Nut Crusted Fruit Tart Re-Visited

Nut Crusted Fruit Tart Re-Visited was in the make as we ate the first tart.

So delicious, we started talking how we could modify the recipe.

The second Nut Crusted Fruit Tart

The second Nut Crusted Fruit Tart

This is how we changed it.

For the Crust:

Keeping in mind the ratio is 1 cup dried fruit to 1 cup nuts, the possibilities are limitless!

This time we used:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 pitted prunes
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Look at that crust! I love how the cranberries and pistachios look!

Look at that crust! I love how the cranberries and pistachios look!

This made a beautiful crust! Just process it all in a food processor and press it into your pan. The consistency should hold together when your squeeze a bit of the mixture in your hand. If it doesn’t, add more dried fruit until it holds together.

Fruit Filling

This time we had a bit of each of these fruits on hand:

  • Mango
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Bananas

This time I photographed how to lay in the bananas.

Tyler asked if the bananas could be substituted but the role they play is to provide a nice base for the fruit to lay on also, to absorb some of the juices. The bananas also mimic the custard, pastry cream  or marzipan filling on traditional fruit tarts. Here’s how you lay the bananas in the pan.

Flatten the bananas into the pan, cut side down.

Flatten the bananas into the pan, cut side down.

We were short on strawberries for the puree, so we pureed a mango instead. I think kiwi puree would look amazing!

Place strawberries on top of the bananas

Place strawberries on top of the bananas

Add the puree the edge with raspberries and blackberries

Add the puree the edge with raspberries and blackberries

On top of the bananas, we placed sliced strawberries, then poured the mango puree over the top of the tart. Then we placed raspberries and blackberries around the edge, a ring of blueberries, then a ring of blackberries, leaving the center open to show the brilliant mango color in the center.

A nice slice!

A nice slice!

To maintain a healthy dish, instead of adding that tempting dollop of whipped cream, use Greek yogurt flavored with honey and vanilla instead. And if mint was growing outside now, I’d also add a mint leaf or two.A nice slice!

Here’s the thing about this tart:

No cooking! All you need to make this is a knife, cutting board, a food processor large or small, a tart or pie pan.

Since Tyler is moving back on campus next semester, he will use his Kitchenaid “Handy-Chopper” which is a nice small convenient unit.

Tyler has decided to use this as his signature go-to dish. I think his roommates will be impressed.

Nut crusted Fruit Tart with Mango Puree

Nut crusted Fruit Tart with Mango Puree

Nut Crusted Fruit Tart

Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

This Nut Crusted Fruit Tart was presented to me by my son who is home for the holidays; “Hey, Mom, I’d like to make this!”

“Did I mention I was dairy, fat, meat and caffeine-free in my diet now?” he asked. Alrighty now, time to adapt and modify the menus .

This is a tart he wanted to make for a while now, but lacking a food processor, he brought the recipe home so he could finally make it. Well actually, “we” made it. I helped with the crust and he did the rest.

It is quite simple and goes together rather quickly. It chills for at least an hour, overnight would be best. If you can wait that long.

We used a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, but you can use a pie tin as well.

You will also need a food processor. There isn’t enough “stuff” for a blender to function properly, especially when pureeing the 4 ounces of strawberries.

Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit TartNut Crusted Fruit Tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  • 2-3 fresh bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 8 – 10 ounces fresh strawberries:
    Puree 4 ounces; slice remaining strawberries. Set puree aside.
  • 1 – 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, whole
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries, sliced in half lengthwise

Method:

Using a food processor, process the crust ingredients until chopped fine and sticky. After processing the crust, use the same bowl and blade to puree the strawberries. (Saves clean up!)

Press the crust into the pan, press firmly along edges and into the curve of the pan. Make sure the sides are thick enough to Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tartsupport themselves when removed from the pan.

Line the bottom of the crust with the bananas cut lengthwise, cut side down. Gently press the bananas into place along the edge and bottom.Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

Top bananas with sliced strawberries, then pour the strawberry puree over the top, filling in any spaces or gaps.

Place fresh raspberries along the entire outer rim of the tart; then place halved blackberries and mandarin oranges in a decorative manner.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour, preferably overnight, before slicing and serving.

This is fast, easy, delicious and makes an impressive dessert for anyone, even  vegans. It might work for those on a raw food diet as long as the friction from the food processor doesn’t count as “heat”. I don’t think it gets hot enough to qualify for that.

