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Cherry Marzipan Tart With Cognac Cream

Cherry Marzipan Tart With Cognac Cream

Cherry tart is but a simple one yet an elegant one filled with the nuttiness of both the oat and almond crust as well as the marzipan creamed for the frangipane filling. To top it with fresh cream whipped with a pour of cognac was rather natural. Cherries and cognac have a relationship not exactly incestuous but yet very wicked and very very alluring. Then, I must needs macerate the fruit in cognac, after all. That was the final layer and it was decadent!

I don't think I need to elaborate how amazing this tart was. Light, fruity and indulgent all in a bite. It does happen to be gluten free, but I must insist that as incidental as it is, it is also essential; The crust made with simple ground oats and almonds enhances the flavor. It may not be quite as good if you replaced it with a rice and bean based gluten free blend as it would have no added flavor. You can certainly use a regular wheat crust if you are able to and it will be good. This crust, however, is perfect for this tart...

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Lines on the Palm and Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

I was musing today, as I am prone to when my mind flits idly over various topics, about fear, the Fear of Uncertainty. I don't think we fear life's up and downs; we treat that as inevitable. What we can't come to terms with, and hence worry about, is the uncertainty of events in life.

I am not one who believes in psychics and clairvoyants. My contention being, how can a person who has never set eyes on me, let alone exchanged a few words, be capable of predicting what lay ahead in my life which I really choose to lead?! But, I come from a country that does believe, to the point of entrusting faith and major life decisions, in these "life-readers".

I have wondered on and off about the reasons that drive people to such belief. One theory I came up was to find a scapegoat, a reason outside of self for failure. Calling a misfortune, destiny, feels like applying a balm to a wounded soul. There is a sense of control being elsewhere and hence how is one to blame for his misfortune.

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes 1

Life has cruised reasonably well enough for me to mock such belief as tenuous in the face of rationality. There is no such thing as fate and pre-destined course of life. I still believe that, but, now, I think, I do empathise with those who seek outside help and relief for their "downs" in life. Life doesn't happen in equations. 2 + 2 isn't always 4; you can rant and rave all you want but if it wants to be 5 one day and 0 another, there is, sometimes, simply nothing you can do about it...

But then, I countered, people believe even in good times. So my theory definitely had a flaw. I pondered more and deeper. My bathrooms breaks became longer. Recently, I settled upon another theory, viz. the fear of unertainty; the uncertainty of not knowing how long until dawn breaks and how long the day will last.

In other words, the lack of control on when my suffering ends and how long I will be able to enjoy my good fortune? In a perpetual quest for these answers and a semblence of control, belief in palm-reader, crystal gazers, palmists, numerology "experts", josiers etc. has exponentially increased to the point of these practices being professionally lucrative.

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes served copy

Sometime back, Alessio mentioned reading up about palmistry. Curious, as I ever am, I decided to take the bait and googled up palm reading and the various lines that criss cross a human palm. Navigating through the head, life, heart, career and other lines and the mounds of many significances, I realised, there was little clarity or unanimity on the subject between the various sources and I even got conflicting reads of my hand. One could argue that it was an error of my inexperience but I figure there is something funny if the way your life supposedly turns out is markedly varied in different interpretations.

Anyway, I realised much of what we do and seek is to mitigate that irrational fear of the uncertain. Retirement accounts are much in the same vein but in just a more rational domain. At this point, I can't help but question, how putting one's trust in a fund manager of a large multi-billion dollar mutual fund is considered rational but playing the same gamble with life is considered superstitious and silly...

I don't know, but it offers much food for ponder. If you have thoughts on this, I would love to hear...

Rhubarb & Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes in plate1


In the meantime, I leave you with a tart there is nothing uncertain about. Rhubarb, cherries, touch of summer savory, almonds and home made crust. Where is the irrationality in that?! :)

For more ideas on cooking fresh, seasonal produce, please click on the "Farm to Table Series" tab above.




