Blood Orange Tart


Lately, I feel as though I have been seeing so many blood orange-centric recipes and drinks spurting up everywhere. This is probably completely the result of some of my recent bouts of time spent on Pinterest; however, after seeing so many recipes, I knew I had found my calling to make something with this intriguing and beautiful fruit. Of course, I soon learned that blood oranges are actually quite a hot commodity and are only available at certain points during the year. After calling two grocery stores and finding out they did not have them, I became quite discouraged. But, as the age-old phrase says, “third time is always a charm” and I found success with the third grocery store I called.

After a quick search, I found a recipe that many have tried from Food and Wine Magazine: Flaky Blood Orange Tart. My eyes were instantly sold after gazing at its rustic look and the mention of a flaky crust. And, since it was coming from such a reliable source, I knew I had to try it!

Step 1: Make Dough


Step 2: Peel and Slice Blood Oranges


Step 3: Roll Out Dough and Arrange
Blood Orange Slices on Top


Step 4: Fold Up Edges Around
Oranges and Brush Edges with Egg Wash

Step 4: Bake at 375 Degrees and Eat!

Even though peeling and removing the pith from these oranges took what seemed like forever and my fingers were stained a purple-y/red color for a day, the end result was totally worth it. I can definitely see why these are such an esteemed fruit. The intense and unique flavor of these oranges paired with a flaky crust is perfect for a brunch treat. If you ever get the chance, I’d highly recommend trying this recipe or using blood oranges in a different type of concoction. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Cheers!

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Strawberry-Almond-Cream-Tart

So, continuing with this past weekend’s trend of using almonds, I found a recipe for a Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart during a recent shopping excursion at the local grocery store. After looking through recipe after recipe in the grocery store magazine aisle, I finally settled upon this one. But, I’m not going to lie, at first glance, I solely wanted to try this recipe because it looked “pretty” and it contained almonds. It wasn’t until after my impulse buy and I was in the car already on the way home that I realized that this would be a perfect dessert for a dinner party: light, summery, and the strawberries I had chosen were actually ripe!

Step 1: Crush Graham Crackers (You
Can Use a Food Processor — I Just Chose
to Smash Them in Bags!)


Step 2: Combine Crushed Graham Cracker
Crumbs With Butter and Sugar 


Step 3: Spray Pan With Cooking Spray;
Press Graham Cracker Crumbs Into Pan 


Step 4: Mix Cream Cheese With Almond
and Vanilla Extracts Plus Sugar 


Step 5: Cut Fresh Strawberries


Step 6: Add Strawberries and
Almonds to Top; Bake and Enjoy! 


Although I altered a few things from the original recipe, I’m happy with how it turned out. I really liked implementing nuts into this dessert because I often don’t ever think to add them to desserts. The key for the best flavor is to toast the almonds and the key to the best construction of this dessert is to use enough cooking spray (I didn’t and had some architectural failure when taking it out of the spring form pan). Anyway, all in all, this is a flavorful dessert that is light and doesn’t leave you feeling too full which is just perfect for summertime!

Cheers!

Pear Croustade

When most people think of fruit desserts, either apple, blueberry, lemon or strawberry conconctions come to mind. For me, I would classify myself as a bit of an oddball. Don’t get me wrong, I love classic strawberry and lemon-flavored desserts (as seen here and here); however, I love to experiment with new desserts and more uncommon ingredients (as seen here and here). Now, I realize pears are not “out-of-the-ordinary” or “unique” — but, I think it is safe to say that pears are not the usual fruit of choice. So, if you are reading this and you happen to fall into that boat, I strongly urge you to forget about the usual go-to’s and try this dessert with pears. I promise you will not be disappointed!

I have made this Pear Croustade many times (as seen in My Thanksgiving Post) — it has definitely made it into my rotation of desserts. At least for me, I love the fact that it contains pears. Pears are a nice change that pairs (not trying to make a pun, I swear!) well with the nutmeg and lemon juice for a not too sweet, but yet tart and delicious flavor. Plus, among my friends, this is hands-down their favorite crust out of all the desserts that I have ever made.

