Archive for the 'Fruit' Category

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

Strawberries

I started making jam somewhat by accident.  I originally bought a canner and associated tools so that I could get chicken stock out of the freezer and into jars.  Last summer I decided to branch out and try my hand at making jam.

Making jam in southern California is more relaxed.  There, strawberries are available virtually year round (I like to tell the story of asking in November when the last strawberries would be available and being told by the farmer that it was just the beginning of the winter crop).  On the east coast, there’s a much tighter time period where fruit is available and it turns out that I almost ran out of strawberry season in which to make jam.

My mom used to make lots of jams and other canned goods when I was much younger but had gotten busy and fallen out of the habit.  Given we were on the same side of the country now and that we were coming up to visit for father’s day anyway, we decided to do some strawberry jam making together.

So, this morning, we drove to a couple of farm stands.  Mason-Dixon Farms was out of berries for the year (but did have some of the first eastern shore corn of the year) and Brown’s Orchards didn’t open for another 45 minutes.  We decided to drive on for a bit because it was a beautiful morning and came across a sign proclaiming strawberries and pointing down a long driveway.  At first we drove past, but a u-turn later, we followed the road long enough that we thought we might have passed it.  But sitting in the back of a truck were several quarts of strawberries and a box to place money in.  After we almost bought them out of strawberries, we headed back to Brown’s to pick up some of the blueberries that their sign promised.

We first made strawberry jam from a very simple recipe.  Then we moved on to the strawberry lemon marmalade.  I first stumbled across this last year as I bought more strawberries than the jam recipe I was using called for.  Knowing Angela’s penchant for lemons, I decided to try my hand at marmalade.  The fact that I made it again is description enough of how it turned out last year.

Credit to my wonderful wife for the photographs.

Hulling Strawberries with my Mom

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

1/4 cup thinly sliced lemon peel
4 cups hulled and crushed strawberries (from about 2 quarts of whole strawberries)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
6 cups granulated sugar

  1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
  2. In a sauce pan, place the lemon peel and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then boil for 5 minutes.  Drain the lemon peel, discarding the water and reserving the peel.
  3. Place the crushed strawberries, lemon peel, and lemon juice in a large non-reactive pan.  Stir in the pectin until it is well dissolved.
  4. Measure the sugar into a bowl.
  5. Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.   Add the sugar all at once.  While stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil that can’t be stirred down.  Continue stirring and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.
  6. Skim any foam off the top of the marmalade mixture.
  7. Carefully transfer the marmalade into the prepared jars, leaving a 1/4″ head room.  Wipe the rims, add the lids, then screw it in place.  Put the jars into the canner.
  8. Bring the canner to a full boil, then process for 10 minutes.  Remove the canner from the heat, allow to set for 5 minutes, then open the lid and remove the jars.  Allow the jars to cool overnight.

Makes about 8 jars.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

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I realize it’s a bit strange to make sorbet in the middle of winter. But this is southern California and cold is a very relative concept around here (it was actually the recent rain that was bothering me).

However, winter also is lemon season (the fruit schedule from the farmer’s market claims that lemons are year round but I only see them in winter). I actually missed Meyer lemons the first time they appeared at the farmer’s market as I thought I had a bunch of lemons at home that were given to me by a coworker (turned out they were actually limes).

Angela and I were showing a friend of her family’s around and we went to Huntington Beach. It just so happened that they were having a farmer’s market that day and there was a vendor selling Meyer lemons. Given that I had passed them up the first time, I decided to snap them up while they were around.

Neither of us had had Meyer lemons before. They don’t really grow on the east coast (where ultimately we are from). I had, however, heard of their near-mythical flavor which is what drew me to them. It doesn’t hurt that Angela loves lemons.

While there are other lemon vehicles out there, none are quite as pure as sorbet. Plus I had a recipe for Meyer lemon sorbet. The sorbet is almost full proof to make. My only problem was I didn’t have quite enough for a full recipe.