No added fat except what is naturally found in nuts, no added sugar, no baking! And it tastes delicious.

Try it, we hope you’ll like it!Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

Please let us know what you think.

Easy Sandwich Rolls

When it comes to a good easy sandwich roll, a homemade one is hard to beat. Finding a great recipe is also a bit of a challenge.

I wanted a recipe that didn’t require an overnight sponge or two rising times. I wanted a recipe that could be done in just a couple of hours and have good texture and great flavor.

The recipe had to be versatile and most of all, fun.

First is the recipe as I made it and after, is a basic recipe that can be modified easily to give youSandwich Rolls a whole bunch of different results.

With practice, you could have these ready to eat within 2 hours.

Easy Sandwich Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non fat milk
  • 5 ounces water
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup mixed grains and seeds; soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Wash and topping:
  • 1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water
  • Sesame and poppy seeds and coarse salt

Method:

Remove the egg from the refrigerator and crack it into a bowl. Beat it slightly with a fork, set it aside to come to room temperature.

Heat the milk, water and honey with the butter just until the butter melts. Cool until the temperature falls below 120°F then beat in the egg.

Measure 2 cups of AP flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. On low-speed, add the cooled milk mixture until a dough forms.

Slowly add the remaining flour a bit at a time. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl and will not be sticky when enough flour has been added. You may need to add additional flour beyond what is called for in the recipe.

Once a soft non sticky ball has formed, knead for 5-8 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Zero a scale and weigh the dough mass. Determine how many ounces of total weight you have. You can determine how many rolls to make in one of two ways.

1. Divide the total weight in ounces by how many rolls you need. Then cut off dough balls that of that weight and all rolls will be the same size.

2. Decide how large you want the rolls. The rolls featured are 3.2 ounce dough balls.

Seeded Sandwich Rolls

  • small slider rolls – 2 ounces – bake 10-12 minutes
  • sandwich or burger size rolls – 3.2 ounces – bake 12-14 minutes
  • large sandwich rolls – 4 ounces – bake up to 20 minutes
  • Hot Dog Buns: 4 ounce rolled into oblong shape, slice open on top or side – bake up to 20 minutes

As the dough balls are weighed, round each dough ball to create a smooth top. Place them 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle a bit of cornmeal under the rolls.

Place the smooth dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, cover with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick oil. Let the rolls rise until they double in size – in a warm kitchen this may take 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400°F

Once the rolls have risen, glaze them gently with egg yolk and sprinkle with seeds. The egg yolk helps the seeds stick and gives a nice shine to the finished roll. Brush the egg yolk on with a brush, being careful not to deflate the risen roll.

Bake the rolls in a 400°F oven for 12-15 minutes; 10-12 for the small rolls and up to 20 minutes for the larger rolls.

Verify internal temperature has reached 210°F and then cool the rolls on a rack. Be sure to space them so they don’t become soggy while cooling.

The final internal temperature should reach 210°F for any size.

Once the rolls have cooled, slice them open and fill with your favorite sandwich filling. The rolls are tender, absorbent to hold juicy fillings without getting messy, taste really good and look fantastic.

Once you see how easy it is to make these sandwich rolls, you’ll make them again and again.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a Sandwich Roll with Cabbage and Kale Slaw and Sweet Pickle Chips

BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a Sandwich Roll with Cabbage and Kale Slaw and Sweet Pickle Chips

Plain White Sandwich Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • 1 room temperature egg, beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups bread or AP flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Follow the same directions as the multi-grain rolls.

Use different toppings or slash the tops of some rolls for different looks.

If you use dried minced onions or dried minced garlic on the top of the unbaked rolls, be sure to soak the dried onions or garlic in a small amount of water before using as a topping. If they are not hydrated, they will burn and taste bitter.

Try adding cheese or shredded zucchini in place of butter to the recipe.

Use them as dinner rolls, give a bag to your neighbor.

To me one of the best parts of a sandwich is good bread. This is a great start.

Try them and let me know what you think and if you tried anything different.

Sandwich rolls

Sandwich rolls

Lavash – An Easy Cracker to Make

Lavash

Lavash

Lavash is such an easy cracker to make I think if more people knew how, more people would make them.

So here goes my attempt to teach everyone how to make Lavash.

Here is another added bonus, this recipe also makes great pita bread! Just weigh the dough balls to 4 ounces and roll it to 1/4 inch think.

