Some many things happened in 2016 that just absolutely floored people. The person who won the popular vote, Hilary Clinton, lost the electoral vote, and much to many people’s chagrin, Donald Trump is our new President-Elect. There were many technological breakthroughs, including the Amazon Echo, an AI which is so useful, it almost becomes part of your family. Many of our favorites in the entertainment industry are no longer with us, including David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, a list that is too long and sad. Continue reading →
It rained today, and it’s a bit chilly, the night before Halloween. Social media is talking about killer clowns coming out in my city, so I’m double locking the doors, just to be on the safe side. It’s a perfect night for apple pie.
Someone gave me a can of apple pie filling, and a package of frozen puff pastry. When I received the gift, I put both away, thinking I would use them for other things. But, today, I realized I could put them together and make a wonderful pie. There is no need for a pie pan, just a sheet pan, and some parchment paper to keep the pastry from sticking. Of course, you could use other fillings, cherry or blueberry would be great.
I was thrilled when I went to the market and saw fresh blueberries on the counter. Spring is almost here! I had a box of cream cheese, and a can of sweetened condensed milk, and some frozen lemon cubes. I also had a chocolate cookie crumb pie shell sitting in the pantry that I needed to use up. Blueberry Cream Cheese Lemon Tart sounded like the way to go.
This pie is actually good for you. I put turmeric in it to increase the yellow color. Turmeric is a root in the ginger family, that makes things yellow and has a very mild peppery flavor. In the laboratory, the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. The herb has been used in Asia for centuries for its healing properties. It’s also a great way to give a nice yellow color without using artificial color, which some people, like my son, are allergic to.
If you are wondering about the lemons, I have a friend who gave me a whole bag of lemons from his tree. I squeezed them all, and put the juice into ice cube trays. I also froze the skins to put in the garbage disposal to keep it fresh smelling.
Lemons also react with milk products. If you add lemon to cream, it immediately starts to thicken, and so does sweetened condensed milk.
A few weeks ago, I got a few boxes of chocolate on sale at the local supermarket. I discovered that Spane and his friend, Noelle, had gotten into the chocolate one night when she spent the night. Apparently, neither one of them liked the unsweetened chocolate, but it was perfect for my Mocha Fudge Pie I made as a treat for my friend, Joanna Alexander of Strawberry Creek Crochet.
This has got to be one of simplest pies I have ever made, and it didn’t require any baking because I used a chocolate crumb crust I had in my pantry. It was just a matter of melting the fudge. I folded in whipped cream to make the pie silky, otherwise, it would have just been fudge.
Figs are amazing fruits. Figs are among the richest plant sources of calcium and fiber. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, even before wheat. Figs dated 9,200 years ago were discovered in the Jordan Valley in a house in the early Neolithic village of Gilgal I by a team of researchers from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Harvard University.
Figs are mentioned in the Bible many times, beginning in Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 7 where Adam covers himself with a fig leaf. Jesus even curses a fig tree in Mark Chapter 11, verse 12 and Mathew Chapter 21, verse 19. I guess there was only one unfortunate fig tree, it has a bevy of other cultural and historical references. A whole chapter is devoted to it in the Qur’an. Sura 95 of the Qur’an is named al-Tīn (Arabic for “The Fig”), as it opens with the oath “By the fig and the olive.” Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree, a large and old sacred fig tree. In Greek mythology, a crow angers Apollo having been tempted by a fig. In modern times, we have wonderful Fig Newtons.
The journey to this tart was one of discovery. I had not cooked with figs before, let alone made a fig tart. My only exposure to figs was the ubiquitous Fig Newton cookie. With that in mind, I wanted something that was sweet, but not too sweet, and with a cookie type crust. I also found a French Tart Dough recipe to which I made major changes, and my Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough turned out to be perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.
This has got to be the easiest way to make sweet tart dough. It makes a dough that is almost like a good cookie, just delicious! My food processor is in very poor health, like not working, might be able to be fixed. So, I needed to find a way to make tart dough without using the food processor. I found a recipe at David Lebovitz that looked promising – it required melting butter in the stove. Hey, it’s summer time in Glendale, California, and I didn’t want to make my house any hotter if I could help it.
I figured that I could melt the butter on the stove top, and use the Kitchen Aid mixer to actually make the dough. I was right, it worked out perfectly. This will be my go to recipe for sweet tart dough from now on. Because of the caramelization of the butter and sugar, the crust had a slight caramel flavor and color that was perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.