The sorbet was quite good. I find the less bitter flavor of Meyer lemons to be significantly better than Eureka lemons. It was a cleaner flavor.

Angela thought that it could use to be a bit sweeter so you may want to add additional sugar in the future (and you think that’s a recipe note but it’s really a note to myself). I also think I’d replace the vodka with Limoncello next time.

And some kind soul left some home grown Meyer lemons in the kitchen area at work. I may have taken a few more than my fair share but I’ll put them to good use.

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Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Adapted from Room for Dessert
1 2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 tbsp vodka

  1. Place the water, sugar, and lemon zest in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice and vodka into the water mixture. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Strain the mixture through a sieve and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place in the freezer until ready to serve.

Makes about 3 cups.

Tartlette aux Framboise (Raspberry Tart)

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Growing up, my parents had a raspberry bush in the back yard. I used to love going down to eat them right off the bush. I even picked them and sold them in a mini-road side farm stand. It was all on the honor system and no one took advantage of me. Someone did eventually steal the Fisher Price picnic table that I used for displaying the produce but they may have assumed it was sitting out for the trash. Unfortunately, the raspberry bush is no longer there (it reached it’s fruit producing lifespan and my parents opted to not replace it) but my love of raspberries is.

On my first visit to France, there was a small bakery across the street from our hotel. The first couple days I partook of the hotel’s continental breakfast but was not particularly impressed. I went to the bakery for breakfast instead and settled on the raspberry tart. My French is practically non-existent but by a combination of half remembering framboise and pointing I was able to get what I wanted.

It may be the haziness of memory, but it was good. Really good. I did a little more traveling in France and couldn’t find anything similar. I’ve looked elsewhere and never found something quite as good. I found a raspberry tart in San Francisco but it used a lemon curd base which wasn’t what I was looking for.

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A while ago, I had decided that I would make myself a raspberry tart. I may not be a pastry chef (I don’t have the patience for that) but what better way to make something that you like? Aside from inertia, the main reason I had never attempted to make one before was simply that raspberries were expensive and I didn’t want to waste them by making a bad tart.

The other day, I was walking by Farm Boy and noticed they were advertising a half-pint of raspberries for $1.00. That was too good of a deal to pass up (regardless of the unknown provenance of the raspberries).

I really haven’t made any tarts before so it was an issue of figuring exactly what to use in making it. A tart consists of the tart shell, the cream used in the shell, and then the topping. I settled on pâte sablée and creme pâstissière because they seemed closest to what I’d had in the past and they both seemed fairly simple and classic. I’m not entirely sure it was the right choice.

The tart was good. Quite good. But the creme pâstissière seemed to overpower the raspberries a bit. The pâte sablée also didn’t have great structural integrity so the creme pâstissière started spilling out and making a mess. I ended up having to eat it with a fork.

This recipe may need a bit more work but it’s still good. It isn’t overly sweet. It would make a good afternoon snack.

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Tartlette aux Framboise (Raspberry Tart)

Pâte Sablée
Crème Pâstissière
1 cup raspberries

  1. Pat the dough into 3 four inch mini tart pans. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. Place a layer of aluminum foil over the tart pans. Place pastry weights on top of the aluminum foil.
  4. Place the tart pans on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the tart pans from the oven, remove the pastry weights and aluminum foil, and return to the oven. Bake for 7 more minutes.
  6. Remove the tart pans from the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove the tart dough from the tart pan.
  7. Rinse and dry the raspberries.
  8. Place a layer of crème pâstissière in each tart. Cover with the raspberries.
  9. Chill completely and serve.

Makes 3 mini-tarts.


Pâte Sablée (Shortbread Dough)
Adapted from The Roux Brothers on Patisserie

250 g flour
200 g cold butter (about 7 tbsp), diced
100 g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

  1. Sift the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the center.
  2. Place the butter in the well and work with your fingers until it is very soft.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and the salt to the butter and cream them together with your fingers.
  4. Add the egg yolk to the well and mix well.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour into the butter mixture. Mix until it is just homogeneous.


