Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

Archive for the tag “Costco”

Nummy Pear and Cheese Tarts!

As usual, I forgot to take good photos, in fact, this was the only photo I managed before two entire tarts were devoured…. And you can’t even see the beautifully fanned out fruit slices I’d put on here…   Nonetheless, so yummy, I’m posting the recipe.

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I had a bunch of pears and some apples that were ripening faster than I could eat them, so I decided to make two tarts. They had very different flavor profiles, and opinion has been pretty evenly split on which one tasters prefer….  These are good warm and fresh, but possibly even better cold the next day…  Both very easy to throw together and I even made the second one (shown above) while people were waiting for their tea.

Fruit Tart with Blackberry Honey Goat Cheese

*  1 package puff pastry dough (there are 2 packages to a box) – room temperature
*  1 +-7oz package honey-flavored goat cheese (I like the Celebrity Int’l brand pack of 3 flavors from Costco) – softened
*  4 pears/apples/other – or some combination thereof.  I used 2 pears and 2 apples. – Halved, cored, and finely sliced – sprinkle with lemon juice to keep their color.
*  2 Tbl blackberry jelly or other fruity jam/jelly/preserves
*  1 tsp vanilla extract (optional – good to use if your goat cheese is plain)
*  1 tsp cinnamon
*  1 pinch nutmeg or cloves
*  1 tsp ginger

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the goat cheese, jam, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, until totally mixed, soft, and spreadable.
Take the puff pastry dough, and unfold it.  Butter a glass or metal baking pan (9″x12″ fits nicely) and place the dough in it to line. Should fully cover the bottom and go slightly up the sides.
Spread the goat cheese mix over the bottom of the dough, covering as evenly as possible.
Take the sliced fruit and fan it out attractively, and arrange over the cheese.
Top with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar or take 4 Tbl of jam and heat a little to melt (about 10-15 seconds in the microwave is usually good) then use a teaspoon to drizzle over the top of the prepped tart, or use a drizzle of honey.

Bake until pastry looks done – about 30 minutes.  Note, many of the puff pastry brands don’t really turn golden brown, so don’t let them burn waiting for that elusive stage.  The pastry should have a touch of color and be flaky to the poke, not soft and giving.

 

Fruit Tart with Apricot and Sage Cheese (Darcy’s favorite)

*  1 package puff pastry dough (there are 2 packages to a box) – room temperature
*  4 Tbl coarse-cut orange marmelade
*  1 4oz package Montchevre Apricot and Sage Goat Cheese Crumbles (from Kroger) – softened (or add 1 package of plain goat cheese if you want extra cheesey!)
*  4 pears/apples/other – or some combination thereof.  I used 2 apples and 2 pears. – Halved, cored, and finely sliced – sprinkle with lemon juice to keep their color.
* 4 Tbl Chinese Quince Tea with Honey (see note below)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Take the puff pastry dough, and unfold it.  Butter a glass or metal baking pan (9″x12″ fits nicely) and place the dough in it to line. Should fully cover the bottom and go slightly up the sides.
Soften the marmalade slightly (about 10 seconds in the microwave should do) and spread it on the bottom of the dough, try to cover evenly.
Sprinkle the entire container of goat cheese over the bottom of the dough, covering as evenly as possible. (add the second container of plain cheese here if you want more cheesiness).
Take the sliced fruit and fan it out attractively, and arrange over the cheese.
Top with the Chinese Quince Tea, drizzled over the top.

Bake until pastry looks done – about 30 minutes.  Note, many of the puff pastry brands don’t really turn golden brown, so don’t let them burn waiting for that elusive stage.  The pastry should have a touch of color and be flaky to the poke, not soft and giving.

NOTE:  Chinese Quince Tea is available in Asian markets and is like a watery marmalade.  If you’re not familiar with the quince fruit, it’s like a very hard apple that is largely inedible in its raw form but widely used around the world (except in the US) in teas, jams, liquors, and more.  It has a delicious citron-y aroma, but very little flavor.  However, when processed, the taste is kind of a combination of apple and citron.  The Chinese Quince Tea with Honey I buy is ready to be mixed with plain hot water for an instant hot toddy, but is also excellent in all kinds of baking. Here is a photo of the particular version I use:quince tea with honey

As usual, if you make any of these, please tell us about it!

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Darcy’s Blueberry and Herb Salt Cheesecake!

I was so happy that my Armenian Fig Cheesecake was such a hit, and I had a log of blueberry cinnamon goat cheese sitting in the fridge and the fresh blueberries at Costco were delicious….so when I was asked to make something for my husband’s colleagues, I thought of trying a blueberry cheesecake version.

I was out of sour cream, so just substituted plain greek yogurt, then compensated by using heavy whipping cream instead of the milk.  However, when I tasted the filling, it was very bland and seriously lacking in flavor.  My husband suggested rosemary and more berries, so I put in Huckleberry jam and he ground some dried rosemary for me, but it was still lacking the right note… I seized on some dried lavender flowers, and some herbs de provence-flavored sea salt (Herbs de provence is a traditional herb blend from the Provence-region of France – and heavily features both rosemary and lavender, along with other herbs like savory, thyme, basil, and tarragon – though the exact blend varies by chef).  I think we got another winner with this one!  Hope you like it too!  Btw, this would also be delicious topped with a drizzle of rosemary simple syrup!

The blueberry cheese log was 16oz instead of 10oz, and I used a smaller pie pan, so I ended up with enough filling for THREE pies – 2 using the Keebler graham cracker crust, and 1 using the Cinnamon Chex Mix for a gluten-free option.  See the Armenian Fig Cheesecake recipe for directions on making the gluten-free crust.

