Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category


Favorite Fruit of the Presidents – Thomas Jefferson

We begin our President’s Day series of blogs by City Fruit staff members with a focus on Thomas Jefferson and his favorite fruit.

Heath Cling Peach

Heath Cling Peach

My husband is a long-time admirer of Thomas Jefferson so we have had plenty of conversations about our third president and his personally designed Virginia home, Monticello. When investigating the Monticello orchards, I first focused only on Jefferson’s favorite apples, the Esopus Spitzenburg and Newtown Pippin. Thought maybe I’d plant those varieties of apples in honor of the man and his orchard … haven’t yet.

But this week I dug deeper into Mr. Jefferson’s fruit fancies and smiled when I learned that he and I share the same favorite fruit: the lovely, delicate, versatile, scrumptious, elusive but not impossible to grow in our climate peach.

Peaches, native to China, were introduced to North America in the 16th century by Spanish or French settlers. At Jefferson’s South Orchard at Monticello he planted over 1,000 fruit trees, including 38 new peach cultivars. By 1811 the orchard had 160 peach trees, by far the most of any fruit growing there. Peach cultivars that Jefferson planted in the Monticello orchard included American originals such as Heath Cling, Oldmixon Cling and Free, Morris’ Red Rareripe, and Indian Blood Cling.

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Jefferson’s abundant peaches were made into a cider-like beverage called mobby, which was often distilled into brandy. Or they were juiced and mixed with tea, or peeled and pickled, or sprinkled with sugar and dried in the sun.

Not surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson also created the first American recipe for ice cream, and had it served often at his homes throughout his lifetime.

So for President’s Day, enjoy a very President Jeffersonian fruit dessert: Mr. Jefferson’s Ice Cream Sundae with Brandied Peaches and Praline Crumbles.

Even Thomas Jefferson had trouble getting some fruit cultivars to grow at Monticello. If you want to be successful growing fruit in the Seattle climate, check out the “Best Fruits for Western Washington Yards” Quick Reference Guide on the City Fruit website, under Resources.

Barb Burrill is the Director of Orchard Stewardship at City Fruit


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Walnut Date Torte

walnut date torteWalnut Date Torte


Active time: 30 min

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

Servings: Makes 8 servings


1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (1/2 pound), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups walnuts (5 ounces), toasted and cooled
3/4 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cups matzo meal or equivalent amount of country-style bread
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature for 30 minutes

Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream
Garnish: powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously grease a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan with softened butter or vegetable oil and dust with some matzo meal, knocking out excess.

Pour hot water over dates in a large bowl and let stand 15 minutes to soften.

Pulse walnuts in a food processor until chopped, then add 1/4 cup sugar and pulse until nuts are finely ground. Add matzo meal (2/3 cup), zest, cardamom, and salt and pulse until combined.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a slow stream, beating until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Whisk yolks into date mixture. Fold one third of yolk mixture into whites, then fold in remaining yolk mixture gently but thoroughly. Fold all of nut mixture into batter.

Spoon batter into cake pan and bake until golden and springy to the touch and cake just begins to pull away from side of pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Cook’s note: Cake can be made 2 days ahead and kept, in a sealed bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

We’d love to get you engaged in the City Fruit family! Check out upcoming events, become an ambassador to manage the fruit trees in your neighborhood and get your community involved, sign up to volunteer, or become a member to support City Fruit monthly or annually.

This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Pumpkin-Ginger Crumb Cake

For today’s holiday recipe post, we are venturing from fruit a bit and focusing on another seasonal ingredient: the pumpkin! Enjoy! This is a great addition to your pumpkin repertoire! Share with your friends on Twitter



Fresh ginger adds special flavor to this moist and spicy cake.  Serve plain or with whipped cream.
Preparation time: 30 min
Baking time: 35 min
Yield: 15 servings


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large mixing bowl and cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup crumbs in small bowl; stir in walnuts. Set aside for topping.

Add baking powder, ginger root and soda to remaining crumb mixture in mixer bowl; mix lightly. Add pumpkin, milk and eggs. Beat at medium speed until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).

Pour batter into greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with walnut-crumb mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*Substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

TIP: This cake freezes well. Cut into serving pieces before freezing, if desired.