Rhubarb and Cherry Frangipane Tartelettes

Fruit mixture:

1 cup of rhubarb, diced to 1/4 inch
1 cup of cherries, pitted and halved
2 T summer savory, minced
1 T Kirsch
2 T sugar

Mix all of them together and refrigerate overnight.

Pate Sucree

1-1/2 cups flour, sifted
1-2 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 T cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg yolk
3 - 4 T ice cold water


Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the yolk and trickle in the water to make a rough dough. Flatten the dough to a disc and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.

Frangipane

2 oz almond paste
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
3 T butter
1/2 tsp almond extract

Whip all the ingredients into a paste. Refrigerate for a few minutes.

To assemble, roll out the sugar dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 4 inch rounds off the dough. Spread a generous teaspoon of frangipane mixture on each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border. In the centre place a tablespoon of the rhubarb cherry mixture.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, until the crust is brown and the frangipane puffed. Cool and serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and tea.

Gratitude, Nature and a Clafoutis ...

Clafoutis in park 2

June 4 Update: Much gratitude to FoodBuzz peeps for featuring my Clafoutis on Top 9!!

Gratitude: First of all, I want to thank you all for your warm wishes on the completion of two years of this blog. I am much gratified and humbled that many of you appreciate the photography on the site so much.

Photography is a fascinating subject and this blog has provided me the perfect learning medium and excuse to practise it. It has been a interesting learning experience for me and I would love to share the journey with you. I will try and include posts on how I shoot my pics and hope that you find it useful.

Also, I appreciate the feedback on content for my site and I will try and cater to your requests and interests. I will also announce the winner of the giveaway soonly!

Cherries in a bowl

Nature: The past weekend was a long one in honor of Memorial Day. Every year, so far, we have travelled out of the city for this weekend. Most always, we kicked off the camping season over these three days and this year, again, we toed the same line.

Since Mr. FSK's cousin is visiting us, this was an even more fun experience! The weather was perfect, temperatures just pleasant to cool, the company warming and location soothing. We camped in a camper cabin near Lake Placid in the Whiteface Mountain region. Three days of bliss and communion with nature, pristine beauty and some rugged white water fun! It was the perfect getaway before hectic summer!!

Back in the hot, sweltering city now, I wish, I could transport myself three days ago! :)

Cherry Clafoutis on table

Cherry Clafoutis: Not all is bad with the city, though! :) The park is blooming green and the weekend before the last, we had a wonderful picnic under shade-giving trees with a healthy spread of roast chicken salad with sundried tomatoes, red onions tossed in a spicy aioli, potato salad and this yummy, simple fresh clafoutis.

This was also another of the tackle-the-French-classics moments! Cherry Clafoutis has been on my list for a long while now. But, I only just managed to make it because cherries are, perhaps, THE favorite of Mr.FSK. Consequentially, I can rarely ever pry a few away from him to cook them into anything! Anyway, this time, I put my foot down; I had things to check off my list!

So, the clafoutis came to be. Subtle, light and perfect for the warm weather. And, since none of us are sugar addicts perfect fruit-sweet balance for us!

Cherry Clafoutis single

Side Note: Don't you just love the background of green in the photos?! That was the park. The photos were styled on a overturned picnic basket. That lovely green is just so inviting. I do wish, I had a backyard. I would take all my photos on a patch of green then!


Cherry Clafoutis
(adapted from Julia Child's recipe)
makes 3 three inch clafouti

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 eggs
1.5 T granulated white sugar
scant 1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 T unsalted melted butter
pinch of teaspoon salt
handful of cherries for each ramekin, not pitted

Sift the dry ingredients together. Whisk together the cream, eggs, extract and butter. Add the wet to the dry and whisk to make a smooth batter.

Place the cherries in shallow ramekins and pour the batter over them not covering them completely. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

** Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or it may collapse. **

Clafoutis in park 4
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