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tart

“A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. ”
James Bear

Cherry Yogurt TartCherry Yogurt Tart. This was a tart that swept me off my feet. It’s adapted from a recipe that keeps popping up on and off on blogs. With the flood of recipes to try, one tends to get lost and lose priority. Is it just me? Well this tart or pie {not sure which category it fell into} had been kept waiting too long. This turned out to be a tart, not a pie as most blogs call it. The Kitchn has a neat piece on Pie vs Tart 

A pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. The sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped. It can have a just a bottom, just a top, or both a bottom and a top crust. Pies are served straight from the dish in which they were baked.

A tart is a sweet or savory dish with shallow sides and only a bottom crust. The goal is a firm, crumbly crust. Tarts are baked in a pan with a removable bottom, or in pastry ring on top of a baking sheet so that it can be unmolded before serving.

Cherry Yogurt TartThere are several references to the recipe across the net. The origins are quite blurred. Most folk talk about the recipe being handed down from a great aunt and having got  it from a friend. The ingredients are the same. Strangely enough all it takes to make it is a pie crust or tart bottom, yogurt and condensed milk. {It’s vegetarian too. No eggs, no gelatin}

Stone fruitI had some yogurt draining in the fridge to make fro yo. It’s the season for frozen goodies but I had a really full freezer that day. So I thought cheesecake with summer fruit. A friend had recently reached out to me for a baked eggless cheesecake recipe. That was still playing in my head. {Hiral, this cherry yogurt tart is very close to a baked eggless cheesecake. We loved it!! I thought of you throughout.}

Cherry Yogurt Tart With muddled thoughts I figured images might inspire me, so I began googling for images … and BINGO! There it was. Just the perfect tart or pie with ingredients that I had on hand, well almost. What ‘clinched’ the deal was that I had a loose bottomed rectangular tart pan that Sous Chef had used. She really turned out a stunner.

Cherry Yogurt Tart Strange tart this. It’s a little unbelievable that you can turn out a set tart with just two basic ingredients with 10 minutes of baking. Defies logic. Yet, my recent tryst with the Simplest & Best Dark Chocolate Mousse that used two ingredients convinced me otherwise. I thought, “If that was sensational, this might well surprise too. ” 

Cherry Yogurt Tart And surprise it certainly did! Within 10 minutes of baking, it was a little firm to touch. I gently pulled it out of the oven to cool it on the rack and was scared to spill the filling. It hung on in there. ’twas a long overnight wait and once the kids were on the bus, I RACED to demold it. Looked on in amazement as it was firm.

Cherry Yogurt Tart My only concern is the biscuit base which didn’t remain very crisp. Most recipes refer to ‘tennis biscuits‘ which were new for me. Some more googling pointed towards South Africa where these biscuits are firm favourites. I think graham crackers might work a little better than the ginger nut cookies I used. CherriesSo with a tart tin from Sydney {one of my favourite buys to date}, a recipe with two basic ingredients, some balsamic roasted cherries in the fridge, I put together this tart. With my sis visiting from the US, being the 4th today, I thought I’d give the yogurt tart some blue and red too. Frozen blueberries which I bought to try locally {very disappointing} and white sprinkles did the trick!!

Cherry Yogurt TartThe verdict was ‘high fives’ all around. The texture and taste of the Cherry Yogurt Tart is very close to a cheesecake, and leaves you wanting for more. {Very satisfying in Mr PABs words}.

[print_this]Recipe: Cherry Yogurt Tart 
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Summary: As simple as a tart can get, this Cherry Yogurt Tart is one of the fastest and sweetest ways to a quick dessert. A make ahead tart that sets amazingly, is eggless and uses two basic ingredients for the filling, is quite magical. Adapted from Sous Chef

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes plus chilling
Ingredients:

  • 200g ginger nut cookies, crushed
  • 100g melted butter
  • 350g hung yogurt, thick
  • 150g regular yogurt
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 2 tsp Kirsch {optional}

Method

  1. Mix the melted butter and the crushed biscuits. Turn into the bottom of the prapared tin and press to form base. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a rectangular 4″ X 14″loose bottomed tart tin {or a 9″ round loose bottomed tart tin}
  3. Place both yogurts and condensed milk with Kirsch if using in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour over the chilled biscuit base and place in the oven for 10 minutes only.
  5. Take out of the oven, allow to cool. Then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  6. Top with fresh fruit, balsamic cherries, or just serve as is.

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“If you don’t let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird A Strawberry Pie and a Pie Bird. Strange how good things happen at the same time. Around the week that the Life of Pi won an Oscar, the folk from Zansaar sent me something very interesting … a beautiful aubergine stoneware baking dish with an intriguing creature inside. They call it a Pie Bird!

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Have you heard of one?  To be honest, I had no clue that such a charming creature actually existed. Google enlightened! From whimsical banter from when we used to chime “Four & twenty black birds baked in a pie” as toddlers, to Alton Brown who wholeheartedly endorses the pie bird, it seems to be quite a handy bakers tool. Many ardent pie bakers swear by it.

pie birdWhat might a pie bird be? It’s a little hollow contraption made of ceramic, that helps keep a pie base from getting soggy. It also prevents it from boiling over, sometimes even saving a pie from dramatically exploding!