This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Ilva’s Danish Apple Cake


Apples – 4 cups sliced or cubed
Sugar – approximately 1/2 cup
Vanilla Sugar – 1 teaspoon
Bread – about a quarter loaf, enough to make 2 cups of bread crumbs
Butter – 4 tablespoons
Heavy Cream (for whipping) – 1 cup

Cook apples in a small pot over medium heat with approximately 1/2 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar.  Make sure the apple mixture isn’t too liquid-y.  Once the apples soften, mash them with a potato masher and remove from heat.  They should look like chunky apple sauce.  Let apple mixture cool.

Cut bread into bread crumbs, approximately 1/4″ cubes, or chop up in food processor to desired coarseness. Mix bread crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar.  Melt butter in pan over medium/low heat, until lightly browned.  Add bread crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar and toast in butter until golden in color and crispy (be sure to stir bread crumbs while toasting).  Let bread crumb mixture cool.  Stir occasionally while cooling to prevent crumbs from sticking together.

Just before serving:

● Whip heavy cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar.
● Layer apples and bread crumbs in a deep bowl.
● Top with whipped cream.


● Any type of apple can be used.
● The amount of sugar can be adjusted for personal preference and type of apple used.
● The proportion of bread crumbs to apple mixture can also be adjusted for personal preference.


Melissa Poe is a member of City Fruit’s Board of Directors. She recently discovered this tasty apple cake recipe courtesy of her neighbor.  The recipe convinced her of the joy of warm apples and share with your friends on Twitter


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Seville Orange Tart

Winter is the perfect time to prepare citrus desserts! This Seville Orange Tart looks lovely, tastes divine, and is quite easy. Share with your friends on Twitter

seville oranges

Seville Oranges


The pastry can be made well in advance. Serves up to eight.
The pastry:
120g unsalted butter
100g light brown caster sugar
2 egg yolks
140g plain flour
A pinch of salt
24cm tart ring
1 egg

● Cream the butter and sugar until light and aerated (this is best done with the blending arm of an electric mixer). Add the egg yolks one by one and beat until amalgamated. Add the sieved flour and the salt and very gently knead into a paste without overworking the flour. Shape into a slightly flattened ball, wrap in film and refrigerate for one hour.
● Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Allowing extra for the depth of the tin and to overlap the sides a little, roll it out to a disc of at least 27cm in diameter. Carefully drop the pastry into the ring, making sure it fits right into the corners and hangs over the edge of the ring at every point. Do not cut off this overhang. Make absolutely sure there are no holes in the pastry, using any excess overhang to carry out repairs. Refrigerate the case for 30 minutes.
● Line the interior of the case with greaseproof paper or foil and baking beans. Bake in a moderate (180C/355F) preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper from the case and return to the oven for five minutes to finish cooking the base.
● Beat the egg with a tablespoon of milk and brush the interior of the case the minute it comes out of the oven and is still very hot. Return the shell to the oven for three or four minutes to bake the egg coating and thus ensure there are no holes in the case.
● Allow to cool a little.

The filling:
5 Seville oranges
4 eggs plus 1 yolk
150g caster sugar
150ml double cream
50g caster sugar for the syrup
Icing sugar for dusting

● Very finely grate the zest of three of the oranges into a bowl and then squeeze well and strain the juice into the bowl. Whisk together the eggs and yolk and the sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mix is smooth. Pour in the double cream. Mix well before stirring in the juice and zest.
● Lower the oven temperature to 150C/300F. Place the tart tin on the middle shelf of the oven a third of the way out of the oven. Carefully pour in the mixture and slide it into the oven. It will take about 40 minutes to cook. If the surface threatens to color, cover it with foil. To test, give the tray a nudge – there should be no sign of liquid movement beneath the surface of the tart.
● While the tart cooks, peel the zest of the remaining two oranges. Cut into fine strips. Put in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then strain and refresh them in cold water. Repeat this operation and then dissolve the 50g of sugar in 150ml of water. Bring this syrup to a boil and then poach the blanched strips gently until they are well candied. Drain over a sieve.
● Allow the tart to cool a little before sawing off the overhang with a serrated knife and gently lifting off the tart ring. Transfer the tart to a plate only once it has completely cooled and refrigerate. Dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar and serve chilled with the candied zest and no other accompaniment.


