Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tea and Torte

Its funny. The two recipes I wanted to share with you are recipes you shared with me. But just so everyone can enjoy them. These are actually recipes I repeat over and over. What to do with strawberries that are out of season and a little tart for my babies likings. So I thought I'd bake the tart berries in this Strawberry Cinnamon Torte Kate made for me the first time she had us over for dinner in Brussels. She drizzled it with cream and it was just perfect.
I decided not to be a hermit this month and invite some ladies over for tea while the kids were at school. It was the perfect thing to serve to new friends. First, delicious! Second, fast and easy. Third, beautifully simple and casual.

Strawberry and Cinnamon Torte
450 g. strawberries, sliced
175 g. butter, softened
175 g. almonds, ground
175 g. self-rising flour
175 g. golden (raw) caster sugar
1 ½ t. cinnamon
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Icing Sugar

Oven at 180C
Line base of springform pan
Combine butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, eggs and almonds
Spread ½ of batter into bottom of pan
Layer strawberries on top
Cover with remaining mixture, don’t worry if berries poke through
Bake for 1 hour. Cover after 30-40 min if too brown
Dust with icing sugar.

I've had a major sweet tooth this month. Here is a japanese honey pound cake a la mode with a japanese azuki bean twist to it. You must try it if you've never had sweetened azuki beans from a can generously dolloped on plain jane vanilla ice cream.

I had some pie crusts left over from the holiday that I wanted to use along with my two cans of Oregon cherries. Jerilyn gave me this recipe which I've used over and over . I use the Minute tapioca to avoid the stovetop step. However this time, I forgot to let it sit for 20 min. If you zoom into the picture you can still see little speckles of tapioca. Definitely tasted better than it looked this time around.1 1/2 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons cornstarch/Minute tapioca*
2 cans OregoN Red Tart Pie Cherries, drained, reserve juice from one can
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon butter
Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from only one can. In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch/tapioca* and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cherries and optional ingredients. Remove from heat. Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter. Adjust crust, seal and vent. Bake 45 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

*Three tablespoons quick cooking tapioca may be substituted. Discard juice, combine sugar, tapioca, cherries, food coloring and almond extract; mix well and LET STAND 20 minutes before pouring mixture into pastry lined pie pan. Continue as above.