Rustic Plum Tart

A rustic tart, also known as a Galette, is a very easy fruit filled pastry.  Really, just a single crust pie with the outside edges of the pie-crust folded up over the edges of the fruit, leaving the center open.  I like making these for a couple of reasons: they are quicker to make than regular pie,  one crust means less fat and calories,  they are not as apt to go over in the oven and make a mess, and it looks rustic, casual and free-form, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect.   Another reason to love it:  it’s satisfying as a dessert, but not too sweet.  In fact it is low in sugar–only what’s in the jam and the little you sprinkle on the crust.

This is a great dessert to serve to guests when you need something rather quickly, and it is impressive; i.e., looks like more work than it is.  You can mix and match your favorite stone fruits, or berries with appropriate jams.  Serve warm with a little ice cream or whipped cream.  YUM!

INGREDIENTS

Serves:   6

  • 1 sheet of refrigerated pie crust from a 14.1-ounce box
  • 1/4 cup jam  (with plums I used plum jam )
  • 1 pound or about 2 cups pitted plums, cut into 1/4″ wedges ( don’t be too fussy here)
  • 1 egg, or 2-3 tablespoons egg beater product
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (demerera sugar)
  • ice cream or whipped cream for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Unroll pie crust onto the parchment paper.  Spread jam on the crust, leaving a 2 inch clean border around the edges.

3.  Arrange the plums on top of the jam.

4.  Fold the crust’s edges inward, pleating as needed;  leave the center of the tart exposed.  Press the dough lightly to seal.

5.  Whisk the egg with a little water in a small dish,  or use egg beater product;  brush the egg wash on the dough and sprinkle with the sugar.  Bake until the crust is cooked through and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

6.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

SOURCE:   Adapted from a recipe by   Sonny Anderson,  The Food Network.

Blue Cheese Shortbread Cookies with Strawberry Jam

Blue  Cheese does not sit very high on my list of favorite foods;  in fact, honestly, its not on my list at all.  One day, however, I was browsing thru a magazine ( don’t remember which one), when I came across this recipe for Blue Cheese Cookies with Strawberry Jam.  The idea of a strong-flavored “savory” combined with a “sweet” intrigued me, and so I cut out the recipe thinking it would be good for a reception or cocktail party.  It has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for some time, waiting for the right opportunity.  Since this has been a week devoted to berry recipes, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out.

If you are entertaining and looking for something different to serve your guests, this just may be it.  The cookies are pretty, and with the addition of jam quite tasty, but I must admit I have not become a convert to blue cheese because of them.  However for folks who really like blue cheese, this is a unique way to enjoy it.

I will also tell you in advance that this recipe is not one you can whip up quickly, as there are several steps involved.  I got a total of 48 single cookies,  which when sandwiched together with the jam will make 24 cookies.  The recipe recommends a 2-inch cookie cutter  and that is what I used.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  •  2 cups crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks  ( 3/4 cup ) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves (at room temperature).

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine blue cheese and butter;  process until creamy.  Add flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt;  pulse until dough comes together.  Form dough into a ball;  flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes using a 2-inch flower-shaped cutter.  Cut out centers of half of the cookies with a small fluted cutter.  Place on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool on pans for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Spread about 1 teaspoon preserves over flat side of each whole cookie.  Top each with flat side of cutout cookie.  Store in airtight containers.  Note:  I found that the cookies will stay crispier if you wait to fill them until shortly before serving.

   

A final note about these cookies:  They are not sweet as you would expect a “cookie” to be, so in that sense the name is deceiving.  Also the fancy shape leads you to expect a cookie.  If I make these again, I would cut them in a plain round shape or a square so they resemble a cracker, and then the flavor of blue cheese would not be a surprise.  Those who have tried them agree with me that they would be very nice on a buffet table with other finger foods, and where cocktails are being served.  Thanks to my primary “taste-tester” for that in-put.