This recipe was contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Pumpkin Flan with Candied Seeds

For today’s holiday recipe post, we are venturing from fruit a bit and focusing on another seasonal ingredient: the pumpkin! Enjoy! 


Pumpkin Flan with candied seeds
10 servings

Foflanr the caramel:

1 cup sugar

For the flan:

2 cups canned or baked pumpkin or (preferably) squash

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

2 cups whipping cream

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt sugar to create caramel. Coat the mold (ungreased 7-8 cup dish or pudding mold) with the caramel. Process the other ingredients and pour into the prepared mold.

Bake mold in 325°F oven in water in baking pan about 2 hours 10 minutes =OR= (preferably) set mold in larger covered pan of water on stove top and boil gently for about 2 hours. First, set an inverted saucer or rack under the mold to prevent the direct contact of the mold and the bottom of the pan which could otherwise burn the caramel on the bottom of the mold. Custard is set when center temperature reaches 175° F.

Cool 1 hour; transfer to refrigerator and chill until very cold, preferably overnight. Invert flan onto serving dish. Sprinkle with candied pumpkin seeds just before serving.

Candied pumpkin seeds

Two sheets of parchment paper at least 8 inches square

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

½ tea
¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne

¼ teaspoon salt

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Sit in two tablespoons of sugar. Cook without stirring until sugar is caramelized. Add seeds. Cook, stirring, until golden. Add ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt. If mixture crystallizes, slightly reduce heat and continue stirring until it caramelizes again. Transfer to one sheet of parchment paper set on a heat-proof cutting board and cover with second sheet. Use a rolling pin to flatten the caramelized seeds gently until the candied mixture is no thicker than the individual seeds themselves. Let cool and then break apart.

The candied seeds are great on their own, like a brittle or over ice cream.

This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president, City Fruit Board of Directors. 


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Two Apple Shrub Recipes

This recipe shows a cold process, but some shrubs are cooked (see this recipe from Amy Pennington for a cooked Concord Grape and Lavender Shrub on our site) and some undergo additional fermentation. Again, the field for experimentation is wide! For more ideas, see Slow Food’s Ark of Taste pinterest page, or consider checking out this new cookbook all about shrubs: Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times.


Simple Apple Shrub

Recipe by Leslie Seaton of Slow Food Seattle

Yield ~14 ounces

2 cups peeled, cored apples (choose a well-balanced sweet/tart, firm, flavorful variety like Honeycrisp)

1 ½ cup sugar (regular white or raw unbleached both work)

1 ¾ cup raw apple cider vinegar

Optional: spice/spices (some to consider: 1 tsp allspice berries, 2 sticks cinnamon, 3 star anise, or 5 cloves)


Shred or finely matchstick the apples. Layer into glass jar with the sugar (start with a layer of apples). Place lid on jar and shake well to distribute the sugar throughout the apple. (Some sugar will collect on bottom of jar, this is okay.) Leave out jar (with lid on) for 24 hours, shaking occasionally. The apples should have begun to release some liquid to combine with the sugar. Add the vinegar, spices if using, replace lid, shake vigorously again to combine all the ingredients. Place jar in cool area or in refrigerator for 3-7 days, shaking daily. Taste and when flavors are well combined, strain liquids from solids through a fine sieve, squeezing the pulp well to remove as much liquid as possible. Store in refrigerator.


Apple Shrub Punch

Recipe by Courtney Matzke of Swig Well

2 lemons

2 oranges

6oz sugar

8oz Apple shrub

1 750ml bottle of aged rum

1 bottle of sparkling rose

1 persimmon thinly sliced


Peel the lemons and the oranges avoiding as much pith as possible. Combine with the sugar in a bowl and muddle the peels into the sugar. Let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour. Add the rum and apple shrub and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a punch bowl. Top with the sparkling rose. Slice persimmon very thin with a mandolin or sharp knife and float in the punch bowl.

Leslie Seaton serves on Slow Food Seattle’s board of directors.


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Introduction to Shrubs

City Fruit continues our holiday recipe blog series with a focus on shrubs! Our partner, Slow Food Seattle, shares our mission of preserving and protecting local foods. Make use of your apples this season with shrubs and share with your friends on Facebook

Apple Shrub

Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, might not seem immediately appealing to the unfamiliar, but these tart syrups consisting of fruit, vinegar and sugar have a lot to offer.

