So, I have to admit that I’m having a hard time venturing back into the kitchen. My inspiration and motivation seem to be running a bit low and it’s hard to get going. Actually, the inspiration is present and alive, but it doesn’t seem to be trickling down to the feet or arms so that it can be put into action. There are a lot of ideas knocking about in the old noggin but nothing is materialising.
I fear I may have burnt myself out over the summer. I really hope not because I keep going to the farm stand and buying bag loads of organic goodies and I need to utilise them creatively. Lately, dinner has been a last minute ditch effort and unfortunately, quite a bit of take away. It will not do. Thankfully, I’ve had a few recipes to share from over the summer and that has been my saving grace. However, after this one, I’m going to be up the creek without a paddle!
I’m hoping to get my mojo back soon so I can get back into the groove of enjoying the cooking and baking. I really want to because the temperature is falling and the days are getting cooler. The colours of autumn are very visible and I am yearning to turn up the oven and bake away. The other day I was so desperate to smell “autumn”, I baked up a batch of cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon, apples, brown sugar, vanilla and butter are all reminiscent of autumn and cool weather to me. They remind me of cosy, lazy weekends on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a good book, or even a leisurely walk on the trails, treading upon the golden carpet of fallen leaves with the blustery autumn wind whipping up around you. Fall is my favourite season and so, the fact that I have no motivation is just about killing me.
Until I get going, here is a fresh fruit tart, a bit summery I know, but you can change out the berries or it’s quite perfect for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. This was the dessert that I served at the Moroccan Dinner. The filling is an orange blossom water scented mascarpone and heavy cream filling and the crust is a semi cookie crust with fragrant star anise. A drizzle of slightly warmed pomegranate jelly over the top to quell any rogue sour fruit rounds out the tart. This Mascarpone Cream Fruit Tart was quite the hit. I didn’t manage to get any photos of a tart slice because by the time dessert time rolled around, I had cleaned the kitchen, packed up my stuff and was ready to call it a night.
The topping for this tart are endless and you can easily substitute autumn fruit in place of the berries. The berries, however, make an absolutely beautiful tart.
Serves: 8-10 pieces
- 8 oz/225g container mascarpone
- 1 cup/235ml heavy or double cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1½ cups/220g all-purpose/plain flour
- 4 oz/1 stick/113g unsalted butter, cold, cut into medium cubes
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground star anise or anise seed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3-5 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Fresh Fruit
- 1 heaping cup strawberries, cut in half if big, keep tops on some
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ¼ cup pomegranate or other fruit jelly, warmed up till runny.
- In a bowl, add the mascarpone cream and beat with a mixer until softened.
- Add the cream and whip to a frosting consistency.
- You can always whip the cream separately and combine the two.
- Add the sugar and the orange blossom water.
- Chill in the fridge until needed.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine, the flour, salt, sugar and ground star anise.
- Whiz to blend.
- Add the butter cubes and pulse to break up.
- To the beaten egg, add the vinegar and a tablespoon of water.
- Add the mixture to the flour and butter.
- Whiz again and check to see if flour holds.
- You may need up to 5 tablespoons of water.
- I usually need 4 tablespoons but this will depend on the humidity level where you live.
- You may only need 3.
- Process lightly till the flour butter mixture looks like it's coming together.
- Take out the mixture onto a clean counter and knead slightly to bring together into a ball.
- Flatten to a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out on a floured counter top into a 14"/36 cm circle for an 11"/28cm tart.
- I used a removable bottom tart tin.
- Gently lay the pastry into the tin and press down all around.
- I usually fold over the edges onto themselves to double crust the edges.
- Trim where necessary and prick all over with a fork.
- Chill the rolled out pastry for a few hours or preferably overnight.
- When ready to bake the tart shell, preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
- Line the tart shell with parchment and fill with rice or beans or pie weights and blind bake.
- Bake the tart shell for about 10-15 minutes.
- The tart will start to brown and if he parchment comes off easily, then it is ready to finish baking without the pie weights.
- Remove the parchment with the pie weights carefully and return the tart shell to the oven.
- Bake the shell further until golden brown all over, another 10-15 minutes.
- Check often to see and if golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.
- Once the tart is cooled completely, it can be filled.
- Take the chilled mascarpone cream out of the fridge.
- Spread the cream onto the cooled tart shell.
- If you are going to remove the tart shell from the tin, do it now.
- Carefully remove the outer tart ring and then carefully run a thin spatula or knife under the tart bottom.
- Carefully loosen the tart all around and slowly slip onto a serving platter.
- Once the tart is on the serving platter, decorate with the fresh fruit.
- Drizzle the warm jelly over the top of the fruit.
- Chill the tart until serving time.
I wanted to thank everyone who weighed in on the party etiquette question. I’m glad to see that all my blogger friends are well versed in dinner party etiquettes and also feel strongly about upholding them. It was also nice to know that I’m not the only one battling inconsiderate guests at times! I so want to invite you all to my place! I know I will have a well organised party with lots of hostess gifts and lovely thank you notes, emails and texts after!
So, here’s another question, this time on blog visiting, commenting and comment answering etiquette. I will say that I do fail miserably here, but definitely not on purpose. I write one post a week, some write three a week. There is no way I can visit and read all three posts. So, I’ll visit and read one or maybe two. But that’s impossible when you have 40+ blogs to read!
If I get a comment from a new blogger, I will visit their site at least once and comment and check out their site. If I like what I see and if we “connect”, I’ll follow them. I try very hard to answer all the comments on my blog but sometimes I just cannot get to all of them. Is that wrong? Do y’all get upset??
Your turn, what are the blog etiquettes according to you?