Raspberry/Cranberry Tart

This morning Mr. 761 and I were discussing tonight’s dinner.

It's a fairly sedate "dance" but it goes like this.... (photo lifted off interweb from this site.)

We do this sometimes — food is a big part of planning our days….  We settled on Dancing Chicken (stuffed with limes, cooked on the barbecue, standing up/impaled on a clever contraption that makes it look like it’s, well, dancing). With this, Mr. 761 requested cranberry sauce. You  may recall that recently I cleaned out my pantry of things with glucose/fructose/corn syrup etc. His fave cranberry sauce was one of those things that got the boot.

I suggested that I make cranberry sauce for him – much healthier and tastier. I had some frozen cranberries but went to the store looking for fresh ones (do they have a season? I’m sure they do. I don’t know what it is, obviously, because there were none in the store). I gave in and bought canned stuff, but the search for cranberries made me think about dessert…..

Tart and Sweet and Fresh

I made Raspberry/Cranberry Tart for dessert tonight, and it was much oohed and ahhed over, I have to admit. It was delicious – tart and sweet and just the right thing after our delicious dinner.

Food photography is harder than it looks, so I hope that you can see just how luscious this tart was… shiny and studded with berries; glistening with different red and pinks… oh, it was pretty!

Here’s how you make it:

Graham Cracker Crust

Take about 9 or 10 graham crackers and crush into crumbs (I used a food processor but a rolling pin works too). You’ll want about 1 and 1/4 cups of crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons of canola oil or melted butter. Tamp this down into your tart pan and bake at 350°F for about 8 minutes.

Cool.

Raspberry/Cranberry Filling

Take about a cup of raspberries and a 1/2 cup of cranberries, mash with a fork or an immersion blender. Once pureed, add enough water to make two cups of liquid.

Put 1 cup of sugar into a pan with 2 tbsp of corn starch, add the pureed mixture to it. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Add 1 pkg gelatin, 1 tablespoon of butter, juice of half a lemon and some lemon zest. Stir until the gelatin dissolves completely.

Let fruit mixture cool somewhat — until it’s sort of spoonable.

Just try not having seconds of this!

Take about a third of the mixture and spoon onto graham cracker crust. Add another cup and a half or so of fruit, then cover with the remainder of the gelatin mixture. Cool.

Serve with sweet whipped cream (a bit of vanilla, some sugar, and some lemon zest).

Lots has been happening at Box 761, and I’ll write more another day. Tonight it’s a bit cool and rainy, and I have a strong urge to grab a good book and cuddle with my dogs. Next blog will discuss my love affair with my new built-in bookshelves (thanks for the tools, Dennis!), the stinky dog who came to call at 4 a.m. the other day, the oppressively lingering odor of skunk and how to remove it…. We may even discuss the continuing next-to-nakedness of next-door neighbor, the speaker phone function on his blasted cordless phone, and some more places that My Husband Hates.

Saturday Feasting at Box 761!

Oh, where do I start? (if you want to skip the proselytizing, just scroll down to the recipes…)

A while ago I quit smoking. After a month or so of being a non-smoker, I realized that not only was I putting on a few pounds, but had been for several years now. Okay, I admit it — I’m kind of um, overweight. This is not how I see myself and it kind of freaked me out. It’s easier to ignore when you’re smoking and eating and collecting stress weight that you can hide under sweaters. Less so when you’re feeling remarkably un-stressed, it’s the middle of summer, and you quit the nasty habit.

So, that’s the background. I’m freaked by the weight, I admit, but I don’t want to do silly fad diets like eat only grapefruits for weeks, etc. I don’t want to take pills, diet supplements, drink shakes or go to a group. I’m not a Group type. What’s left to me, then, is rational eating, upping my exercise, and impulse control.

Rational Eating

This is turning out to be easier than I thought, really. Luckily I live in one of the most fertile areas of Nova Scotia and am surrounded by good quality organic produce that was grown within 50 km of my house, pretty much. The Berwick Farmers’ Market and the Wolfville Farmers’ Market have pretty much all you need. There are a host of local farms, cheese-makers, bakeries, etc in the area. I’m not going to give an exhaustive list, because I really haven’t been to them all yet. However, if you want a good list of links (and some wonderful recipes), go to Jenny Osburn’s Kitchen Witch blog. Her blog is also listed as one of my faves on my blogroll. I love her restaurant, and I love her blog. I lurk it all the time and haven’t sent a comment. I think I should, and will do so later today.

sugar on a teaspoon

Oh Sugar. I love you.

