Friday, June 17, 2011

Peach and Blackberry Custard Tart

We have enjoyed all the fresh peaches at the farmers market the last few weekends and they are always giving out samples (which Audrey loves).  I've gotten several just to eat and decided to bake something with them this past week.  I have also been buying lots of blueberries and blackberries and thought the flavor and color contrast would be nice.

This tart was adapted from a recipe published recently in Martha Stewart Living for Peach-Custard Pie.  I chose to make it a more dainty tart and add the blackberries and I quite like my variation. The instructions for peeling the peaches was amazing and I thought the "naked" peaches were so pretty.  You scored them, boiled them for a minute and then placed them in an ice water bath before peeling.

What's not to like about custard?

I started putting the blackberries just in the center and ended up placing them around the entire tart so everyone would have a bit of blackberries. 

Add a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream and it's complete!

Jam Tarts

Jam tarts are one of the easiest treats to make and the absolute best use of leftover pastry. I made the peach and blackberry tart and made several of these with the extra pastry trimmings after making the tart crust.

Just combine your leftover pastry, roll it out and cut out several pieces of pastry with a large fluted biscuit cutter.  I have a special jam tart pan from England, but you could also make them as mini tarts, or place the pastry in the bottom of a muffin tin.

Grease the pan with Pam or butter, place the pastry rounds in the pan and fill them with a teaspoon of nice jam or preserves. I usually used homemade grape or strawberry jam, but haven't made any since I moved, so I settled for some nice organic jam from the market.  I bake them for around 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until the jam is bubbly and the pastry starts to brown slightly.

They are amazing warm from the oven with a cold glass of milk or a teatime treat!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Cherry Sauce

Our weekday mornings can be a little rushed sometimes, so I really love to take our time on the weekend to make a nice breakfast. I've made several varieties of pancakes - buttermilk, buckwheat, corn meal, with blueberries, pumpkin, apples, pears, etc.  I really wanted to make some with ricotta cheese though. I had some extra cherries on hand and thought this sounded like a great combination for a summer pancake breakfast.

I think the cherry pitter is the best invention, especially when you're cooking/baking with fresh cherries.

I've usually only used ricotta cheese to make lasagna, but it's going in pancakes this time.

The lemon peel smelled amazing and adds such a nice bright color and taste to the pancake batter.

I think they turned out great and little A agreed after gobbling down a few.  The pancakes were a nice light and fluffy texture and the cherry sauce provided a great balance of flavor with the cherries and lemon.

Recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Cherry Sauce
Adapted from recipes in Bon Appetit and Gourmet


4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 C. ricotta cheese
1 1/2 T.sugar
1 1/2 T. freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
melted butter for brushing the griddle

Cherry Sauce:
1/2 C. (or more) water, divided
2 t.cornstarch
1 T. unsalted butter
2 cups halved pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 14 ounces unpitted cherries)
2 T. (packed) golden brown sugar
1 T. fresh lemon juice


In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta, sugar, and lemon zest, add the flour and stir the mixture until it is just combined. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, whisk about one fourth of them into the ricotta mixture, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Heat a griddle over moderately high heat until it is hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface and brush it with some of the melted butter. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4-cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, brushing the griddle with some of the melted butter as necessary. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in a preheated 200°F. oven.
Whisk 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in small bowl. Melt butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cherries, 1/4 cup water, and brown sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; add cornstarch mixture and stir until mixture boils and thickens, adding water by tablespoonfuls if sauce is very thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.