For one, they’re a creative way to add the tang of acid to a cocktail in place of the usual lemon or lime flavors. For another, mixed only with soda water, they’re a sophisticated, less-sweet non-alcoholic beverage option.

And of course, they serve a utilitarian, workhorse purpose that fits the syrup’s thrifty origins: the vinegar helps preserve and extend the life of the fruit used in the shrub. So they are great at capturing the flavors of seasonal produce.

Shrubs are part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, “a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.” On the tradition of fruit shrubs, the Ark of Taste entry describes:

Shrub is a colonial-day drink whose name is derived from the Arabic word sharab, to drink. It is a concentrated syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar that is traditionally mixed with water to create a refreshing drink that is simultaneously tart and sweet. In the nineteenth-century, the drink was often spiked brandy or rum.

Ubiquitous in colonial times, the use of shrubs as a flavoring for tonic and sodas subsided with increasing industrial production of foods. The entire shrub market was practically ceased until the Tait family in Pennsylvania revived the drink.

Considering the popularity of shrubs in the cocktail community in recent years, it seems we can consider the revival a success!

To help spread the word about the appeal of the shrub, Slow Food recently teamed up with Anu Apte and Courtney Matzke of Rob Roy and Swig Well for a class on how to make shrubs and use them in cocktails. We’re happy to share a couple recipes from the class that feature this season’s fruit superstar: the apple. First, the recipe to make the shrub itself, then a punch you can use it in for holiday entertaining. You’ll find these recipes posted on City Fruit’s site tomorrow!

If this is your first time making a shrub, know that the process is very forgiving and quite open to experimentation. A general good guideline is one part fruit to one part vinegar to one part sugar, but as you can see in the apple shrub recipe, sometimes you might reduce the amount of vinegar or sugar depending on how sweet/tart your produce is. Your taste buds will be your guide!

Leslie Seaton serves on Slow Food Seattle’s board of directors. Check out her post tomorrow with two apple shrub recipes to get you started!


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Polenta and Pear Tart

Pears are still in season! Any pears can be used in this recipe.





7 large pears
200g sugar
1 lemon

For the pastry:
250g cold butter
310g flour
135g polenta
100g sugar
½tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2-3tbs water
Egg for glazing

Note: 100g=3.5 ounces

● Peel the pears, cut them in half and take out the cores and stalks. Poach gently in a sugar syrup (2 cups water, 200g of sugar and the juice of the lemon) until they are quite soft. Leave to cool, then dry on a paper towel to remove all liquid.
● In a mixer or bowl, combine the butter, flour, polenta, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and the water – just enough to bring the dough together.
● Roll out two-thirds of the dough into a large circle about 5mm thick. Lift carefully and place in a 25cm buttered tart tin with a removable base. Position the pears, cut side down, in the tart. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top. Seal the edges with a little beaten egg glaze.
● Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 35 mins or until golden brown. Make sure the base is well cooked too, as the pears tend to release moisture.

Hazel Singer is the Vice President of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Vegan Apple Pie

IMG_0119My fiancé, Andrew, has been making this pie for years.  On our first date, we wandered a farmer’s market, where he picked out some green apples.  On our second date, he made a version of this pie recipe for me.  It has become my favorite apple pie recipe – its quick and tasty, and has never failed. The sour cream gives the filling a unique creaminess. Below, we’ve modified the recipe to make it vegan by replacing the egg with pear purée and the sour cream with Tofutti. We used a combination of Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Newton Pippin apples for this year’s pie (pictured here).  It is delicious!


  • 1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 pears, cored and cubed, then puréed
  • 3 cups peeled, sliced tart apples (about 1 1/4 pounds of slices)
  • 9″ unbaked pie shell, frozen OR your favorite pie crust recipe (here is mine)



  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the pears in a blender or food processor to puree.  If the pears are not yet ripe, you can steam and soften the fruit in a small sauce pan or crock pot. You need about a fourth cup of purée for the next step. (The leftovers can be used to make pear butter).
  3. Beat together sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and pear puree (can beat by hand). Add apples, mixing carefully to coat well.
  4. Put filling into a pie shell and bake at 400 degrees initially for 25 min.
  5. Mix together all topping ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Cinnamon Crumb Topping. Bake for and additional 20 more minutes.

