The produce is so delicious right now, I thought I would spoil our house guests with a little taste of West Coast summer. If they don't eat all this tart, I am going to have to bring it to a friend's house and hope that it get's devoured then because if I keep it in our fridge, it's just too good to resist.
First things first. I just want to take this time to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for stopping by my blog, for leaving a comment, for sending me an email, and for taking the time to make my recipes. It means so much to me, every single one of you are so special and thoughtful. I received some pretty exciting news this week. My blog was selected as a finalist in the Saveur Food Blog Award. The Flourishing Foodie was nominated for Most Delicious Food, which I couldn't be happier about. Trying to create the most delicious food is my number one priority with this site, and I am so touched/moved/shocked/ecstatic that you guys think so as well. There are some really fantastic food blogs nominated this year, including some good friends. If you guys have a chance, you should head on over to the Saveur site and take a peak. I don't know about you, but I love stumbling onto new sites! Voting is open through April 30th.
Things have been pretty quiet around my home these days. Brent is on a work trip, my neighbors with their two small children have moved. Everyone seems to be either on vacation to somewhere warm and tropical or involved in a bit of Spring cleaning, house repairs, garden work etc. I have been keeping busy, trying to create a whole lot of delicious recipes for the months to come. I've also been trying to sort out my backyard, develop plans, choose plants etc. I have a blank canvas as we speak, oh, except those gorgeous David Austin roses I received last week. I planted them yesterday, and I am really looking forward to seeing them bloom this summer. I'm thinking about also planting a few trees in the backyard, but I'm having difficulty choosing ones that wont spread giant roots into our sewer lines. I think I'm narrowing in on a medium size Japanese maple, a lilac, and a sour cherry tree. We need a few tall trees to block the view of our hot tub that we're installing next Spring, and yes, you're all invited for hot tub-bing and wine.
For the last month or so I have been really looking forward to this years first rhubarb. Each week I have been trolling the grocery stores and markets in search, like a kid at the candy store. I've had a serious craving for rhubarb and raspberry tart, ever since I bought this rhubarb raspberry jam this winter. I finally found some rhubarb at the local Safeway last week. There were a few stalks, maybe 7 or 8, in a small bin in the corner. I was so excited, because they were as ruby red as can be, tall and slender. The prettiest things. I picked up a pint of raspberries from Mexico that cost me an arm and a leg, and then I reconsidered planting that raspberry bush that Brent brought home from a friend. Maybe I'll plant it in a pot at first, so it doesn't spread like crazy.
I made this tart a few days ago, and the hardest thing about it, was letting it cool overnight so that the fruit could set. If you cut into it too quick when warm, it will all fall apart. And I learned that lesson the hard way. I tried to do everything in my power to prevent the tart from being too runny. I added cornstarch, baked it for 45 minutes, drained the excess liquid, but the tart was still determined to be a bit runny. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing, unless the fruit falls out of the tart, I think the little extra liquid that soaks into the crust makes it even more delicious. I'm thinking about heading to the store today to see if there is anymore rhubarb. I foresee another one of these tarts in my future.
RASPBERRY RHUBARB TART
makes a 9" round tart - 8 slices
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
5 - 7 tbsp ice water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp purpose flour
1 pint (12 oz) fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup oats
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, chopped
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, until the mixture is crumbly with larger dime size pieces.
Drizzle in 1 tbsp of ice water at a time, and mix until the dough just comes together, being careful not to overwork. Do not exceed 7 tbsp of water. Place the dough onto a work surface, shape it into a flat 6-inch disk and wrap it with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp flour. In a large bowl, toss the raspberries and rhubarb with the flour sugar mixture and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Let the fruit sit on the counter until you are ready to fill the tart.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature until slightly softened. Roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle, slightly larger than the tart pan. Press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers, and trim away any excess. Make a few pricks in the base of the tart with a fork. Place the dough into the freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
Remove the tart shell from the freezer. Drain the excess juice from the berries. Fill the tart shell with the berry mixture.
In a small bowl, crumble the butter into 1/3 cup oats, and 1 tbsp flour. Sprinkle onto the tart.
Place the tart pan onto a baking sheet, and into the oven.
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Place in the fridge overnight, to help the fruit set. Remove the next day and slice. Can be stored in the fridge for 4 days.
Paris has been dreamy. Each day we spend hours and hours roaming the city, every nook and cranny. Two days back, we found a water fountain that dispenses carbonated water, how posh.
Other days are spent it in the kitchen, Chantal and I, sharing our own baking secrets, trading recipes. She has opened my eyes to moule et frites, clams in cream sauce, olives in quiche, and herbs in bread. Today, for our last meal in Paris we dine on paella and fig tart for dessert, cheese to follow of course.
Things to note while cooking in a Parisian kitchen, everything is tiny. The stove and fridge, both barely fitting a weeks supply. The oven will only heat if the timer has been
turned on. Cupboards are extremely tall. The washing machine is not a dishwasher, even if it's placed in the same spot. The washing machine also doubles as a dryer, intriguing.
A quick trip to the Monoprix, turns into an all day affair, new foods intrigue me, I want to try them all. I gather a handful of figs, gently placed in my bag to avoid being squished by the bread and cheese. Giant they are, sweet and earthy. Back at Chantals', it's another recipe, this one slightly different from the
. I am starting to get the hang of pastry dough, as it becomes second nature, skills I though I would never acquire. The tart cools on the windowsill, beside the basilic and persil. Once cooled, I spoon my creamy mascarpone filling into the shell, gently line my figs row by row. A drizzle of honey to compliment it all. A rich and creamy sweet dish, colorful and beautiful, a perfect ending to a wonderful stay, shared amongst friends.
We are now on our way to Croatia, a beautiful place I've heard. I am really not sure what culinary treats they have to offer, but I promise to share soon. In the mean time, I leave you with a few pictures of our travels in Paris and a some things to note. Parisian men are some of the best dressed I've seen. French baguettes now elicit some sort of Pavlovian response, with their warm sweat yeasty smells, drifting from the bakery windows in the early mornings. Ice cream and the Eiffel Tower are a must. Macarons are tiny bundles of soft chewy marshmallow type cookies, salted caramel my favorite. What I would do for a Ladurée beside my house. And finally, people in Paris know how to eat, and they take it seriously. This is my kind of place.
FIG MASCARPONE TART RECIPE
makes one 9" tart
recipe adapted from Stephanie at
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole ground almond flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
7 tbsp butter, chilled and cubed
3 - 4 tbsp cold water
450g mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, sliced and scraped
zest from 1 lemon
5 large figs, cut into eighths
2 tbsp good quality liquid honey
In a large mixing bowl, add the flours and the sugar. Combine the ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or you can use your hands. Continue to mix until it resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and combine. Slowly drizzle in the cold water tbsp by tbsp while continuing to combine, kneading with your hands. Continue in this manner until the mixture starts to stick together and form a ball.
Gather the dough and pat together. Form into the shape of a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place in the center of the tart pan. With your hands, start working the dough, flattening it and evenly distributing throughout the tart shell. The tart should be 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness.
Once you have worked the dough covering all edges of the tart shell, poke
tiny pricks on the bottom of the shell with a knife or toothpick. This will allow the air to escape. Place the tart shell in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the tart has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the mascarpone, cream, and sugar on medium until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla seeds and lemon zest and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Spoon the filling into the cooled tart shell.
Wash and cut the figs into eighths. Place them on top of the filling with the flesh side facing up. Drizzle the honey on top of the figs and serve, or store in the fridge until ready to serve. Can be stored in the fridge for 2 days.