Thursday, September 3, 2009
I always wonder how scientists come up with all these hybrid fruits. Are they just bored in the lab one day decide to screw around, or is like a planned project to create something new? What if they fail and the new product tastes hella bad? I imagine that something like a kiwi-orange mix would be terrible, but that's just me. What fruit hybrids do you think would taste good or bad?
Recently, I picked up a hybrid I hadn't seen before: a plumtarine! If you haven't already guessed (which is pretty sad on your part, no offense), this plum-nectarine mix is the size of a plum, but has a sweet interior. The skin is also very sweet, not bitter like that of plums. I ate one plain to test it out, and I decided that I like them way better than plums. I guess the scientists had a success with this one!
But I still have a few of these fruits leftover, and I really wanted to make something quick and easy, so I settled on individual custards baked in muffin pans! I had a recipe lying around that used apricots, so I swapped those for plumtarines. The custards were not heavy at all, and the fruit gave them a nice sweetness as they suspended in the middle. I had a few extra slices so I just topped the custards with them!
Quick warning for my next post: Figs...again. I know, you all must be bored to tears by all this figginess (is that a word? Spell check didn't pick it up..), but I swear, this is the last one! Fig season is nearly over anyways!
Ideas for next time: Some sort of spice added into the custards [Anise?], caramel topping
Individual Plumtarine Custards
4 plumtarines, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C).
2). Reserve some plumtarine slices for garnish, if desired.
3). Place a 12-cup muffin tin in a shallow baking pan. Divide the sliced plumtarines among the cups or dishes.
4). In a small mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit.
5). Place the baking pan containing the cups or dishes in the oven. Pour boiling water around cups or dishes in pan to depth of 1 inch.
6). Bake in preheated 325 degree F (160 C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centers comes out clean. Remove cups or dishes from water. Serve custards warm. Garnish with the reserved plumtarine slices.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
YES YES YES YES IT IS FIG SEASON!
Now that I got that out of my system, I can write this blog a bit more coherently and feed my dalliance over reading about financial accounting. Nas-tayy.
I'm actually writing about figs [again] due to a request for this recipe: a deep-dish fig-almond pie, and it actually got me thinking: I am going to start writing a once-a-week blog post based on questions, suggestions, or requests. It'll be a nice way to keep readers involved, and they get to read what they want! I will post their initial inquiry in the beginning then follow it up, and all of these blog titles will be under the heading BBR: Blog By Request. Sundays seem to be the days in which I solicit my dendrites to higher education, so I can utilise my study breaks and steer clear from Facebook [as best I can; y'all know how tough it can be] and do something with a bit more meaning in my life. Sounds good?
So back to figs. Simply put, they are amazing, and they have such a short season [they will be gone by the end of September] that when they are around, you better go get some or you seriously fail. They are good raw, roasted, baked, even grilled! And they are a good source of calcium and iron, which gives me even more of a reason to indulge myself.
I found the original recipe here; it was a recipe-of-the-day from Food Network, but I decided to use figs because why not? I also used whole-wheat flour to justify me eating it [you know, for iron and what not]. My springform pan is also eight inches instead of the standard nine, but that only results in a deeper-dish pie, and more per slice! Make sure the pie cools or it will fall apart when you cut it..I learned that the hard way.
Before this recipe, I never even thought to make pies deep-dish. That kind of thing seemed reserved solely for pizza of the Chicago variety, but now, I know better, and I'm thinking that once fall rolls around, a deep-dish apple pie might be in the works! Or pumpkin! Or...suggestions?
IFNT [Ideas for Next Time]: Same recipe, but in bar form for different texture
Deep-Dish Fig and Almond Pie
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons anise seeds
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced, at room temperature (1 1/4 sticks)
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, with skin, plus 1/4 cup for top
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced and at room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 5-6 Black Mission figs, stemmed and halved
- Serving suggestions: Ice cream or whipped cream
Crust: Lightly toast anise seeds in a skillet over medium heat until aromatic, 2 minutes. Grind in a spice mill or mortar and pestle until fine.
Combine the butter and sugar in a food processor until creamy. Add the egg, anise seed, vanilla and salt and pulse to combine. (This may look rough and curdy, but don't worry, it all comes back together.) Add about half of the flour and pulse quickly 3 to 4 times to incorporate. Scrape down the edges of the processor and add the remaining flour. Pulse just enough to make a coarse, crumbly dough.
Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan to form a thin, even layer, using waxed paper to smooth. Freeze crust while you prepare the filling.
Filling: Pulse 1 1/2 cups almonds in a food processor until very finely ground (take care not to overprocess the nuts or they can get oily). Transfer nuts to a bowl. In the same processor, combine the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the cinnamon and continue to pulse until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse in the egg. Add the reserved almonds and pulse until just blended.
Arrange the figs cut side down, over the crust. Spread the filling on top and smooth with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup almonds and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pie until the filling puffs and is golden but still slightly soft in the center, 1 hour 10 minutes. If the crust begins to overbrown, cover the pie with foil during the last 15 minutes of cooking. When pie is done, turn off the oven and prop door open. Cool pie in the oven for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Serve at room temperature with ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.