Summer and Autumn Fruit Tarts

It’s so fun to decorate a tart with seasonal fruit. Fill lemon-rosemary tart pastry with pastry cream, decorate with fruit, and then glaze it with apricot preserves.

Autumn fruit tart

Autumn fruit tart with blackberries, fuyu persimmons, kiwi fruit and strawberries

peach and berry tart

peach and berry tart

peach tart with thyme

peach tart with thyme

I substituted fresh lemon thyme leaves for the rosemary when I made the peach tarts. I garnished the peaches on one tart with small sprigs of thyme.

Pastry cream:

1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar

2 Tb all-purpose flour

2 Tb cornstarch

4 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1% )

2 tsp vanilla

Separate eggs and remove the thick white chalazae from the yolks. Whip egg yolks on high speed. Add sugar and sift in flour and cornstarch, then whip again until light colored.

Heat milk in a medium saucepan until it just begins to simmer. With mixer on medium-low, slowly pour 1/2 cup  milk into the egg mixture until it is well combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl and whisk in well. Then pour it slowly back into the pot with rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low-medium heat and continue whisking while the mixture thickens, then whisk for another minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Strain the pastry cream into a clean container,

Place plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on the hot pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool on the counter. Pour the pastry cream into the cooled lemon-rosemary tart pastry  and spread it evenly.

Wash fruit, then dry on paper towels. Cut the green tops off the small strawberries and slice the larger fruit lengthwise.

Arrange fruit on top of the pastry cream. Have fun and let your artistic side come out!

Heat about 1/4 cup apricot preserves and 1 Tb water in a bowl for about 30 seconds in a microwave and stir well. Strain into another bowl. Gently brush jam over the fruit for a shiny glaze. You can glaze the strawberries, then layer them to stick them together, then glaze again.

peach berry tart

peach berry tart

Hachiya Persimmons and Yogurt

yogurt topped with persimmonTry this simple dish of plain yogurt mixed with sweet jelly-like Hachiya persimmon pulp for a tasty and healthy breakfast or dessert.

???????????????????????????????Hachiya persimmons are oval shaped, and should be so soft they are practically weeping. Scoop out the flesh and mix with a cup of plain yogurt. If desired, sprinkle a few raspberries and pistachios on top.

persimmon mixed with yogurt

Autumn Salad with Pomegranate, Fuji Persimmon, Strawberries and Nuts

early autumn salad

I make this salad in early Autumn, when Pomegranates and Fuji Persimmons are appearing and there are a few decent strawberries left. As the season progresses, you may not find the strawberries, but the sweetness and fall colors of the persimmons and Pomegranate seeds still brighten this salad. I added a handful of raw shelled pistachios and sliced raw almonds for delicious flavor, texture and protein. Throw them together with mesclun (mixed lettuce greens) or baby spinach. It’s fine undressed or with a bit of blue cheese dressing.

Thanksgiving Recipes

I am delighted to share my posts for a Thanksgiving feast. I am thankful that you have taken the time to read my posts and perhaps tried out the recipes. Happy Thanksgiving! Roz

Thanksgiving Turkey


Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

???????????????????????????????Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup

Two Autumn Fruit Salads: Sweet and Spinach

serving in casserole

Green Beans with Chestnuts

Light as a feather cream biscuits

Fruit juice sweetened, no sugar Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes

Rosemary and olive oil cornbread

Abuelita Luz’s Camote con leche (Yam Pudding)

fluted pie crust

pie crust

DSC03214Pumpkin Pie

pie slice

Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

Ponche Navideño – Mexican Christmas Punch

My colleague Maria made this punch for a meeting at work, only she calls it a fruit tea. It was so delicious I kept coming back for more. It was fruity and not too sweet.

Ponche Navideño very popular in Mexico at Christmas time, served at posadas and on Christmas Eve. Since we are lucky to live in an area with a lot of immigrants from Mexico, the ingredients are easily found in the Mexican markets here. You can buy them jarred, but Maria says it’s better with fresh ingredients.

I went to Mi Pueblo grocery in on High Street in East Oakland after work and bought everything, including a 6 ft tall sugar cane which I barely got it in my little Toyota! The thinner parts could be snapped apart at the rings, but the thicker parts are very strong. My husband chopped it with a pick. Then I peeled the woody exterior from each section with a sharp knife. Once peeled, the soft pulp is easier to chop into 1 to 2 inch pieces.Discard the rings between the sections. You can chew on it for a sweet treat, and spit out the pulp afterward. I reserved a few sticks and sliced them lengthwise to make stirring sticks for each glass.

