Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Maple-Honey Granola

This granola has become part of my favorite breakfast. I have it sprinkled over yogurt mixed with fruit, using whatever is in season. Often it is berries, but this morning I had the granola with a fantastic peach. Great fruit and yogurt with this granola on top tastes like a decadent dessert. The recipe calls for dried fruit, but lately I have been leaving it out because of the fresh fruit. Tory gave me the original recipe and I am very grateful that she did. She found it in Cooking Light magazine.
The original recipe calls for spraying the pan with cooking spray, but I put a Silpat silicon sheet in the pan. The Silpat works really well for this and also works well for roasting vegetables.

Maple-Honey Granola
4 cups thick cut oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup grade B maple syrup (I find it at Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup hot water
2 tblsp canola oil
1 cup minced dried apricots, optional (use Blenheim if possible)
1 cup raisins, optional
Preheat oven to 325°
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine maple syrup, honey, and hot water in a glass measuring cup and stir to mix. Place in a small pan with salt and oil and bring to a boil. Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat. Spread on a jelly-roll baking sheet covered with a Silpat sheet or that has been coated with cooking spray or coated lightly with oil. Bake at 325º for 35 or 40 minutes, until golden and crunchy, stirring every 10 minutes. I place a little on the counter to cool for a minute and then taste it to make sure it is the texture I like. Stir in raisins and apricots. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Apricot Honey Tart

This tart is a slightly altered version of a tart in "Patricia Well's at Home in Provence". The hardest part is finding apricots that have flavor to make it with. Other than that, it couldn't be easier. Though it is definitely best the day it is made, it is still tasty 2 or 3 days after baking. It looks like it came from a patisserie or so I was told by the folks I made it for.

Apricot Honey Tart
serves 8
equipment: 9" pan with removable bottom
Crust: unsalted butter for preparing the pan
8 tblsp (4 oz; 120 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tblsp (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
Filling: 1/2 cup (12.5 cl) crème fraîche
1 lg egg, lightly beaten
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp raw full-flavored honey, such as lavender
1 tblsp flour
2 tblsp finely ground unblanched almonds
about 1 1/2 lbs (750 g) fresh apricots, pitted and halved (do not peel)
powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375° (190° C; gas mark 5)
Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and set aside.
Crust: In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, salt, and flour and stir to combine. Do not let the dough form a ball. transfer the dough to the pan and evenly press it onto the bottom and sides. If you don't have a fluted pan (and I didn't) just press it an inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust until the dough is slightly puffy and set, about 12 to 15 mins. Sprinkle the almonds on the crust. This will keep the crust from becoming soggy.
Filling: Combine the crème fraîche, egg, vanilla, and honey, whisking to blend. Whisk in the flour. Pour into the crust. Starting just inside the edge of the crust, overlap the halved apricots, cut side up, at a slight angle. Make 2 or 3 rings, working toward the center. Fill the center with the remaining apricots. Place the tart in the center of the oven and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brow, 50 to 60 mins. the apricots will shrivel slightly. Place on a rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vanilla Apricot Jam.

In the fall of 2007 we shared a wonderful roomy house with 3 other couples in the Tarn, a region in the southwest of France. I bought a jar of homemade apricot jam in a patisserie. The jam was flavored with vanilla beans and it was the best apricot jam I had ever tasted. When apricot season rolled around the next spring I decided to try making some vanilla bean apricot jam. This is the recipe I ended up with after searching French websites.

Vanilla Bean Apricot Jam

3 lbs ripe apricots 
2 vanilla beans
juice of 1 lemon (I use Meyer lemons)
5 cups fine white sugar

Remove the pits from the apricots and chop them coarsely. Place the apricots in a heavy non-reactive pan with the vanilla pods cut into halves.
Sprinkle the apricots with the sugar and lemon juice. Mix and let macerate overnight, ideally 24 hours. Stir once in a while.
The next day, remove the vanilla pods and fruit from the pan. Bring the juices to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Put the fruit back into the pan with the seeds from the vanilla pods and continue to cook for 30 minutes, minimum. At this point test to see whether the jam is ready by placing a tbsp on a cold saucer. (The saucer should have been in a freezer until it is well chilled.) Run your finger through the jam on the saucer. If the mark from your finger stays, the jam is ready. It the jam fills in the mark, continue to cook it. When the jam is ready, pour it into sterilized jars and seal them. Turn them upside down and let them cool. Once they are cool, turn them right side up.