Bake them on a baking stone in a 500°F oven. (Yeah, that’s HOT!) Place the dough disks onto the baking stone, wait for them to poof and begin to brown. Remove them to a cooling rack to cool. Lovely pita!

Sometimes I’ll make two 4-ounce pita and roll the rest out into lavash. Sometimes it’s all lavash others, all pita. Either way , this is a great formula and it comes to you by way of Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Bakers Apprentice, which if you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. But only if you like to bake bread.

OK!

Back to Lavash!

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • Spray bottle with water (hopefully you have one dedicated to baking!)

DSC_0021Some topping suggestions:

  • Sesame seeds, both white and black
  • Poppy seeds
  • Cumin and caraway seeds
  • Sweet and/or hot Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 7 seed mixtures

To make crackers:

Put all ingredients into a bowl of an electric mixer, add enough water to bring everything into a ball. You may only need 1/3 of a cup or you may need all the way up to 1/2 cup. If you need more than that, add it only 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Inf using an electric mixer to knead, knead the dough 6 minutes on medium speed. If kneading by hand, do it for 10 minutes.

The dough should be firm to the touch, satiny and not sticky.

Oil a bowl, roll the dough ball in the oil so it gets a light coating. Place the dough in the bowl and allow to rise for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

If you don’t feel like finishing the crackers now, you can store the dough in the refrigerator overnight at this point.

If you want to make a couple of pita, weight out 2 4-ounce balls, give them an initial roll and set aside to rest.

Line the back side of a sheet pan with parchment paper. (The crackers get baked on the backside of the sheet pan.)

On a lightly oiled or floured surface, roll the dough into a paper-thin sheet. You may need to lift the dough to ensure it isn’t sticking to anything during this rolling process.

If, while rolling, the dough ‘fights’ you by shrinking back, cover it with a clean towel or piece of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the thin dough onto the parchment lined sheet pan. Spray with water and sprinkle on the topping of your choice.

You can cut the dough into crackers or long strips using a pizza cutter before baking. Don’t worry about separating the crackers now, they will snap apart once cooled.DSC_0006

Bake the crackers in a preheated 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Freshly baked crackers are a real treat to share with anyone dropping by for a glass of wine and a few nibbles. Don’t be surprised if your Lavash crackers become a topic of interest!

How to Make a Paper Cone for Piping

Paper cones ready to use

Paper cones ready to use

Knowing how to make a paper cone for decorating can save you a lot of headaches if you have some decorating of pastries to do.

The paper cones can be filled with melted chocolate, various glazes and thinned icing for writing on cakes or drizzling pastries or creating piped designs.

Best of all, no tip is needed and when you are done, simply throw the cone away.

It takes a few practice units to get it right, but after you do, it’s like learning to ride a bicycle, you don’t really forget how.

Here’s how:

IMG_5353

Lay out a piece of parchment paper.

IMG_5354

Fold it so it forms a square. There may be an extra piece to cut off at one end.

IMG_5355

Remove the piece you don’t need. I find cutting with a sharp knife works best.

IMG_5357

Fold the square into a triangle and cut to make two triangles.

IMG_5359

With the triangle, you have the top tip and two points along the long edge. Bring one of the bottom points up to meet the top tip as shown.

IMG_5360

Close up, bring both points on the long edge up to this top tip.

IMG_5364

With all three points together, adjust the cone so the pointy tip is closed. You can adjust the opening by moving the points. Play with this to see how it works. You will need to know how this works later when piping.

IMG_5365

Using the tips, you can move them to adjust the size of the opening.

IMG_5367

Fold the edges to secure. (NO TAPE!) Folding, if done correctly, is all you need to hold these together. Practice!

IMG_5368

A finished paper cone

IMG_5362

Moving the points on the long edge up to the tip on the top of the triangle allows you to control the size of the opening.

IMG_5352

Paper cones ready to use!

 

Cinnamon Almond Pistachio Danish Ring

If you think “Cinnamon Almond Pistachio Danish Ring is a mouthful to say, Just wait until you taste it! When I made it, we were lucky to have an event to go to that evening. I sliced it, (ate one, well OK, two; one later though, not two at once ) and took it along to answer phones at the WTVI PBS fundraiser.

DSC_0001To make the dough, I used a yeast raised sweet dough from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. While this dough isn’t as rich as a brioche, it is much easier to handle.

To make the dough you will need:

  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, fine
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature (Do not exceed 100°F or it will kill the yeast)

Cream the sugar, salt and butter together using a paddle attachment, add eggs and lemon zest, whip until smooth.

