Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cherry Tart

Remember that time I told you guys I’d post something to the blog within a week, and then waited over a month instead?


In my defense, I’ve been ridiculously busy.  Grad school is craziness!  Don’t believe me?  Here is a sampling of data from a 27 page project/paper I wrote last week.

Very Difficult 3
Somewhat Difficult 11
Somewhat Easy 4
Very Easy 2

Very Difficult 0
Somewhat Difficult 5
Somewhat Easy 14
Very Easy 2

Yes 10
No 11

Benefits Reader 2
Benefits Writer 6
Limits Reader 9
Limits Writer 4
"Yes, but…" 1 r 1 w

1) Peer Review 2) Instructor Review 3) Final Draft
1 1 2
2 2 3
1 2 2
1 1 2
2 2 2
2 2 3
1 2 2
1 1 2
2 2 2
2 2 2
1 1 2
2 2 3
2 2 3
1 1 2
2 2 3
1 1 2
2 2 3
2 2 2
1 1 1
2 2 2
2 2 1
2 2 3

% Less Helpful
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Remember how I’m in grad school for creative writing?!  Yeah…

This project took me FOREVER to do, including a near-sleepless night grading student papers a particular way, and then wanting to crawl in a hole and die when it came time to teach my two composition classes the next day.  The most challenging part was figuring out what to do with all this data, because it included *gulp* math.  I actually did it correctly, which is impressive for me, considering the countless occasions where it takes me at least 30 seconds to add two single digit numbers together.  I wish I was joking.

Point is, I was busy.  Very very very busy.  But I missed the dear ol’ foodie blog, so I’m going to make an effort to be better about posting on here at least twice a month like I promised. 

Of course, for the month of November, I plan to do another project (like the one I referenced above) for the same class, visit my sister in Michigan, do a public reading of one of my stories, finish revising the third draft of my children’s novel, and write another novel in 30 days for NationalNovel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year.  This is on top of teaching my 2 classes and fulfilling the regular course work for my graduate classes that I’m a student in.

I know, I’m insane.  If between now and December 1st you read in the news that a grad student in California spontaneously combusted, you know it was me.

I’m supposed to be writing a story right now that’s due tomorrow, so I’m not going to let much further ado get in the way of you and the second recipe I picked out from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. 

During one of their mealtimes, J says, “We finished up with tea and cherry tart.  Montmorency [the dog] had a fight with the kettle during tea-time, and came off a poor second” (193).

I wanted to try cherry tart, so I did.

There are lots of different kinds of tarts (you can check out my spiel on them on my post for TreacleTart).  I tried to pick a recipe that most befitted common fruit tarts in Britain, particularly in the late 19th century when this book was written.  I decided to make a cherry custard tart.

My decision to make a cherry tart wasn’t very timely.  Cherries simply aren’t in season in mid September.  So I worked with cherry pie filling.  I think that’s what made this dessert only so-so.  I mean, it was good, but it tasted very store-bought (not a compliment, coming from me).  So if you plan to make this recipe (now that I’ve given it such a rave review), USE FRESH CHERRIES!  You can use any fruit, really.  Just make sure it’s fresh.

Cherry Tart

Shortcrust pastry (This is same recipe I used for Treacle Tart)
Makes 6 oz.
·         125g/4oz (1/2 cup) plain flour
·         pinch of salt
·         55g/2oz (1/4 cup) butter
·         30-45ml/2-3 tbsp cold water

Place cold butter in a medium bowl and add flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender (or 2 forks), cut the butter into the flour/salt until the butter is in small little cubes/chunks.  It will looks crumbly. 
Sprinkle water tablespoons at a time, stirring slightly with a knife after each tablespoon (I used about 2 ½ tbsp).  When you can clench the dough in your fist and it stays in a ball, there is enough water. 

Immediately put in freezer for at least 10 minutes.  When you need the dough, take it out of the freezer and put it on a floured piece of wax paper.  Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it without tearing.

You will need a flan tin about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep, 18cm (7 inches across) with a removable base. (I used my spring form pan)
  • 5 oz shortcrust pastry
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup  milk
  • ½ tsp  Almond extract
  • 3 tbsp  sugar
  • 1/2 can Cherry pie filling (or 3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted)
  1. Roll out the pastry and line the flan tin. Prick it all over with a fork and bake blind at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until it is very slightly colored.
  2. Beat the eggs lightly with the sugar. Heat the milk and almond extract until it begins to steam and add the egg mixture to it, whisking everything together.
  3. Strain out the liquid from the cherry pie filling and set aside.  Spread cherries on the bottom of the pastry case, evenly.
  4. Pour the custard mixture into the pastry case and bake in the centre of the oven at (425F) for ten minutes and then turn down the heat to 180C (350F) and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until the custard is just set.
I really liked the custard part of this tart.  And the shortcrust pastry was good, like it was for the treacle tart.  I just didn’t let it pre-bake it quite long enough, so it wasn’t quite as flaky as my treacle tart crust.  All in all, it was a good dessert, but… meh.  Not fantastic.

I thought it looked kind of ugly when I pulled it out of the oven (Admit it; you thought so too), with the cherries floating to the surface, but not completely, and the deflated bubbles the reminded me of a really bad sunburn.  I knew it was supposed to look like this, because I googled pictures, but I still didn’t like it, so poured my left-over cherry pie filling liquid onto the top of the tart.  It made it look much more appetizing.  In terms of the flavor… meh. 

Mucho mejor!

I’ve never been a fan of the fake cherry flavor, which is what cherry pie filling tastes like, so that’s probably why I wasn’t over the moon about this dessert.  But I love real cherries.  I think this tart would be really good if you used fresh cherries in the middle, and fresh cherry juice to make a homemade cherry syrup for the top.  Mmmmm…  

Here are some parting words from Mr. Jerome:

“We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach.  Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgement [sic].  Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own” (133).

P.S. From Julie: "Tell blog world I said hello again!  I'm going to try and collect mange (many) Danish recipes. :)"

1 comment:

Rachel said...

You're going to visit Sarah? I'm jealous!

I've never been fond of fake cherry flavor. Every Christmas Mom would buy us life saver books with the money Grandpa sent, and Sarah and I would rip ours open and I'd hand her my cherry and she'd hand me her butter rum, no words needed.

I bet that recipe with fresh cherries would be awesome.