Let cool for a hour before serving. Serves 8. This recipe is inspired by Simply Recipes’ Sour Cream Apple Pie.

Kate is the executive director of City Fruit.  


Recipe: Crab Apple Pie

Do you have a crab apple tree that is bursting with fruit but you don’t know what to do with it? There aren’t that many crab apple recipes out there but this one, submitted to us by Tom Douglas Pastry Chef Stacy Fortner, sounds so delicious it makes me sad this unique fruit so often goes to waste.

crab apple pieIngredients (1 batch yield in 9″ pie)

Crab Apples 6 Cups

Sugar 7.5 oz

Flour 3 tsp

Salt 3 tiny pinches

Vanilla 1.5 tsp

Lemon Juice 1.5 tsp

Water 3 oz.

Butter, cold cubes 6 tsp


Crab apples should be cut ahead of time.

We cut the sides away from the pit like an olive.

Toss crab apples with dry ingredients.

Fill pie and pour liquid over.

Sprinkle with cold cubed butter.

Bake at 375 for the first 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake until the juices begin to bubble and crust is gold brown.


Recipe: Strawberry Pie Filling

Photo by Fried Dough on Flickr

Did you know that May is National Strawberry Month? To celebrate we’re posting Betsy Moyer’s delicious recipe for strawberry pie filling.


2  cups  ripe strawberries

1/2  cup  water

2/3  cup  sugar

2  tablespoons  cornstarch

1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice

6  cups  small ripe strawberries

1  cup  whipped cream



To prepare filling, mash 2 cups strawberries with a potato masher. Combine mashed strawberries and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the strawberry mixture through a sieve into a bowl, and reserve 1 cup strawberry liquid (add enough water to measure 1 cup, if necessary). Compost pulp or use it for ice cream topping!

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a pan; add strawberry liquid, stirring well with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.

Arrange a layer of small strawberries, stem sides down, in the crust. Spoon about one-third of sauce over the strawberries. Arrange the remaining strawberries on top, and spoon the remaining sauce over the strawberries. Chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.


Mirabelle Tart, English Style

I found this great recipe by Rowley Leigh in the Financial Times of London for this Mirabelle Tart. Not only is it beautiful and delicious, but it will test your metric ability in the kitchen!










Mirabelle Tart
The pastry
100g unsalted butter
100g light brown caster sugar
1 egg
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
• Cream the butter and sugar with the beater of a food mixer or in a bowl with a wooden spoon. When they are perfectly smooth, add the beaten egg and incorporate it into the mass to form a wet paste. Sieve the flour and salt and add to the mixture, folding it in very gently without over working the dough. Collect together and roll into a thick log about 12cm in diameter. Refrigerate.

Pastry cream
1 vanilla pod
500ml milk
6 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
75g flour
• Split the vanilla pod and put it in a saucepan with the milk and bring gently to the boil. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar very well until they are pale and increase a little in volume. Add the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Pour the boiling milk on to this mixture, whisk it well and return to the heat. Bring this gently back to the boil, stirring constantly and making sure none is catching on the sides or corners of the pan. Turn down the heat and continue stirring for 3-4 minutes. You should now have a thick, rich and lump- free custard. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with icing sugar and then cover the surface with cling film (unless you have that strange but not unusual predilection for custard skin) and cool.
The tart
750g Mirabelles
1 tbs icing sugar
• Soften the pastry by hitting it vigorously with a rolling pin. Roll it out in a circle to a thickness of 3mm and, rolling it around the pin, lift it off the table and drop it into a tart ring 26cm in diameter. Make sure that there is no gap in the corners and that there is a 1cm overhang at the edge. Crimp the border gently over the rim of the ring, slide the tart case on to a metal baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C. Dock the base of the tart shell with a fork and cook it in the oven for 15 minutes. While still soft, take a sharp knife and run it around the top edge of the tart and remove the overhanging pastry. Let the case cool down.
• Fill the cool tart case with the pastry cream. Lay the Mirabelles in tightly fitting concentric circles on top. Wrap a twist of foil in a ring to protect the exposed pastry, dust the Mirabelles with the icing sugar and return the tart to the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.


