Friday, August 8, 2008

A little down time...

As you can probably tell from the sudden frequency of my posts I've been on vacation (finally) for the last week and a half before my life is once again consumed by school. It really hasn't felt like much of a vacation, since other than cooking I have:
~ caught up on piles of laundry, or attempted to anyway
~ attempted to start cleaning up my house - I'm convinced - It's definitely a lost cause
~ expended crazy amounts of time on Immunology course work that I'm still not done with
~ spent an entire day in bed not being able to move and hopped up on muscle relaxers because my flipping neck seized again

So, needless to say, I need a real vacation. And since I have no money and L can't afford to take time off work - I'm heading to the Hudson Valley to spend some quality time with my best friend (since we were 10, like whoa). I plan on going wine tasting, taking the dogs for long walks and generally just lounging around on the dairy farm that her husband runs. Did I mention there is a pool and cold drinks involved? Yes it should be spectacular.

So as you read this I'm already there, enjoying one last student-free fling before battening the hatches as a new school year bears down, complete with a whole new set of challenges and rewards. But here's a recipe to enjoy well I'm gone - something I made during my quasi-vaca at home. It's really Dorie Greenspan's recipe - modified to fit my tastes and what I had on hand. But, well, YUM. It's a worthy occupant of this page until I return, which will be sometime next week (a schedule so delightfully up in the air that the thought of it makes me relax). See you on the flip side!

Nectarine and Red Currant Streuseled Custard Tart
adopted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours "Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart"

Sweet Almond Tart Dough
1/4 cup almonds
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg yolk, beaten
the zest of one key lime (or 1/2 a regular lime)
1 tsp almond extract

Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add flour, sugar and salt, then pulse to combine. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg, zest and extract and use 10 second pulses to blend until the food processor sounds different then before and the crust clumps. Empty into a buttered 9 inch tart pan. Press up the sides and along the bottom to form an even crust. The sides should be a bit thicker than the bottom. Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking - this eliminates the need for pie weights.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil about 2 inches wider than the tart pan on each side. Press the foil onto and around the tart, molding it to it exactly. Bake foil wrapped tart shell for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and press any puffed areas down with the back of a large spoon. Cool completely.

Almond Streusel
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp slivered almonds, seperated
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Mix flour, sugar and 2 Tbsp almonds together. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter. Add in remaining almonds and mix gently by hand (to leave some intact). Refrigerate until needed.

Fruit and Custard Filling
3 nectarines, peeled, halved and pitted, cut into slices but left in halves

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup fresh red currants - the biggest ones seeded (about half), the rest mashed through a fine mesh strainer (if you're not as insane as me you can leave these out - I just love the tart contrast they provide - but the seeds are nasty little things)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Fan each of 5 sliced nectarine halves out into the cooled tart shell. This should make a ring around the outside. Fan out the remaining half in the middle. Whisk together the cream, egg and extract, then stir in current mixture. Pour over nectarines. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 375, and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over tart and bake another 20-25 minutes or until custard is set and streusel is golden. (I had to use some aluminum foil to shield my crust from burning those last 20 minutes.

Serve chilled, and if you're feeling especially decadent, this is great with a scoop of black raspberry ice cream.


Heather said...

very pretty! have a lovely time on your vacation! a dairy farm sounds 10 times better than paying for a hotel :)

Amber said...

Hi Miss D....Okay I feel better now. I thought, man, this girl is creative all the time. I am pooped (I am such a kid, I love that term) after work. So I mainly cook on my days off, at least the big things, especially since I have been so busy learning all this. I hope the neck is much better, gotta love those muscle relaxers. Have you heard the term 'stacation'? I think the rich and the politicians came up with that trying to soothe us in these tight times so we don't rob the rich and overthrow the government. I for one am not buying it, give me Tahiti or give me death. Have a great last breather.

Maggie said...

I like the combination of streusel and custard. It looks delicious.

noble pig said...

Wow, it's beautiful! I love streusel and I've never met a custard I didn't like...wonderful.

Kevin said...

That looks so good!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That is one beauty of a tart! And I hate the red currant seeds as well--they're worse than blackberry seeds.

Hope you enjoy your time off!

Tartelette said...

That looks crazy delicious! Love the combination of flavors and everything tastes better with a streusel topping!! Enjoy your vacation!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

The top of the tart looks perfectly cooked and so tasty!

Leslie said...

I really need to get on the Trat bandwagon! This looks divine!
Get some sun and have a drink on me!!

Zooey53 said...

this looks amazing! great pics.

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