A pie bird, pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnel, or pie chimney is a hollow ceramic device, originating in Europe, shaped like a funnel, chimney, or upstretched bird with open beak. Funnel-style steam vents have been placed in the center of fruit and meat pies during cooking since Victorian times; bird shapes came later.

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Pie funnels were used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust by allowing steam to escape from inside the pie. They also supported the pastry crust in the center of the pie, so that it did not sag in the middle, and are occasionally known as “crustholders”. Older ovens had more problems with uniform heating, and the pie bird prevented boil-over in pie cooking.

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Fancy my delight when I received it as also the beautiful aubergine pie dish from the Mason Cash collection. It’s a handy dish to bake a classic apple pie, or maybe a chicken / vegetable pie. The high quality stoneware dish has a wide lip that  makes it ideal for pie crusts while the stoneware construction ensures that it heats evenly.

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird I enjoyed ‘playing with it’. It gave me much food for thought, Life of Pi and pie bird quotes flying through my head. You see, at the same time, the younger teen was doing a film review on the Life of P. There was plenty of Pi / Pie happening!

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird I wanted to make an apple pie but I had my last stash of red luscious strawberries from the recent Pune trip. I thought a strawberry pie just might work. It did and the pie baked up beautifully. Once completely cool, it stepped out of the dish gingerly with no trouble at all. It’s a good size baking dish for a meal for two, or maybe part of a meal for four.

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird I was in a hurry to slice the pie so the juices ‘leaked’ a bit. It sliced just fine a while later! The dough is a normal short crust that I substituted with a little cornmeal. Cornmeal works really well in all my galettes. This was my first double crust pie. It worked great. A classic American apple pie served with vanilla ice cream seems likely in the future!

Strawberry plum galetteI had some leftover dough, and about 1/2 a cup of left over filling. Could I just let it sit? Of course I couldn’t. The leftovers made a neat little galette which included one left over plum from an earlier baking project. The galette was crisp and full of fruity goodness. A drizzle of unsweetened single cream … delicieux!

Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird

[print_this]Recipe: Strawberry Pie
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SummaryA fruity and delicious strawberry pie. A great way to use fruit in season.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus cooling time
Ingredients:

  • Pastry
  • 160g plain flour
  • 40g cornmeal {makki ka aata}
  • pinch salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, frozen, grated
  • 2-3 tbsp of ice water {as required}
  • Filling
  • 500g frozen strawberries {or fresh}
  • 35g cornflour
  • 25g plain flour
  • 200g vanilla sugar {decrease if fruit is very sweet}
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 25g pistachios, chopped {few slivered}
  • 1tbsp apricot jam, melted
  • Single cream for brushing over {and serving}
  • Vanilla sugar

Method:

  1. Pastry
  2. Place the plain flour, cornmeal and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse briefly to mix.
  3. Add the frozen butter and pulse again for a few seconds until you get a breadcrumb like mix.
  4. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together when you pinch it between your fingers. {You might need more than 3 tbsp as the absorption property of flours differs across brands, regions etc}
  5. Turn out push together to form a tight ball. Divide into two, flatten into disks, wrap in clingwrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Filling
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  8. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well together. {If your strawberries are really sweet, then add about 1/4 cup less sugar. Taste and adjust if required}. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  9. Assemble
  10. Take one disk of chilled dough, and roll out to line the baking dish. Gently transfer to dish, crimp or ruffle the edges if you like, else trim them to fit the edge. Brush the base with apricot jam. 
  11. Place the pie bird in the centre of the pastry.
  12. Turn the fruit into a sieve to remove any released juices {if you have the time, you can reduce the juices in a pan over low heat and add them back to the fruit}. Ladle into the pie dish around the bird.
  13. Roll the second disk of pastry to cover the top, cut out a 1 1/2 – 2″ circle and gently place over the pie bird.
  14. Seal the edges of the pie with the tines of a fork. Use some left over dough to make leaves etc for the top if you like.
  15. Brush the top with single cream, sprinkle over with vanilla sugar and slivered pistachios if you like.
  16. Bake at 200C for 25 minutes, and then at 180C for 25-30 minutes more until the crust is golden brown.
  17. Note: Tent the top or cover the edges with foil if the crust is becoming too brown.
  18. Let it cool completely before trying to turn out of baking dish. Slice only once completely cool, 3-4 hours after baking.

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“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
D.H. Lawrence

Kumquat MarmaladeIt’s a happy feeling just looking at a jar of homemade Kumquat Marmalade, characteristically bitter-sweet and delicious. Life continues to race, the days forever busy. A feeling of strange uncertainty takes over at times, like I’ve forgotten something, maybe missed a deadline.  It’s not the ‘end of the year‘ panicky feeling, or the ‘before exam restlessness‘. Then again, maybe like marmalade, life is bitter-sweet too!

