Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mascarpone and Peach Tart

 Summer peaches, deliciously sweet and delightfully juicy!  Peaches are such a versatile fruit for baking and cooking, from pies, cobblers and cakes, to jams, chutneys and salsas, you can even top a salad or a pizza with peaches.  I'll be frying peach halves for this wonderfully creamy, ginger studded, caramelized peach topped Mascarpone and Peach Tart.

 Fresh picked peaches from our tree.


9 oz. gingersnaps
3 oz. butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3-4 peaches

9" round removable bottom tart pan  

Note: I used a 13X4" rectangular tart pan for this recipe.

1.   In a food processor, process the gingersnaps until fine.  Add melted butter and pulse until the crumbs come together.

2.   Press the crumbs into the tart pan, pressing up the sides and evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set.

3.   In a mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, sour cream and powdered sugar.  Whisk until stiff peaks form.  Fold in by hand, the minced ginger.

4.   Spoon cheese mixture into tart shell and spread evenly.  Refrigerate up to 4 hours.

5.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan at medium heat.  Press peach halves in sugar cut side down.  Place peaches, sugared side down onto hot melted butter.  Fry for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden. 

Remove from pan and cool on a plate skin side down.  When completely cooled, arrange peach halves on top of tart in a decorative manner cut side up.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blueberry Apple Slab Pie

Unlike the traditional fruit pie, a slab pie is made in a sheet pan.  This recipe uses a 9X13 baking pan and cuts into 8 generous pieces.  The crust is flaky and light and the filling is superb.  Blueberry and apple have always been a favorite fruit pie combination for me, but you can use whatever fruit you like, apple, strawberry rhubarb or plain blueberry just to name a few.  Pumpkin may also be used but that's for a future post.  These little hand pies are great for packing in lunches.


For the crust...

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
12 ounces  (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch bits
1 large egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons cold milk

For the filling...

1 pint fresh blueberries (2 cups) the same amount of frozen blueberries may also be used if fresh are unavailable.
1 large apple, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks, about 1 cup 
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

9X13 baking pan
preheated 400°

1.   For the crust, in a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and butter bits.  With a pastry blender cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs.

2.   Mix together the beaten egg and milk.  Add to the flour mixture and blend together with a rubber spatula until mix starts to come together.  Pour out onto counter top and quickly form into a ball.

Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

3.   Roll out one of the dough halves on a floured surface to a 10 X 14" rectangle or slightly larger.  Line the bottom of the 9X13 pan with the dough allowing the dough to come up around the sides of the pan about 1 inch.  Set aside.

4.   For the filling, mix together in a bowl the blueberries, apple chunks, sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Mix until all the fruit is covered in the dry ingredients.

5.   Pour fruit mixture into the pie shell and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the butter bits on top evenly.

6.   Roll the remaining dough in the same manner as before.  Center the top crust over the pan and tuck overlapping dough behind the bottom crust sides.  Press and crimp together.  Cut slits in the top crust to vent.

7.   Bake in a preheated 400° oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden on top and the filling is bubbling through the vent cuts.  Allow to cool before cutting.  Enjoy! 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maine Wild Blueberry Gingerbread

Blueberry season is upon us here in Maine, a season, I for one, look forward to every summer.  Maine's wild blueberries grow naturally in fields and barrens throughout the Downeast coast and are indigenous to Maine .  Native Americans were the first to use the tiny blue berries, both fresh and dried, for their flavor, nutrition and healing qualities but it was not until the 1840′s that wild blueberries were first harvested commercially.  
I found this recipe in a flyer called Maine Blueberry Recipes, put out by the Maine Department of Agriculture.  If your looking for a moist and really delicious quick bread, this is the one to try.  Fresh or frozen blueberries may be used and it freezes very well. 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°
butter and line the bottom with parchment paper a 5X9 inch loaf pan.

1.   In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt until well combined.

2.   Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy.
3.   In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger and cinnamon, set aside.
4.   In a small bowl, add molasses and baking soda, stir to combine and set aside.

5.   Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, starting with the flour first then buttermilk and ending with flour.  Mix until completely combined.  Add molasses mixture and mix to combine.  Fold in by hand the blueberries and mix carefully but thoroughly to distribute the berries throughout the mix.

 6.   Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar, evenly over the top of the batter.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack.  Allow to cool for an hour, then turn out onto rack to cool completely before cutting.  Enjoy!