you must try one if you get the chance! When picking a good one, look for the reddish blush of color on the outside skin, if you don’t see any reddish hue; seek out another one. When they are ripe, they are really sweet. They are great sectioned into salads and when juiced, they yield a pretty ruby red color. One of the great ways to enjoy one is juice one and add to a glass with ice and fill with either sparkling soda, lemon-lime soda or skip the ice and replace with chilled champagne.
I was in the mood for making marmalade but not the conventional way that takes a while and is a lengthy process. I found this recipe in the cookbook Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma. Her recipe uses pink peppercorn and coriander seeds but I decided to go a different route and used cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon. The beauty of this recipe is that it is a small batch and it does not require too much effort. I like to call it “Lazy man’s marmalade”.
Spiced Blood Orange Marmalade (recipe adapted from cookbook: Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma)
yield: About 2 cups
3 Medium blood oranges
2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup blood orange juice
1/2 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ( I used one meyer lemon and 3 small lemons to equal 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
Wash the oranges well. Slice the oranges with their skin into rounds, then cut the slices into small, even dice.
Notice the orange on the left side of the board; this one is a good example that is not that sweet; the skin on the outside did not have hardly any red hue to it and you can see the flesh inside is not red.
Place the diced oranges in a large saucepan, then add the sugar, blood orange juice, and lemon juice. Stir well. Add in the vanilla bean paste, cinnamon and cardamom. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the marmalade to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching.
Cook the marmalade until the peel of the oranges is tender and translucent and the liquid is thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool before storing in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated.
p.s. I think this would be amazing spread on biscuits the next time you serve fried chicken, pull this out!