There are a lot of variations on fruits for ponche, but tejocotes (te- ho-CO-tes) are traditional in all ponches. They are the small orange or gold colored fruit of the hawthorn tree, known also as Hawthorne Apple. They were called texócotl by the Aztecs and grow in the highlands of Mexico and ripen in winter. Now they are grown in the US as well, since there were some legal problems in importing them. They are sometimes called manzanitas or manzanillas. I made my first batch with whole tejocotes, but I disliked getting a mouthful of seeds when I drank the ponche. So for the second batch I parboiled them to soften, then halved and seeded them.

The jamaica (ha-MY-ka) (that would be dried hibiscus blossoms, not Bob Marley’s home) lend a deep red wine color to this punch. Maria warned me not to put too many in, as they can make the punch sour. I didn’t heed her warning on my first batch, and had to add extra sugar!

Piloncillo, the raw sugar cones available at Mexican groceries, are a delicious way to add extra sweetness.

The cinnamon sticks make a wonderful aroma throughout the house as the ponche is simmering.

Makes 2 quarts ponche

1/3 cup dried jamaica blossoms

8 sections of sugar cane

1 cup water

1 pound tejocotes (15 large) make 3 cups cut up

2 quarts apple cider (I used Trader Joe’s)

6 Cinnamon sticks

5 Guavas, peeled

2 Bosc pears, cut into chunks

4 apples, cut into chunks

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup walnuts

About 3 small cones of piloncillo (raw sugar) to taste

jamaica tea

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and add jamaica blossoms. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then let sit for another 20 minutes until the tea is a deep red. Strain tea into a bowl and discard jamaica blossoms.

halved tejocotesFill a small saucepan with water and boil tejocotes for 10 minutes until soft. Let cool, then trim ends, and split them in half and discard the seeds.

Wash sugar cane and fruits. Peel sugar cane, and cut into medallions. Cut apples, pears and guavas into small chunks and add to tea along with the seeded tejocotes, raisins, walnuts,  and cinnamon sticks. Add 2 quarts unfiltered apple juice or pear cider. I used the Pear Cinnamon Cider from Trader Joe’s which contains apple and pear juice or Trader Joe’s Apple Cider.

Bring to a boil, let simmer for 20 minutes. Taste, then add piloncillo to desired sweetness. Cool for about 20 minutes until you can drink it. It’s even better if you let it sit overnight or all day while you are making the rest of your meal, and the fruits break up and give it a wonderful flavor. Drink it warm with a few pieces of fruit and nuts in the cup.

ponche and Christmas cooklesFor a festive occasion, it is delicious spiked with tequila or brandy to make Ponche con Piquete  (punch with sting). We also tried red wine in it to make a sangria-like drink.


Two Autumn Fruit Salads: Sweet and Spinach

All these fall fruits are in the colors of autumn leaves. My inner Martha Stewart told me to cut the fruits into the shapes of leaves and attach branches to them. My own self told Martha to bug off!

The tangy guava nicely balances the sweetness of the other fruits. Thanks to one of my co-workers who brought in the fruits from her tree, I was able to add them to the salad. The Fuyu persimmon is the small flat-bottom type that you can eat while it is crispy.

Serves 2

One bosc pear, one peeled kiwi fruit, two peeled Fuyu persimmons, two guavas, peeled, one apple, one branch of dark red or deep purple seedless grapes.

Halve the grapes and slice and chop the other fruits. Mix together with 2 Tb chopped pecans and walnuts.

My husband, Jesús, likes the salad plain, but I prefer to dress it with a tangy, sharp cheesy mixture of 1 tsp thick, chunky blue cheese dressing such as Marie’s, 1 tsp plain nonfat yogurt and 1 Tsp lemon juice.

I served a spinach autumn salad at dinnertime. I used one bosc pear, two peeled Fuyu persimmons,  two peeled guavas, and one apple and walnuts as above, and traded in the kiwi and grapes for avocado and grapefruit sections. Serve over spinach leaves with a teaspoon of Marie’s blue cheese dressing plus a teaspoon each of grapefruit juice and extra virgin olive oil, or just the blue cheese dressing straight from the jar.