Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fresh Fruit/Veggie Pastry Rounds

The small ball comprised of pastry scraps in our freezer caught my eye. It would not be enough for a full-sized tart, but it could make several smaller ones. In the potager, there are berries, herbs, tomatoes, garlic, and mild hot peppers to be harvested. So a visual image begins...something crumbly, creamy, fresh, vibrant, and not lacking in the looks department so you are compelled to pop one or two or three in the mouth. These are versatile and can be served as appetizers/desserts or at a buffet or an informal gathering/party whether indoors or outdoors or in my case, lunch, well actually a second lunch.

1) First come the pastry rounds. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F/232 degrees C. Roll out about one-eighth-inch thick either scraps gathered into the size of a golf ball (made three 2-inch, three 3-inch, and two 4-inch rounds) or some made just for this occasion. Store-bought can be subbed. I used cookie cutters to make various diameters. 

Prick each round all over. Bake about ten to fifteen minutes or until bottom and edges are nicely browned. The smaller ones will get done faster unless you live in a different universe than I do and then all bets are off. Let cool with space between each pastry on a wire rack (I used an old oven rack).

2) The creamy foundation is next in line. Greek yogurt supplies both tang and body. You only have regular yogurt in the fridge like I did? Pour it into a fine wire mesh sieve held over a bowl, cover, and let it drain in the fridge for an hour. It's best if done overnight.

Since I was making both savoury and sweet rounds, I divided the amount into two, and flavoured one with a drop or so of vanilla extract and the other with finely and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

3) The toppings! Gather what fresh and prepared ingredients you have on hand and what you think will work together.

Strawberries, red & black currants, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, thyme & lavender

Don't worry if you can't use all the chosen ingredients or if you at the last minute realise, hey, I got this thing that would work just perfectly with blackberries, in my case, blackcurrant syrup (concentrated fruit syrups are very popular in France for making cold drinks among other things).

Green peppercorns, sherry vinegar, capers, raspberry & maple syrup, vanilla extract

Voilà! Raspberries beg to be filled if not with other fruit, then with chocolate chips, either dark or white, and butterscotch ones.

Blueberry-stuffed raspberry drenched in raspberry syrup

Strawberry half and well drizzled maple syrup

Blackberry half and rivulets of blackcurrant syrup

Plate garnished with black and red currant strigs

And the savoury...

Capers, fresh thyme, garlic sliver, half of a tomato slice, a drizzle of olive oil & sherry vinegar

The larger rounds lend themselves more to the veggie garnishes. All of them, however, were wonderful -- tasty, refreshing, and satisfying! The smaller ones easily could be eaten at one go, the others crumbled a bit, but nothing a napkin/plate held under them couldn't solve.

Tomato slice, pepper sliver, garlic, green peppercorns, thyme, fleur de sel, olive oil & sherry vinegar

In the potager, the blackberries are in full fragrance, ripeness, and toothsomeness.

Guide for ripeness: each drupelet needs to be plump and the berry comes off with a slight tug

This is the first season I am using fresh, uncured garlic. It has a lighter taste and when thinly sliced, has perked up many a sandwich.

Individual cloves, yes, papery outer covering, no.

The rain remains abundant.

The day lilies continue to delight.

Purple blur in background is lavender

The plentiful moisture perks up the weeds too! Weeding therefore is the main task at hand presently along with harvesting. The Abelia is flourishing, and the bees are showing their appreciation with much buzzing. There usually are around ten of them working this bush anytime I glance at it.

Early and mid season taters are now dug up and in storage!

À la prochaine!


Marla Spivak's excellent TED talk on why the bees are dying (one reason: less flowers!)