Sweet Cherry Tartlets

I love a little fruit tartlet for dessert; there is something winsome about having your very own tiny pie to enjoy.  Fruit is high on my list of loved things.  So you can see why I am really into tartlets these days.  Sadly, winter is a desert as to enjoying fresh stone fruit…they are plentiful in the summer to early fall, not in March.  I do not care for fruit shipped from the southern hemisphere; picked so green the flavors are lacking. Thank goodness for frozen bagged fruit.  I love using them to bring back the flavors and scents of fresh baked fruit pies even in March. I couldn’t find frozen sour cherries so I decided to experiment with the frozen sweet (bing) cherries that are readily available.  Bonus over fresh; they are pitted and they keep a long time in your freezer.  I wanted to make these tartlets for President’s Day.  Only two weeks late, LOL!

Don’t eat these tartlets hot; should be cooled to just warm if you like it so or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They are a perfect size, just like a big tart only tiny and each makes one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream, I had one like that today; dessert perfection!

Angie’s GF Bing Cherry Tartlets: makes 4

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Crust: You will need 6 flat bottom 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. I actually refrigerated my dough and made the second batch of 2 a few days later so just one tart pan worked.  Adjust the filling to the number of tartlets you are baking.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

2 cups frozen sweet cherries; measure and then cut in halves or even quarters if big, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

2-3 tbsp. sugar (I used 2) mixed with ¼ tsp. cinnamon and

1 tbsp. quick tapioca

A sprinkle of sea salt (less than

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Add 2 tbsp. orange juice

Stir and let stand while you prepare the crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking.

Break dough into 2 balls, one twice the size of the other.  Roll out the bigger ball of crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place across the tart pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper. Cut into four squares, mold to fit the pan, I cut off all extras and saved them for the second batch of tarts. Crimp edges all around with fork tines.  Fill each tartlet with cherry mixture after you have the crumb topping ready to go.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs if you want that look.  Leftover crumbs can be stored for a few weeks in the fridge in a tightly covered container.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Take one half cup of the mixture and put in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Add 2 ½ tbsp. sliced or slivered almonds, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs but I did use up all the almond crumb blend. Up to your personal taste… It sinks a little into the fruit mixture.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served within in 24 hours of when you make it for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes.

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Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes before filling it with the fruit mixture.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

Note: Keep the rest of the dough in the fridge; will keep a few days; when you are ready for a repeat: make a half recipe of the filling and use it to bake 2 more tartlets after you remove the tartlets from the pan.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and base crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.

Pear Frangipane Tart for Dessert

Pies are my favorite thing to bake. You might think that muffins would be my choice; they are great snacks and I am often blogging a recipe for tasty muffins but nothing makes me happier for dessert than a slice of homemade pie.  Plus I am ever on the hunt for great pie/tart recipes for my self declared year of the pie!  So when I saw this new recipe come up this September on Annalise Roberts’ website; I knew I had to try it.

I used just barely ripe Bartlett pears.  I didn’t peel them as the skin was very thin.  Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.  The crust is her regular pie crust and you prebake it and let it cool to room temperature before filling the crust.  Only difference is you make the crust rise up above the tart pan wall; so it is at least an inch to 1.5 inches tall.  You have to poach the pears first and let them cool, she suggests that you could do that the day before.  It is really neat how the frangipane filling bubbles up and surrounds the pear slices to create a tart that is sort of like an upside down pineapple pie but with pears and almonds.

It got a touch darker than I planned but great almond flavor, pears are perfect and the crust as good as any I have ever made.  A keeper for company occasions and totally satisfied my pear cravings.  A certain someone who is not fond of pears loved it and took a piece home with him for enjoying the next day. Winner!

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So, if you like tarts and pears give this recipe a try; it is pretty similar to her cherry frangipane tart recipe although it requires a glaze for brushing on the pears before baking.  I am guessing that if you use melted apple or peach jelly you could skip that step of reducing the poaching syrup to the thickness of a glaze.  I went the whole deal and loved every bite of it; keeper recipe for me.

I ate it with some really good vanilla ice cream, with plain Greek yogurt and with no accompaniment; great all three ways.

The recipe can be found at: http://mygluten-freetable.com/2016/09/gluten-free-pear-frangipane-tart/

Luscious Lemon Tart…A True Classic

 

Who doesn’t love a luscious fruit tart? But it’s the middle of winter.  What can you make that is fresh…seasonal?  2016 is my big pie year after all.  Gotta come up with something good.

How about a classic lemon tart? Lemons are in season, in fact, I have some fresh homegrown Meyer lemons my brother sent me from Texas.  And a couple off my man’s little lemon bush he grows in a pot, it is in his kitchen keeping warm for the winter.  Sweet!

Can’t think why it took me this long to make this wonderful yet very traditional lemon tart.  The recipe is fairly simple although you can’t step away from the stove while you cook the filling.  You must hang there and keep stirring or you are gonna have scrambled lemon eggs!  The crust is easy as they come; mix in mixer bowl and press into the pan, bake.  Done. Bam!

