Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family Meals: Summertime

Take 1 apartment. Add a flood and sewage backup. Toss in an almost ruined computer. Fold with a block away from friends. Bake for 20 minutes as packing and zip car are produced. Combine. What does this make? Family Dinners between two apartments and 5 people.

This was my last week in Chicago. As stressful as it was, it was bliss to have a group of amazing friends so close that were willing to house us and put up with us for so long. They helped us pack, clean, move stuff, and dealt with our kitten and late night shenanigans. So in return we brought ALL our food over to share, eat, and cook together. Of course, this was our family dinners. And really, family dinner isn't complete without a delicious dessert.

Our biggest accomplishment was a fruit tart which combined a Costco size box of Bisquick I brought over, fresh fruit, and whatever else we had in the baking department together. To say the least, it was a fun adventure for Caylie and I.

Caylie working on the glaze for the tart.
First off, I made the dough. It was a simple 2 cups of Bisquick, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup soft butter, and 1 egg. The instructions say to mix the Bisquick and sugar first, then cut in the butter until crumbly, then mix in egg until the soft dough is formed. I just threw all the ingredients into a bowl and mixed it all up into a soft dough. Although this probably is the less-than-ideal, it still turned out okay. Sometimes instructions aren't hard and fast rules. The one you should follow, though, is to make sure your pan, sheet, or whatever you're placing your crust into is greased and floured. We just greased it and some of it was quite hard to get out of the tart pan, losing it's fun shape and becoming more of a crumble. Spread the dough across the greased and floured pan, press into all the spots and when ready bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes and cool completely.

While a lot easier than your typical tart crust, it does have more of that buttery, Bisquick flavor rather than the usual tart crunch. It's not the same and some will poo-poo it, but for a quick fix it's not bad. It just may feel less like the usual tart, but it's got a nice sweet crumbly taste to it.

The filling was from a cook book of Caylie's that she took care of and seemed quite simple.
Ingredients include:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks (oops we used whole eggs!)
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temp
You begin with bringing the milk to a boil. While that's working on it's bubbly self (keep an eye on it!) whisk the yolks (or just whole eggs like we did) with sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Keep whisking though and drizzle in about 1/4 cups of the hot milk, you know, once it's been boiling for a bit and not overflowing or anything horrid. Once the 1/4 cup is nicely mixed in, you can slowly add the rest of the milk. Once this is nicely mixed up you can change the heat to medium (if it isn't already) and start whisking with all your might. Bring this to a boil and keep it there for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from heat.

Now that you've got your egg, milk, sugar, and cornstarch mixture off the heat you can whisk in the yummy vanilla. Let this sit for 5 minutes, let yourself have a break, and then you can whisk in bits of butter until the cream becomes smooth and silky. This filling looks beautiful as is, but you'll want it to cool in a sealed bowl (with plastic wrap most likely) until cool. The freezer helps quick it up, but you don't want it to be frozen! We got impatient with this and ended up adding it to the crust a little too fast - nothing bad happened, but it doesn't have the same tart flavor when it's still warm.

When the filling is finally cool, and you're dying to eat it, you can pour it into the crust and arrange any types of fruits on top in whatever style you'd like. We had fun adding strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. This is probably my favorite combination ever, because I am a berry fanatic. The sweetness and great combination with the tart filling makes me pretty excited. Our layout wasn't very fancy, but this is where you can let yourself just have fun with it - or add your own creative flair!

When you're just about done arranging your fruits, you'll want to start on the glaze. It's pretty easy as long as you don't let it cool down because you're distracted by berries and then have to heat it all up again. Trust me. All you do is mix 1/3 cup jelly (whatever flavor you'd like! we used apricot) and 1 teaspoon of water and bring to a boil in a saucepan.

Once it's boiled you can glaze the tart. As you can see, Caylie has had practise before and knows what she's doing. The pastry brushes are always the best. I'm kind of in love with mine for various things. If you want you can always make a little more to do a layer of glaze, but just a little brush over all the berries is fine as well. It all depends how much sweetness you'd like on top of your naturally sweet fruits.

Now feel free to dig in and enjoy!
The filling is really great, and better when actually cold and not still warm like we did it. Berries are always a perfect summertime dessert, especially with the coolness of the tart and filling having been refrigerated. You don't even have to worry too much about the oven heating up the kitchen with this little sweet treat. Remember you can always decide on your own fruit combinations as well!

Cool down with this dessert and enjoy your family dinners! (I know I did.)

- Mollie

1 comment:

  1. Our family dinners were amazing. I will miss them and you!

    Hopefully we will have many more when you come back.