(I got distracted, and left it in too long – so it’s a little too browned on top, and my husband stole a corner while I was trying to photograph it….)

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Darcy’s Blueberry and Herb Salt Cheesecake 

MAKES 3 PIES!!!

Prep Time: 30 min.

Bake Time: 45 min.

Total Time: 4.5 Hours (3 hours of cooling after baking)

Ingredients:

3  8-oz packs of regular cream cheese

1  16-oz log of blueberry cinnamon goat cheese with figs (I used Celebrity Int’l brand)

1 11-oz jar of wild huckleberry jam

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

4 eggs

8-oz greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods brand Traditional Plain)

1/4 cup gluten-free flour

4 Tbsp dried rosemary – our rosemary was quite old, so very bland, so 4 Tbls wasn’t too much.  If your rosemary is new, try half of this and then taste.

4 Tbsp dried lavender flowers – see note above.

2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence sea salt – I used Chateau Provence Seasoned Salt by Urban Accents.

3 pie crusts – I used the Keebler graham cracker crusts – the 10″ size.

Fresh blueberries to top.

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Let cheeses stand at room temperature until soft.  Blend them together until creamy. Add the jam and cream and yogurt.  Grind the rosemary and lavender with a mortar and pestle until fine, add.  Grind the herb salt a little – you want to keep the large crystals and chunks, but you do want to even the size of the particles and release the flavors – I ground everything until about 1/3 of their original size, add.  Blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the flour – DO NOT OVER MIX – only blend as much as needed.

Divide the filling between the 3 crusts, and put into pre-heated oven.

 

Bake for 1 hour.  The edges should be lightly browned, and it’s ok if the middle jiggles a little when the dish is moved.  It will firm as it cools.  When done, leave the door closed, and just let the cheesecake sit a few hours until it cools.

Top with fresh blueberries before serving.

ENJOY!!!

In process photos:

The beautiful lavender and rosemary in my mortar:

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The blended filling – note the texture is lumpy – that’s normal!

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Darcy’s Armenian Fig Cheesecake!!

Never heard of Armenian Cheesecake, have you?  That’s because I invented it!!

We were invited to the home of an Armenian family and asked to bring dessert. I had the following parameters: Gluten-free, not too sweet.  Easy, right?  I decided that I wanted to bring something unique and flavored with traditional Armenian flavors, but I am not Armenian so didn’t want to make anything that actually IS traditional (I’m not competing head to head with Armenian cooks!!).  So I thought of figs and the young black walnut preserves Armenians put in their tea…and cheesecake, a nice classic for summer.  It came out DELICIOUS, not too sweet, very distinctive, unique flavor, fluffy texture, etc.  Both kids and adults loved it, even adults who don’t like sweets OR cheesecake!!

So I’m sharing with you:

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Darcy’s Armenian Fig Cheesecake with Gluten-Free Cinnamon Crust

Prep Time: 45-60 min. – including cooling time for the milk

Bake Time: 60 min.

Total Time: 5 Hours (3 hours of cooling after baking)

 

Crust:

2 cups Chex cinnamon gluten-free cereal, crushed/pulverized/crumbled

4 Tbl unsalted butter – very soft

Blend together, and press into the bottom of a 9″ glass pie dish.  Set aside.

Filling:

3  8-oz packs of regular cream cheese

1  10-oz log of goat cheese with figs (I used Celebrity Int’l brand)

.5-1 cup (to taste) sweetener of choice – I used the syrup from young black walnut preserves.  You can use sugar, honey, jam in a complementary flavor, etc.

3/4 cup milk – in which you’ve boiled 2 Tbl strong black tea and 1/2 tsp whole cloves until the milk turns medium brown and smells VERY strongly of the tea and cloves. Let cool.

4 eggs

8-oz sour cream

1/4 cup gluten-free flour

Fig marmalade – about 8 oz. Heated until runny. (I found a huge jar at Costco pretty cheap – used about half).

1 orange – zested

 

Instructions: 

Let cheeses stand at room temperature until soft.  Blend them together until creamy. Add the sweetener and the cooled milk and 1 full tsp of orange zest. Blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and flour – DO NOT OVER MIX – only blend as much as needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ladle a thin layer of filling over the crust and smooth.  Top with a thin evened-out spooning of the warmed, runny, fig marmalade.  Add another thin layer of filling, then another thin layer of fig, then a very thin layer of filling.

I had enough filling left over to fill 3 ramekins – skipped all the layering and the crust, and just put in filling and spread some fig marmalade on top then baked.  This was also delicious, so you can skip all the layering work if you want, and just do a layer of marmalade on top of the filling.

Pop into the heated oven for 1 hour – BE SURE TO PUT A LINER DOWN – this has a tendency to bubble over (because I totally overfilled the dish – I REGRET NOTHING!)

The edges should be lightly browned, and it’s ok if the middle jiggles a little when the dish is moved.  It will firm as it cools.  The little ramekins I baked for only 45 min.  – putting them into the oven 15 min. after the big cake, then letting everything bake and cool together.

When done, leave the door closed, and just let the cheesecake sit a few hours until it cools.

Top with a sprinkle of orange zest before serving.

ENJOY!!!

In process photos:

Adding the marmalade layer

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Side view of all my layers – except the final filling layer on topIMAG5597

With the final top layer – it’s so full, I know disaster (aka leaking) is inevitable, I don’t care…IMAG5599

Cooling… IMAG5600

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