I am sure it would be just as tasty with the lemons from the grocery store but I loved being able to make a treat out of homegrown lemons.  This can’t be made with canned or bottled lemon juice; got to be fresh real lemons. I used the lesser amount of sugar and found it plenty sweet. And it is a great choice for anyone; use the crust you prefer, gluten free or not. Sure you could buy one similar to it at a bakery but this would surely wow your family when you say, “I made it myself!”

Some photos of the tart making process. I forgot to take one of the finished whole filled tart and there isn’t much left of it…so that ship has sailed… lemon tart 001

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Classic Lemon Tart

1 pre-baked cookie crust tart shell (recipe at bottom of post) baked in removable bottom round pan.

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3-3/4 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. grated lemon rind

½ tsp. lemon extract

½ cup butter cut into 4 chunks.

Directions; combine lemon juice, sugar, eggs, yolks in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat until thickened.  Stir constantly, don’t step away for even a moment.  When it thickly coats a spoon it should be done, do not let it boil.  The stirring process takes about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the butter chunks, stir them a few moments and add the lemon rind and extract.  Stir the filling until butter melts.  Pour into a small mixing bowl and cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap pressed right onto it.  Refrigerate until room temperature; 10-15 minutes.

Pour filling into cooled tart shell.  Refrigerate several hours until well chilled. Remove from tart pan and slice.  Recipe is from my new favorite source: Annalise Roberts latest cookbook, GF Baking Classics, The Heirloom Collection. If you love home baking and are gluten free it is a must purchase.

I like to serve it with a healthy dollop of Stonybrook Farm’s low fat organic yogurt.  The tangy fresh flavor of this topnotch yogurt makes a perfect contrast with the sweet lemon filling.  I served it like that to my mom and she thought it was some kind of special whipped cream.  It is that rich tasting even though it is low fat.  I can’t say enough about this yogurt.  I love it on other dessert treats: guilt free and surprisingly yummy. Great to cook with and to enjoy for a snack.

Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mix

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, in 5 chunks

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

½-1 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, cut in the butter by mixing it at a med low speed until crumbly.  Add vanilla and mix well.  If it is really dry looking add the tsp. of water.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of your tart shell as evenly as you can make it. I suggest you spray the pan first with cooking spray and sprinkle it with rice flour. Do not press the dough in too hard or you will have a tough time digging out slices….

For this recipe I use a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.   I think any low pie pan or tart pan will work.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Brown Rice Flour Mix  Identical to King Arthur’s gf blend.
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

 

Hand Pies – Heaven Comes in Small Portions!

Looking for a small snack, something that is fruity and flaky? Look no further than hand pies.  I make them out of leftover dough from pies or tarts.  I’d been making them long before I went gluten free…I’m still creating different versions in my gf life. They are very simple. Basically roll out a circle of pie dough; plop on some filling; fold over, pinch and bake. They are my secret treat when I bake a pie for company!  A hand pie satisfies that pie craving and is fairly portable.  Can take these treats on a picnic, to the beach or on a hike if you put them in a rigid walled container so they don’t get smushed.

I confess that I generally only make one or two from scraps when I bake a pie or tart but you can just make hand pies and it should make about 6 depending on how big you make them. You might get 7 if on the small side or maybe 5 if they are large!

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blueberry filling in this fat hand pie

Angie’s GF Hand Pies

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you do something else.  I use my pie bag; a round piece of plastic connected to another piece of plastic by a zipper; more sturdy than wax paper for rolling out gf dough.

Filling:

½ to 2/3 cup of jam, marmalade or cooked fruit – if you go with cooked fruit; add some sugar; maybe 2 tbsp of it and cook just a few minutes; don’t let it totally break down. Stir it as it cooks on low. I have used blueberries mixed with rhubarb for this fruity filling version; yumm!

I use a tablespoon per hand pie of fruit jam, cooked fruit or marmalade.  I love it with homemade jam or marmalade.  My Meyer lemon marmalade is fantastic in a hand pie.  I sometimes add a tbsp. of almond flour on top of the filling; gives more texture.

Optional: almond flour, cinnamon sugar

Directions: roll out a chunk of dough; about 2-3 tbsp worth; you can divide the big ball of dough into 6 chunks so they are the same size.  Make it a circle or oval shape, try not to get it too thin as it will be very difficult to work with and may break allowing filling to ooze out.  I peel the rolled out dough off the plastic, lay it back down so it will be easy to pick up once filled.  Top it with the jam or cooked fruit on one side; not too close to the edge!  Sprinkle with almond flour or meal if you like. Fold over the crust and pinch it shut all along the edge. You can use a fork to press it shut and make an edging.  If you leave any unsealed the filling will run out and make a mess.  Sometimes I bake them on aluminum foil so I can throw it away and avoid cleaning up the mess of burst out filling that has burnt on the pan.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if you like, which I do.  Lay on a baking sheet that you sprayed with cooking spray to cut down on sticking.  You could use parchment paper on it if you like. Repeat with the rest of the dough and fillings.

Bake in 350 oven for about 20 to 25 minutes; until light brown.  Cool before eating.  Easier said than done; I love them still slightly warm from the oven.  Yummers!

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (it is the same as King Arthur’s gf flour mix)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour