Archives for posts with tag: fruit

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This winter has been rough on me, and I’m sure it’s been tough for a lot of you too.  I check the weather on my phone and see no hope for days.  Temperatures lingering well below freezing seem to be the norm now.  Of course, there are snippets of beauty amongst this snow and ice.  Scenes that would rival any tropical paradise in their splendor.

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On the positive side, I do love me some winter fashion.  I love chunky knits, boots, pom-pom hats, and huge scarves wrapped around a thousand times. I’ve gotten to wear crimson and berry-toned lip colors, which look out-of-place in the warmer months.  I have also been loving  goth-inspired nail polishes – very moody and a far cry from the fuchsias and tangerine reds I wear in the summer.

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There have also been cozy times I get to share with my husband.  Him and I exploring the city and finding a new café.  I will get a latte and he will get a hot chocolate because he has an abhorrence that stems from childhood towards coffee.  We’ll share a cookie or a croissant or both and discuss things in the world that we don’t understand or can’t wrap our heads around, future vacations we want to take, or whatever may come up.

We’ll also laze around at home more often on the weekends.  In the summer I like to be out and about.  This winter I’m enjoying staying in more. Usually I’m the type of person who gets in a very bad mood if we don’t have weekend plans.  But this winter I’ve been happy to stay-in on a Friday night and cook a nice dinner for just the two of us.  Of course friends are always welcome, but rather than going out, sometimes it’s nice to stay snug and comfortable at home.  When Sunday morning comes around I’m also skipping the usual restaurant brunches and opting for an omelet or pancakes or French toast at home.  I’m not big on sweets for breakfast, but sometimes a nice french toast satisfies like nothing else.

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When making French toast I don’t really measure anything out.  It’s an effortless dish that will come together if you have the basic ingredients.  That’s why I love making it.  I paired it here with ruby-toned fruits: blood oranges, pomegranates, and raspberries.  And I always use cinnamon and vanilla in my french toast.  You can add other spices like cardamom or ground cloves.  But the combination of cinnamon and vanilla is my favorite and will make your whole kitchen smell very welcoming.

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Cinnamon and Vanilla French Toast with Ruby Colored Fruits

I am providing a loose recipe here, because I really feel French toast is foolproof unless you burn it in the pan. 😉

Ingredients

oil or butter for frying

bread of your choice, sliced a little thicker than usual and day old is best.  I usually have whole wheat or sunflower toast, but brioche and challah are optimal.

eggs, use 1 egg for every 3 slices of toast

milk of your choice, use about 1 cup for every 3 slices of toast

sugar, to taste – I like to use raw sugar or sugar with larger crystals so that it caramelizes nicely on the toast.

vanilla extract or a vanilla bean scraped, start with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon for 3 slices of toast, you can  adjust the amount according to your taste

a pinch of sea salt

an array of fruits or your choice, I used blood oranges, pomegranates, and raspberries. (fruit combination inspired by @thedelicious on instagram)

chopped nuts, for serving (optional)

to serve: whipped cream or sour cream or crème fraîche or yogurt, orange zest, cinnamon, and pure maple syrup

Method

Beat eggs with milk, add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a wide rectangular dish.  Soak the bread until the egg custard is absorbed on each side.

Heat a large frying pan with oil or butter on medium heat.  Add the soaked toast pieces in the pan.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden.  Top with the blood oranges, pomegranates, raspberries, nuts, and other topping of your choice.

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Labor day weekend has just passed and I didn’t want to go back to work!  I’m sure this is a dilemma many of you are had.  I had a four-day weekend to just chill, enjoy, and of course eat yummy food.  Autumn is approaching and as much as I love it, summer is just summer.  Lots of long weekends, beautiful weather, and beautiful food.

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I’ve been cooking lots this summer, not as many desserts or baking as much as I wanted to, but that’s ok – fall is for baking cozy and comforting desserts.  Plus, technically summer isn’t even over yet!  That is why I wanted to share this Lime Curd Tart with Mangoes with all of you.  It oozes summer and bright flavors.

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I’ve always been inspired by beautifully arranged fruit tarts.  Mine always look a little homemade and don’t have that professional touch, but that’s okay!  We will leave the immaculate and perfect tarts for the pros.  I’ve made citrus curd tarts many times, but I never put so much effort and precision into arranging the fruit as I did for this one. I wanted it to look like a blossom.  Let me tell you, it was tedious work, the fifteen minutes or so I took arranging the mangoes (never mind the thinly slicing part) seemed to take forever.  But when it was done my blossom bloomed to the best of my ability.

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My in-laws came over that night after a delicious Thai meal.  I was glad they did because it would be me and a fork tackling this dessert if they hadn’t come over.  I was happy when people asked for seconds.  I think they also enjoyed this tart because it was cooling and refreshing after our spicy Thai meal.