Add the flour, yeast and milk, mix on low-speed until it forms a ball. Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you work, the dough may stick to the bowl, and there may be “forgotten” flour on the very bottom, scrape it all down and mix together.

Either using a dough hook or by hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and not tacky and sticky. If needed, you may need to use a bit of flour or water during this process.

Coat a bowl with a small bit of oil, place the kneaded dough into the bowl, make sure the dough ball is also covered with a light oil coating to prevent sticking. Cover the bowl with plastic and allow to double in size. Usually this can take up to 2 hours or more, depending upon the warmth of your kitchen.

If you oven has a proofing setting, use it. If you have a gas oven, the pilot light is often enough to maintain about 100°F. If you have an electric oven, turn your oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes, turn it off and it should be good to go. Check it though as you do not want a hot oven, just slightly warm.

Risen dough about to hit the work bench

Risen dough about to hit the work bench

When the dough has doubled, transfer it to a lightly floured counter and roll it out into a rectangle as best you can.

Adding the cinnamon sugar gives you a couple of options. First you can spread soft butter over the dough and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the butter OR you can mix the cinnamon sugar with the butter to make a spread.

This is what I did for this roll.

Mix 1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar with 1/3 cup soft butter. Combine until the mixture is uniform. You can also decide to add additional flavors like ground ginger, cardamom or other ground warm spices.

Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough, leaving a slight edge for sealing the roll.

Roll into a log

Roll into a log

Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a large, long log.

Bring the ends of the log together and form a ring.

Bring the ends together to form a ring

Bring the ends together to form a ring

Note: If you want to pre-cut the ring, do it before it rises.

Place the ring on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash and cover with a well oiled piece of plastic wrap.

Allow to double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F

Egg wash again and sprinkle the surface with sliced almonds and chopped pistachios and sanding sugar if desired.

Sprinkle the top with almonds and pistachios

Sprinkle the top with almonds and pistachios

Bake the ring in the 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes. The internal temperature of the very center of the thickest part of the ring needs to read at least 190°F or else you will end up with raw dough, which isn’t very pleasant.

If the ring is getting too brown before it is done, cover it with either tin foil or parchment.

Remove the baked ring from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool. Once cool, make a vanilla glaze by combining confectioners sugar with vanilla extract and a bit of milk to drizzle consistency. Drizzle it over the ring, slice and serve.

This is fantastic with a nice cup or coffee or tea. I like to serve it with fresh berries on the side.

Serving the danish ring

Hamantashen! Shortbread and Jam Filled Cookies

Hammentashen

Hamentashen

Hamantashen are lovely cookies that can be a bit of a challenge to get the hang of making. These tasty morsels are made for the Jewish celebration of Purim. Since I’m not Jewish, I’ll not attempt to tell you the story, I’ll show how to make the cookies instead.

I have several Jewish friends so making these was fun and a nice surprise to give away.

Some basic notes, the cookies are cut out of circles that are folded into triangles to resemble hats. Who wore the hats, I’m not sure but they are part of the celebration.

Notice the direction say “folded” not pinched! For some odd reason if you pinch them, they open while baking; folded, they turn out perfect.

Here is what you need:

Hamantashen

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces butter at room temperature
  • (6 ounces or 1-1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup of butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the soft butter and sugar with a paddle until incorporated, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture a third at a time to the butter, sugar and egg mixture, process just until the mixture is combined. Don’t mix it a long time as gluten will develop resulting in a tough cookie rather than a tender one.

IMG_5201Divide the dough in half and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

Cut 3-4 inch circle, brush with egg wash, add your filling and fold the circles into triangles.

Roll out the dough and cut circles (3 or 4 inches)

Roll out the dough and cut circles (3 or 4 inches)

Lay the disks on a parchment lined baking sheet and add the filling of your choice: Any fruit jam, peanut butter, chcolate chips, poppy filling, prune filling, raisin filling etc.

Lay the disks on a parchment lined baking sheet and add the filling of your choice: Any fruit jam, peanut butter, chocolate chips, poppy filling, prune filling, raisin filling etc.

 Egg wash the edges, Fold the circles into a triangle;  bake in a 400 F degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Egg wash the edges, Fold the circles into a triangle; bake in a 400 F degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

It is important to note do not pinch the corners, FOLD them!

Egg wash the outsides of the triangles and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Purim cookies

Folded edges

Folded edges

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