But local produce doesn’t make for rational eating. It certainly makes it more accessible, which is good for me. My main problem, as I see it, is SUGAR. I love sugar, and sometimes even crave it. No, really – this week I craved it, more than I want cigarettes! Oh sugar, you are a harsh mistress.

So yes, I did it — I cut it out. If I can quit smoking, I can quit sugar. Right?

I went through my pantry and started looking at labels. I threw stuff out with impunity. Well, actually anything that wasn’t opened yet, I donated to the food bank. There are issues with that, but it didn’t feel right to throw it out, it really didn’t. Stuff that was opened, I threw out. I threw out stuff with lots of chemicals, and things with “ose” at the end of ingredients (sucrose, fructose, dextrose…). I threw out stuff with too many ingredients that I didn’t know (usually it was a preservative, if I looked it up). I decided to keep things that had only a few ingredients, ingredients that were, well, really food.

I didn’t want to get confused and worry about “rules” and points and this and that. I just wanted to make sure that what I eat is recognizable as food to me; that it doesn’t go through a lot of processing. This may be a bit harder in the winter, but I’ll figure that out when we get there. Right now I live in a fruit and vegetable heaven, and have an organic meat market 10 minutes away.

It’s not only sugar, it’s all that other crap. For almost a week I was strict — no sugar at all. Nothing. It was very hard. Because it was very hard, I started to eat fruit, and had a ginger beer the other day that rocked my world. I get it now — moderation. I haven’t kicked my sugar craving, but I’ve knocked it down a few pegs and I figure that a little more time of giving my body healthy food that’s really good too will lessen that craving all by itself. One day I’ll look for that black pit of sugar need only to find that it was starved out of existence. Whatever made me want cigarettes is probably closely related to whatever is driving my need for sugar… now that I see that, I’m much more aware.

Recipes The first one has no sugar at all. The second one does have some, but only a wee bit. Today I made a Summer Slaw and a Raspberry Clafoutis (custardy pie with fruit)

Slaw is easy and summery and crunchy goodness. They’re versatile and easily spiced and all around terrific. I’m not a natural vegetable lover and I never really liked slaw until I realized that not all slaw had to have Miracle Whip or Mayo (neither of which I care for). Until a few years ago I thought I hated the stuff! As with all things dear to my control-freaky type A heart, I learned that if I make it, I tend to like it (is that weird?). Anyway, here’s the recipe:

    crunchy, pretty, good for you.

  • kohlrabi
  • red cabbage
  • radish
  • fennel (keep some of the wispy greens)

Cut ’em all up in pretty much equal amounts. Cutting radishes into little juliennes isn’t fun, so I used fewer radishes than the other stuff. It’s really up to you. I also have fewer radishes because I kept eating them while preparing the dish. Oh well.

I dry roasted some almond slivers and sesame seeds until golden and then tossed those in with the kholrabi mixture.

You can’t have a slaw without some sauce. I drizzled the pile of veg with some extra virgin olive oil (very sparingly, just enough to make it a bit glossy once I tossed it using my fingers). Then a splash of apple cider vinegar, a squirt of lime juice and garnished on top with some chopped up cilantro and fennel tops, and you’re done.

Raspberry Clafoutis (custard)

This has sugar in it, but such a sparing amount it’s hardly worth mentioning.

Soooo creamy and rasberry-y!

  • 1/4 cup sweet butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I measured 1/3 cup granulated, and then whizzed it in my coffee grinder; I think this makes the custard smoother)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • vanilla bean
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • about 2 cups raspberries

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Get a pie plate (or two tart pans) and melt the butter in it, then remove.

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, flour salt, zest and vanilla. Add the slightly cooled melted butter from you pie plate (just leave enough residue that you can smoosh around and use to grease the pan).

Distribute those lovely raspberries evenly in the pie plate (be generous, though if you want it to be elegant you should make sure none overlap or are jumbled).  Pour the batter over the top. If you want, sprinkle the top with more sugar (I did, and used maybe a tablespoon?).

Bake until slightly puffed and just set in the middle, usually about 20 to 25 minutes Today mine took almost 30 minutes — so just poke it and see, and if the top is getting too brown, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes or so. You don’t want it to be firm, then it will be overdone.

Clafoutis, raspberry whipped cream, and Fireking. Ahhh summer.

Good served warm or cold, doesn’t matter, as long as you serve it.  I paired mine  here with unsweetened whipped cream (with some vanilla bean beaten in) that I then folded pureed raspberries into… I had extra). Ice cream might be nice too. I think I prefer it alone, with a raspberry coulis. Nice and tart.