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Take that extra effort and add a few edible flowers on top as well and this tart will bring a smile to people’s faces and on the plus side it feels so light that they will ask for seconds and maybe even thirds!

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Lime Curd Tart with Mangoes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 recipe of this lime curd ( you can you key limes or regular limes and also chill it for several hours)

5-6 mangoes, sliced thinly*

1 graham cracker crust (I used my cheesecake recipe crust, but substituted graham crackers here instead of amaretti cookies and baked it for 20 minutes)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped in a mixer with 1/4 cup sugar and the seeds of one vanilla bean

edible flowers, for garnish, optional

lime zest, for garnish, optional

Assembly

Allow the graham cracker crust to cool for 1 hour after it has baked and leave it in the spring-form pan.  Once cooled, spread the chilled lime curd over the crust in an even layer.  After that, use a spatula to spread the whipped cream over the lime curd in an even layer.  Top with the mango slices starting row by row from the outside of the tart, slightly overlapping each layer, as to form a blossom.  Complete each layer row by row until you reach the center.  In the center you can make a mango rosette, if you would like.  If you do not care to be finicky arrange the mangoes however you like.   Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

When serving, top with lime zest and edible flowers.  Serve chilled.

*The slicing of the mangoes is a little tricky.  Cut the mango along the seed lengthwise on all sides.  Then take those mango slices and lay them flat on a cutting board and slice thinly.  The slices should resemble long half-moons.

This weekend was the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha.  In celebration of this holiday my husband and I invited a few of our friends over for Eid dinner.  Even though I am from Pakistan, I am not incredibly fond of Pakistani desserts.  Hmm…don’t get me wrong I do like them, but give me cake, cupcakes, cheesecake, tarts, cookies, brownies over traditional Pakistani desserts any day (though I do love Pakistani main dishes and snacks etc).  I am feeling a little guilty to confess this-but, hey they’re MY taste buds right?!

Back to the Eid dinner, I made the traditional mutton dish of biryani, because this holiday is symbolizes the Hajj and the sacrifice of goats.  I also made other Pakistani main courses, which I will share photographs of with you.  But, nevermind them for now, for dessert I made fruit tart. 🙂  Anyone from Providence knows about Pastiche and their amazing fruit tart.  It’s a beautiful dessert with the light glaze on top giving the fruits an amazing jewel-tone.  I’m sure it’s their number one best-seller.  And no matter how many times I’ve eaten it, I still can’t get enough of it.

My love affair with the fruit tart probably started in my early teens when I first went to Pastiche.  In high school, my friend and I would try to make it in her kitchen using some recipe we found online.  How cool were we, baking in high school? 🙂

So, I did have a little experience making fruit tart (emphasis on a little).  But, as you recall I just made the quiche with a homemade crust, and not reading the recipe throughly, I did not notice that the recipe yielded two crusts.  So there I was, left with an extra crust.  What to do with it?  DESSERT!

I used the opportunity of having guests over to make the tart.  Otherwise, it would be quite possible that I would eat the whole thing myself.   Yes, it’s that good!  I referred back to my favorite, Ina Garten’s pastry cream recipe and added half a vanilla bean to it and it turned out delectable.  I don’t know if it’s as good as Pastiche’s fruit tart.  But, when there is no Pastiche around I think it hits the spot just fine.  🙂

Fresh Fruit Tart

Serves 6-8

I used a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  The recipe is here. I baked it in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  I poked holes on the bottom of the crust with a fork and covered with foil and used dry beans as weights on top of the foil, so the crust would not expand.  (This is a double recipe so halve it if you only want one crust).

Pastry Cream

adapted from Ina Garten’s pastry cream

Ingredients

4 large egg yolks (room temperature)

6 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup light cream or milk (I only had light cream on hand or skim milk and skim milk was not gong to cut it)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Glazed with 1 tablespoon strawberry jam diluted with 2 tablespoons boiling water

Method

Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (I used my hand mixer with the beater attachment) cream together the egg yolks and sugar for about 3-4 minutes on high speed until the mixture forms a ribbon when you lift it from a spoon.  Next, add in the half of the scraped vanilla bean, and corn starch on low speed.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring the light cream to a low boil.  Next, stream the milk into the egg mixture whole the mixer is on low.  Pour the contents back into the sauce pan and whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken.  Mine was ready in 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, butter, and heavy cream.  Strain through a sieve then put the contents into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, directly on the pastry cream.  Refrigerate until cold.

To assemble the tart:  Fill the cooled pastry cream into the baked tart shell.  Garnish with fruits of your choice, I used blackberries and raspberries for the darker more autumn tones.  Then brush on the diluted jam so that the fruits glisten.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.