Cherries are in full swing!

I went to the farmers’ market on Saturday and found cherries, cherries, & more cherries…all local! And local apricots! Here is a recipe combining both of these wonderful fruits.


Cherry Apricot Almond Tart

Buttery, crumbly tart crust
¼ cup toasted almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-⅓ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg + 1 yolk, beaten
3 tablespoons cold water
Pulse the almonds and sugar together in a food processor until finely ground. Add flours, butter and salt and process until consistency of wet sand. Add egg and as much water as needed, little by little, until dough comes together into a ball. Divide into two balls, flatten into 4-inch discs, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
Makes 2 crusts
Preheat oven to 400 F.
1 disc of Buttery, Crumbly Tart Crust, chilled
¼ cup blanched almonds
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 large egg
½ cup creme fraiche
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 pound cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 pound apricots, halved and pitted
Roll out the pastry dough on a silicone mat or floured surface to a 13-inch circle. Spray a 10- or 11-inch tart pan with cooking spray and carefully lay the dough on top. Tuck it in to fit to the pan and trim the top, leaving a ¼ inch above the pan. Crimp edges along the ridges of the pan.
Spray a sheet of parchment paper with cooking spray and lay, spray side down, on the pastry shell. Fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans or weights and paper, and let crust cool on a rack.
Pulse together almonds and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add egg, creme fraiche and almond extract, and and run the processor until the mixture is smooth. Scoop mixture onto tart shell and spread evenly.
Arrange the halved cherries and apricots on top of the tart, cut side up. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar and bake 30-40 minutes, until filling is set.
Let cool and serve.
Serves 12


Michael Natkin Supports City Fruit!

herbivoracious .  Chef, blogger and author Michael Natkin writes:  “I don’t care if you are a vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, vegan, pescetarian, or flexitarian! Labels don’t matter. If you want to eat a meatless meal tonight, I want to make sure it is hearty, beautiful, and absolutely delicious.”  I bought his cookbook – I couldn’t resist.  herbivoracious makes you want to rush into the kitchen and get started.  NPR and Amazon voted it one of the 10 best cookbooks in 2012.  Michael is supporting City Fruit by donating $5 to us for every cookbook he sells online.  Buy it here. 



To fabulous rhubarb, add strawberries….

My garden is still producing buckets of rhubarb for which I am grateful as we use it in sweet and savory ways. And now, the local strawberries are arriving! Here is a recipe I found on Food52 and it is easy and delicious.

Makes 5 cups
2 cups hulled strawberries, cut in half
3 cups roughly chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon basalmic vineagar
1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large cooking dish with parchment paper, this is a juicy dish and you don’t want the delicious juices running all over your oven.
2. In a large bowl mix the strawberries and rhubarb. In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup, sweet vermouth, balsamic vinegar and salt. Pour this over the rhubarb and strawberries, gently tossing until coated. Spread the fruit out on the baking dish in a single layer, drizzling the juices over the fruit and slide into the oven.
3. Roast the fruit for about 40 minutes, the juices should be thick and the rhubarb tender to touch. Transfer to a bowl once out of the oven and still warm. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week Serve spooned onto ice cream or a slice of sweet bread, a biscuit, oatmeal or french toast.


Another wonderful way to use your rhubarb!

Our plants are more productive than ever….and am I glad! The New York Times’ Dining section had a great recipe for Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl.

Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl
1 hour 15 minutes plus chilling and freezing time
• 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1 and 3/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
• Pinch fine sea salt
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream
• 3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, whisk together the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds and its pod. Simmer gently until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod and return mixture to a bare simmer.
Place the yolks in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture. Scrape the custard back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in sour cream. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb with 1 cup sugar. Simmer until rhubarb is just tender and has begun releasing its juices, but has not started to fall apart, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to a bowl. Continue to simmer the juices until syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb. Cool completely.
In a clean, dry and preferably nonstick skillet, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over medium heat. When it begins to melt and lightly color, sprinkle in 2 more tablespoons and start swirling pan to help evenly distribute sugar. Add the final 2 tablespoons and cook, swirling pan until all the sugar has melted. Let cook, swirling occasionally, until the sugar syrup caramelizes and turns dark brown. Pour in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons water (stand back; it may splatter). Simmer, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth. Cool completely.
Pour the custard base into an ice cream machine and churn. Add rhubarb compote for the last minute of churning.
Scrape a quarter of the caramel into the bottom of a freezer-proof quart container. Top with a quarter of the ice cream. Repeat layering until all of the caramel and ice cream has been used, ending with the ice cream. Freeze until firm for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
YIELD one scant quart


It’s Rhubarb Season!