Step 1: Zest Lemon; Cut
Butter Into Small Pieces



Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients Together


Step 3: Mix Butter Into Dry Ingredients;
Use Hands to Crumble into Fine Mixture


Step 4: Stir in Cream With Fork



Step 5: Gather Dough Into Disk;
Refrigerate for One Hour

Step 6: Toss Dry Ingredients Together

Step 7: Cut Pears


Step 8: Toss Pears With Dry
Ingredients and Lemon Juice


Step 9: Arrange Pear Slices on Dough; Bake

This is a fun recipe that I will definitely love continuing to make. The key is finding ripe pears at the grocery store. I lucked out this past time, but I am glad that pears are soon coming into “season”. I will be on the hunt to find a good poached pear recipe in the near future – stay tuned!

Cheers!

Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust


I became highly intrigued when I found this recipe for a Classic Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust. Sour cherry “season” is technically in the summer; however, this recipe just looked too good to pass up. Since I couldn’t use fresh cherries, I had to utilize the options of either canned sour cherries or frozen sour cherries (the grocery store by my house only carried canned sour cherries). Using canned sour cherries was definitely not ideal; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the result. If using canned sour cherries creates a delicately tart, yet flavorful pie, I can only imagine what using fresh sour cherries would produce!

Step 1: Create Crust by Blending Butter, Flour,
Sugar, Salt, and Ice Water Together


Step 2: Roll Out Dough and Place in
Pie Dish; Cut Lattices


Step 3: Mix Sour Cherries Together With
Sugar, Lemon Juice, Vanilla Extract,
Cornstarch, and Salt; Place Filling in
Pie Dish and Alternate Latices Over Top


Step 4: Bake for 1 Hour and Enjoy!


I’m still in the process of perfecting the art of making pies. This time, the crust browned extremely fast during the first few minutes of cooking. Although it tasted delicious, I still need to practice how to perfectly brown the entire crust and lattices (instead of just certain areas).

Nonetheless, this was an amazing pie recipe that is definitely served best with ice cream. The sweet flavors of the vanilla ice cream create a nice contrast in comparison to the tartness of the sour cherries. I definitely will look forward to making this in the summer for future picnics and get-togethers!

Cheers!

Christmas Dinner

This year, I wanted to experiment with a few new and non-traditional recipes (for example: berry pie instead of pumpkin pie). The following highlights some interesting recipes I made from Real Simple and Epicurious.

Caramelized Onion Tart With Apples: I chose to make this because I liked the fact that this recipe was a mix of a savory and sweet flavors. Specifically, caramelized onions add a perfect flair to any recipe. Plus, this recipe called for Pastry Sheets which means I didn’t have to make the dough! Simple, easy, few ingredients, and delicious! What’s not to love?

Step 1: Chop Onions and Apples

Step 2: Caramelize Onions;
Add Apples and Other Spices

Step 3: Thaw Pastry Sheets, Add
Sour Cream, Apples and
Caramelized Onions, Bake!

Mustard-Crusted Pork Roasted With Shallots and Wine Sauce: This recipe just LOOKED amazing from it’s picture so I decided on a whim to make it. Good thing I wasn’t dissappointed! The addition of mustard made the pork juicy and very flavorful.

Step 1: Toss Shallots in Olive Oil

Step 2: Mix Mustards and Chopped
Sage; Add to Pork

Step 3: Bake at 400 Degrees for 95
Minutes, Cut, Serve!

Now, this next concoction was a mix of two recipes: Classic Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust (crust) and Mixed Berry Pie With Ginger, Orange, and Almond Streusel (filling). Every time I make pie, I always end up with too many leftovers that do not get eaten in time. So, this time, I opted to make individualized berry pies. Plus, I found a super good deal at Kitchen Kaboodle ($2.95 each for Ramekins!).

Step 1: Make Dough With Flour, Butter,
and Other Ingredients; Chill Slightly

Step 2: Use Rolling Pin to Roll Out
Dough, Spread onto Ramekins,
Cut Off Border

Step 3: Use Pastry Wheel to Cut Lattices

Step 4: Stir Filling with Berries,
Sugar, Cornstarch, and Lemon Juice

Step 5: Fill Dough, Place Lattices, Bake!

The dessert definitely took the longest hands-on time to make, but it was definitely worth it. I hope your Christmas was fabulous!

Cheers!