Kumquat Marmalade I like to enjoy what I do, relax and vegetate sometimes, yet the modern day rat race of sorts is woven into every second that ticks by. Can’t figure out what happened to those laid back times of yesteryear.

KumquatsThen in this feeling of being on a roller coaster comes a small break … jam making. Thankfully it’s a process that you so totally get immersed in, that the unsettled feeling is forgotten. The marmalade kept me on my toes, more so because junior decided to get involved.

KumquatsRight from plucking the fruit off the tree, to shooting fruit in baskets, to grabbing some away from the dog, stirring, bottling … he was there all the way! {Little Coco had her eyes peeled through-out}CocoI have been fascinated by the fruit since I was young. No one ever ate them, too tart of course, but they were so pretty! And the colours? Inspirational! Then a few years ago, a lady in the neighbourhood let us into her guarded little secret of making bitter marmalade with these. You will not imagine how many kilos of sugar disappeared into jars of jam once we were ‘fruitily enlightened‘!Kumquat Marmalade Every one we knew and their cousins were gifted bitter marmalade with glee. The hard work of snipping peels and stirring the jam until translucent well worth the look of amazement on the happy recipients faces. For the past 3 years this is all I do come winter, and everyone in the neighbourhood knows where to send their fruit.

KumquatsCall it the strangeness of nature, but the much in demand lime tree just doesn’t seem to bear fruit like the kumquat tree. Kumquats finds little use among common growers and are not commercially sold in India. Yet, almost every household in North India proudly sports a kumquat tree, also called ornamental orange. The fruit fall and rot once ripe as even birds don’t feed on them, they are so tart!!

The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. Kumquat literally means ‘golden orange’. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries.

Kumquat Marmalade “So much sugar? More? No Mama, No”! I forgot all my jam making skills, and I have made this jam umpteen times. “Is it done mama, is it done. Shall I stir? What if the bag of seeds opens? I think you haven’t tied it properly?” I could have tied up the thirteen year old, I was so nervous.

Kumquat MarmaladeThen I announced it was ‘plate test time’. “What’s that? Ooh can I do it? I think it’s setting. Ya. No. Noooooooooooo … cook some more Mama. OK, let me stir. Shall we cook more?” . I finally regained control of my bitter kumquat marmalade finally telling him I thought it was done {though I think I cooked it a little longer than I should have!}

Kumquat Marmalade It’s strange how when kids are part of a process, they love the food even more. It’s been marmalade and toast for the past few days no matter what. Double fried eggs, cereal … and then the call, “Mama, if it’s not too much trouble, can I have toast with marmalade please?” Did I tell you he was charming? Gosh, all the way!

A word of thanks –  Thank you Ziet Online for featuring me in Sunday Dinners.

[print_this]Recipe: Kumquat Marmalade
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Summary: Bitter kumquat marmalade is one of the best ways to use up this tart fruit. Makes a for a great gift, and is also a wonderful addition to cake batters, frosting, pies etc. Makes about 6 jars.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1kg kumquats 
  • 1kg sugar 
  • 250ml water

Method:

  1. Sterilize 4-5 jam jars. Place a metal spoon in each jar {this ensures that the glass jar will not crack when the hot jam is poured in}.
  2. Place the sieving bowl over a bigger bowl, and squeeze the seeds to deseed the fruit. We need to collect the seeds as they contain the pectin to set the jam. Make a bouquet garnet of the seeds.
  3. Snip the peels with scissors into strips.
  4. Place the strips, with the pouch of seeds, in a heavy bottom pan on full heat. Boil for a few minutes till the peel is tender, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the water and continue to cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Now add sugar, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to cook over high heat for a further 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens & the strips becomes translucent.
  7. Do a plate test by dropping some marmalade on a cold metal plate to check if the jam is setting properly. After 30 seconds, it should congeal and look jellylike.
  8. Put off the flame, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds and allow the jam to cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir to distribute the strips.
  9. Now pour the marmalade into the jars, and seal after 10-15 minutes.
  10. {I refrigerate my jars}
  11. Thermomix method:
  12. Place the peels in the TM bowl and slice at speed 10 for 2-3 seconds. Add the reserved juice to the TM bowl, with 250g water, and run on Reverse at 100 for 10 minutes, speed slow.
  13. Add 800g sugar and the bouquet garni {which holds the seeds}, and run at reverse at speed 2 for 2 minutes. Add a further 450g sugar {small kumquats tend to be very bitter}, and continue to cook at reverse speed 2 for a further 8 minutes.
  14. Now turn power to 100C, place the lid at an angle, and cook until the gelling action kicks in and the jam begins to set. {Do a stainless steel plate test. Drop some marmalade on a cold plate to see if it sets in under a minute}. Mine took about 7-8 minutes.
  15. Put off the TM, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds & allow to stand in TM jar for about 15-20 minutes, and then pour into prepared jars. I refrigerate my marmalade.

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