Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Best of: Sour Cherry and Goat Cheese Tart
Lists. I love making lists. Lists of movies to see, books to read, records to check out. Lists of recipes to try, blogs to visit, places to go. I've made a list of all the concerts I've seen (54!), and if there's ever a day when I tie the knot, well, there's a list of music I'd like to hear. There's lists of plants to grow next season, seeds to order. People to call, people to write - well there's a list for that, too. Often I'll write the list in a notebook, alongside favourite excerpts from books or just random quotes I like. Maybe even a sketch or two thrown in. Lots of doodles. Or sometimes I simply write the date, and my top 3 favourite things that happened that day. I love these little books, and yes I'm aware that all of this list-writing makes me a huge dork. Funny, I'm not much of a journal girl; hell I don't think I've written in one since grade 9 (note to self: find and destroy!). But in a weird way, this blog is almost like a journal - the bits and pieces I want you to know, anyway.
The list I always look forward to making is my Best of Summer: a crazy random list my favourite moments over the past four months. (I do one at the end of the year too, and tuck it inside a book on my shelf, and it's pretty cool to discover one, years later.) I'm not entirely sure why I do this; maybe I'm afraid I won't remember how much I adored and devoured my squash blossoms, or how I loved driving down dusty gravel roads under the sky blue sky. Maybe it's my way of preserving such memories; a documentation of what I did and where I was in the Summer of 2011. And it's not like anything earth-shatteringly exciting happened or anything. Just life.
So, in no particular order, a bit of my list: blowing bubbles and eating ice cream cones with my super adorable nieces; beers and bonfires; picking raspberries still warm from the sun; loving every minute of the U2 concert; digging in the dirt; laughing with old friends over horrid yearbook photos; peach juice running down my chin; nights too hot to sleep; books too good to put down; eating just-picked greens; laughing so hard at Bridesmaids I thought I was going to choke; watching my nephew take his first exploratory steps; stargazing; friends+patios+drinks; sundresses and sandals; cut offs and bare feet; the farmer's market, early in the morning; iced coffee; Tegan and Sara under stormy skies; eating rhubarb pie under tall, tall trees; daytrippin' with my mama; this song; darkest blue thunderclouds; strawberry shortcake and foxy ladies; toes in sand; reading Rob Lowe's words in the hammock; eating peas from the pod; getting a shout-out in the Edmonton Journal; walkin' and talkin'; cast iron cooking and collaborating; car wheels on gravel roads. Life's rich pageant, indeed.
One of THE best things I did this summer, was pick buckets of sour cherries, while I was on vacation. Me and my cousin Leanne sped across newly paved highway on a bright August morning to this orchard. Hanging like grapes, they were. Tart, but with a bright sweetness. Incomparable flavour. Yes, they were a pain to pit (I still find bits of cherry juice on the walls!) but I am so happy to have bags of these babies tucked away in my freezer. I'll be hoarding my cherries over the coming months; savouring every single one, until I can go pick again. Well not quite. I'll be happy if they last me until Christmas!
I'll be honest with you. I had no idea what I was doing when I made this tart. All I know is that I wanted a rustic sour cherry tart, with goat cheese and puff pastry. I saw this recipe for turnovers, and kind of ran with it. The idea of making individual pastries was not what I had in mind, so I just put all of the filling in the middle, folded over the pastry and thought, well, what's the worst that can happen? I'm a fan of all things puffed and pastry, and unless I burnt the tart or something, I had a feeling the outcome would not suck. Lucky me! The experiment was a massive success. The boldness of the cherries melds perfectly with the creamy goat cheese. Warm layers of puff pastry provide a perfect envelope, and well, do I need to tell you I ate it cold for breakfast too? Amazing stuff. If you don't have sour cherries stashed away, I think blueberries would work, cranberries too, just pump up the sugar. I think I'll experiment more with different fruits and report back later. Softly caramelized pears would be fabulous, maybe with a bit of rosemary. There. I better go write that in my little book. Start making a list of other fruit that would go well in a goat cheese tart. Told you I was a dork.
Sour Cherry and Goat Cheese Tart
1 1/2 cups sour cherries, thawed if frozen
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 ounces (90 grams) goat cheese
1/8 cup sugar
1 sheet of puff pastry (mine was 10 inches by 10 inches)
beaten egg, coarse sugar
In a small sauce pan, combine the cherries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently simmer until thickened. Let cool completely. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese and sugar. Line a bake sheet with parchment. Place the puff pastry on the parchment. Spread or dollop the goat cheese in the centre of the pastry. Pour the cherry filling over top, being careful to stay in the centre. Fold in the sides of the puff pastry. Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the lower half of a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 25-30 minutes, until golden. Makes about 6 decent slices. Adapted from Beth Michelle.
And one last look at the beauties...