Crème Pâstissière (Pastry Cream)
Adapted from The Roux Brothers on Patisserie

6 egg yolks
125 g sugar
40 g flour
500 ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Place the egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar in a bowl. Whisk together until pale ribbons are formed. Whisk in the flour.
  2. In a sauce pan, combine the flour, remaining sugar, and vanilla extract. Heat over high heat.
  3. When the mixture begins to bubble, remove from the heat. Temper 1/3 of the milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs, stirring constantly. Pour the milk and the eggs back into the sauce pan, stirring constantly.
  4. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Normandy Apple Tart

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This was actually made over a week ago. I had queued up a couple recipes as we last Friday we headed to the airport to fly to visit Angela’s parent’s for Christmas. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Our flight took off on time and it looked like our trip would be uneventful.

And then we arrived over Milwaukee. And entered a holding pattern. We circled for about an hour until we were told we were running out of fuel and had to divert to Madison. Flaps were out, landing gear was down, and we were approaching the run way. I could just see the landing lights through the fog and then the pilot gunned the engines and pulled up. Turned out we had to abort the landing as air traffic control wasn’t sure whether or not there was another plane on the runway. We were able to turn around and land successfully.

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And then we had to wait to get our luggage. And then take a bus to Milwaukee where we found out we could get a flight out the next day. The airline was nice enough to give us a hotel to stay in (of course, they gave us the wrong name of the hotel first and once we got the correct name gave us incorrect information as to how to contact them).

The next day was as fogging as the last. And pretty quickly our flight was canceled. We rebooked for the next day and went to another hotel.

So, after two days, the fog cleared and we showed up at the airport again, a bit hopeful, a bit apprehensive. At first, our flight was going to be delayed. And then it was on time again. When we saw the plane at the gate, Angela did a happy dance. And when, sitting at the end of the runway, the pilot revved the engine and we started accelerating, I had one of the biggest smiles on my face ever (not quite as big as my wedding day).

And I’ve never been happier to be in Florida.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the apple tart. I like apple tart’s quite a bit and am always looking for new ones to try. For some reason, I tend to like them better than apple pie. It may not be very American of me but it’s true (call homeland security!).

This apple tart is mostly apple sauce in a tart shell covered with sliced apples. It’s very simple. It doesn’t even use cinnamon. It’s apples at their simplest.

When I made it, the green apples we had were extremely tart. So tart that I felt the need to sprinkle sugar on top of the tart even though the original recipe didn’t call for it. And it was still tart. So be aware.

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Normandy Apple Tart
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 9-inch partially-baked sweet tart shell

For the applesauce:
2 lbs. red apples
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1-4 tbsp sugar (optional)

For the topping:
2 medium green apples
egg wash of 1 egg beaten with 1/2 tsp water
2 tbsp sugar

  1. Cut the apples into chunks and place in a large saucepan. Mix in the water and brown sugar. Cover and heat over medium-low heat. Cook at just below a simmer until the apples are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and run the apples through a food mill fitted with a disc with the largest holes. Taste the sauce and add sugar if necessary. Allow to cool to room temperature. The sauce may be refrigerated for several days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  4. Fill the tart shell almost to the rim with the apple sauce.
  5. Peel and core the green apples. Slice them thinly. Arrange the apple slices in a spiral pattern on top of the apple sauce. Rub the cut apples with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar.
  6. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8.


Partially-Baked Sweet Tart Shell
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp cold butter, cut into 1 tbsp chunks
1 egg yolk

  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly, until the ingredients are well combined.
  2. With the mixer at low speed, add the butter 1 tbsp at a time. When the butter is fully added, increase the speed to medium, until the butter and flour mixture forms pea sized granules.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg yolk. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is slightly sticky.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and press it into a fluted 9-inch tart pan.
  5. Put the tart pan in the freezer and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  7. Press a greased sheet of aluminum foil onto the tart dough. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil. Press down any places the dough has puffed. Allow to cool before using.