My rhubarb plants are so productive already, I have plenty of stalks for crisps and sauces. See our recipe index for previous rhubarb recipes and here is one that is sure to please family and friends. I found it in the Williams Sonoma online recipe collection: a great go-to site if you are looking for new recipes.

Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chops with Rhubarb Mostarda

Pork marries well with many fruits, and in the spring, this rhubarb-mustard condiment, known as mostarda in Italy, makes a wonderful accompaniment. If possible, make the mostarda the day before, which will allow its complex flavors to meld. Purchase chops from the rib end for the most flavor. If you are cooking over charcoal, be sure to create a cooler area on the grill where you can finish cooking these big, thick chops.
For the rhubarb mostarda:
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 1/2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
• 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
• 2 Tbs. dry mustard
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste

• 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
• 2 Tbs. olive oil
• 2 small garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 4 double-cut pork chops, each about 1 lb. and 1 1/2 inches thick
• 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
To make the mostarda, in a large, heavy pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic and cumin. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb and onion, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently to break up the rhubarb, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, season with pepper and stir until smooth. Let cool completely. If desired, refrigerate overnight. Return the mostarda to room temperature before serving.

In a shallow nonreactive dish that will hold the pork chops in a single layer, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Place the chops in the dish and brush both sides thoroughly with the lemon mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours, turning the chops occasionally.

Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the chops from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade if using a charcoal grill.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.

Place the chops on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire or in the grill pan and cook without moving them for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Move the chops after 1 minute if the fire flares up. Turn the chops over and cook until they are golden brown and crusty, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes more. If using a charcoal grill, brush the chops occasionally with the reserved marinade. Move the chops to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat, and cook until the chops are firm to the touch but still have a little give, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Transfer the chops to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately with the mostarda. Serves 4.


Cozy Food in Winter

Looking for a delicious recipe to serve friends and family at a winter brunch? Try this one out.

Spicy Ginger Muffins With Currants and Toasted Pecans

Butter for greasing muffin tin
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
5 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup dried currants
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Pour into a large bowl. Whisk in baking soda until dissolved. Whisk in molasses and oil until mixture is tepid. Whisk in eggs and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry. Fold in 4 tablespoons crystallized ginger, then the pecans and currants. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger until mixture forms a smooth glaze. Spoon glaze evenly over muffins. Sprinkle tops with remaining 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger.


Pears for the Season

Nell’s restaurant recently shared the following recipe with their email list. It is the perfect treat at this time of year.

Red Wine & Star Anise Poached Pears
with Pear Ice Cream
. . .


6 Bosc or D’Anjou pears
3 cups full bodied red wine
1 cup sugar
5 pieces Star Anise
1 bay leaf
2 cloves

* Add wine, sugar and spices to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

* Peel pears and cut in half. With a melon baller, cut out pits and use knife to cut bottom and stem. Also with knife slice a bit off rounded side to flatten pear allowing it to sit in bowl.

* Add to simmering wine and cook till tender about 10 – 20 minutes depending upon how ripe pears are.

* Cool in liquid.
. . .

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup sugar
9 egg yolks
4 Bosc or D’Anjou pear, ripe
* Peel and core pears. Cut into pieces, add ½ cup sugar and 2 TBLS water and cook in covered sauce pan till tender

* Combine cream, milk and ¾ cup sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil

* Let cool for one minutes and add ¾ cup hot cream to egg yolks, stir and add back into sauce pan of cream. Depending upon temperature of cream, it may thicken or you may need to heat further stirring constantly till mixture coats the back of a spoon.

* Strain through a fine strainer and cool
* Puree pears, strain and add to custard
* Spin in ice cream machine

– Makes about 1 ½ quarts (12 or more servings) –
. . .

Serve pears in a bowl, drizzle with the red wine and a scoop of pear ice cream on top