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Fig Honey Kefir Tart with Pecan Date Crust

Summer-Fig-Tart_Yes,-more-please!

Figs…an  inverted flower fruit, sweet, with a sexy shape. I often crave their flowery delicate sweetness and incredible texture. I remember the first time I had a fig I was at a little orchard on a “Family Sunday Comida” in a little town out side the city. My Grandpa Alfredo had a cousin with a great house, a ridiculously oversized pool, and a fruit orchard. You can imagine that for a kid this combination was heaven. I had a place to run, to swim, discover fruits, plants while the adults were too busy playing dominos, cards, laughing out loud, and macerating their happy Sunday souls in Tequila. Hehehe… no worries Mexican mothers were always around watching over us.  Moms, aunts, great-aunts were in the kitchen serving food plates, and every so often screamed at us “Be careful!, get down from that tree!, No more!, A comer!… you get the family situation.

Trino, was my Grandpa’s cousin’s name. I remember he gathered all the kids and told us we could cut every fruit we want, as long we ate it. Then he cut a handful of figs and handed one fig to each kid, whiled he explained what we needed to look for on a ripe fig; “Look for a dark purple color and a honey smell”. With that little said, we all kids had a mission, but first we tried the figs he handed us. At first I did not know what to do, how to eat it, or what to think about this strange looking black-purpled fruit, but when I decided to bite into it, my eyes opened wide and my taste buds went crazy.  After one fig bite, I wondered where have figs  been all my short life and why don’t all fruits taste like figs. Soft and warm from the sun, utterly sweet and floral, all in one cosmic bite; it made me think that the bees around the area could start chasing me if I kept eating the figs from the tree.

Summer-Fig-Tart_Fresh-figs,-Kefir-Cheese,-Dates,-Pecans-Gluten-free-crust,-free-bake-tart_

Since then figs have stolen my heart. I look for them when in season, if possible. Black Mission figs are my favorite because of their flavor, texture, color and because it brings back these memories. Figs are one of the few things I like in purple. Texas has a brief fig season June-July mostly. It is August I know but I ran into these California Mission figs and I could not say no to them.

This tart is a no-bake fresh dessert. It combines all what I love in a Summer dessert; fresh fruit, something light, creamy, and cold with out being overly sweet. The crust its a combination of Pecans and Walnuts, dates cardamom and orange blossom water. A breeze to make with the help of a food processor. Despite the use of dates, this crust is just sweet enough. For the creamy component I chose Kefir Cheese and a drizzle of honey mixed into it. This makes a silky and tangy cloud for the fig slices to snuggle.  Two layers of fresh fig slices, chopped, toasted pecans, salt flakes, a drizzle of honey or Balsamic, make this irresistible. Besides it is a really good source of delicious healthy treat. Despite the figs and the dates, this little tart is made with 8-10 dates which amounts around one date per person, A good handful of nuts and good oils, and the tastiest creamy, dreamy, probiotic Kefir cheese its a must! sorry I would not dare to suggest a substitution on this one, trust me.

An incredible dessert and simple to make this Summer, this Fig Tart is truly love at first bite.

Summer-Fig-Tart_ingredients_easy-dessert

Just make it its delicious!, for the recipe you will need….

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Thanksgiving Crostatas Pecan Apple & Pumpkin-Yam

Thanksgiving-Crostata_ingredients

I wish you could have smelled my kitchen the day I baked these crostatas, it was intoxicating!…
A cloud of buttery pecan, apple, cinnamon and allspice in the air.
Crostata, my absolutely favorite pastry. Let me tell you why…

During my sweet tooth life I’ve tried many pies: the open pies, the double crust, the lattice, you name it. I always felt there was too much sugary filling compared to the amount of crust. The pie ratio in most of the cases does not work for me.

The day I tried my first crostata I was madly in love. It was an apple crostata, in the town of apples Julian in California. It had the perfect ratio between crust and filling and the crust was golden brown , flaky and crumbly, tender, and buttery. The sensible single layer filling had a bubbly, slightly crusty caramelized top. Inside it was juicy and fruity, and I was lost. Yet, I felt illuminated, just like the Greeks when they discovered “the golden ratio”. I prefer to call it Crostata like the Italians, over Gallette like the French, and of course the less romantic name free form pie….any way you name it, it’s always so simply and utterly delicious.

What I call“The Crostata Golden Ratio” is that perfect amount of crust and filling, allowing you to savor the buttery flaky crust and the sensible layer of fruit topped with some sugar allowing the crust to stay crispy and flaky in every bite. The fruit acts like the butter; slightly sweet and a bit tart. Suddenly, all your tastebuds are  awake; sweet, tart, creamy, crusty , buttery flaky…even days after its made, you can warm it in a toaster oven and it feels like you just baked it.

Now, if we talk about appearance, I love crostata with its rustic and honest look. It’s not decorated and definitely you can apply some decor, however I think the beauty comes from its baked right ingredients, the simple look is what makes it so attractive to eat and to prepare, no fuss, it is what it is.

I serve these crostatas with a cinnamon whipped cream and a honey-balsamic vinegar reduction, I love the tangy-sweet note that the reduction brings to the crostata, a caramel sauce will go great too….

Thanksgiving Crostatas will make a fabulous and sweet end to your dinner.
~ Happy Thanksgiving ~ from Ian and Mariana.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_Pecan,-apple-and-Pumpkin-Yam

Thanksgiving Crostatas: Pecan, Apple & Pumpkin-Yam

Makes 3 – 7 ” x 11″rectangular Crostatas. Serves 24 to 18 slices.

For the Crust:

3-3/4 cups of unbleached-all purpose flour
3 sticks of butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 pinch salt
3/4-1 cup Ice cold water

1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1 cup of turbinado sugar to top the edges of the crust.

Directions:

Measure all your ingredients. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place the bowl in the freezer. Meantime cut your cold butter, and iced water ready to measure. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from freezer and add the butter. With a pastry blender incorporate the butter and flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, and the butter pieces are small like the size of a pea. Slowly add the cold water and carefully, with your hands, form a dough that just holds together. Be careful not to over work the dough. 
Once that the dough holds together. Shape it into a rectangle about 9”x6” and then divide that rectangle into 3 pieces (see picture below) Wrap each rectangle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour; you can rush it by placing into freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_The-crustThanksgiving-Crostatas_dividing-the-crust

~ R o l l i n g ~

On a clean work surface, dusted with flour, unwrap the dough let sit for a couple of minutes and then roll the dough into a 13”x 9” rectangle and about 1/8″and 1/4″thin.
Rolling little by little, rotating the rectangular, for even thickness (see picture below).

Thanksgiving-Crostata_rolling-the-crust.. roll it!Thanksgiving-Crostata_rolling-the-crust_one-sheet

~  F i l l i n g s  ~

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_fillings

 

Pumpkin- Yam Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Pumpkin-yam-slice

Filling:

1 cup hefty pumpkin purée.
1 egg
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
pinch of salt
2-3 small Yams or sweet potatoes.
3 Tablespoon butter cut into little squares to top the yams.
½ cup turbinado sugar
extra cinnamon for dusting

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the pumpkin pure, egg, heavy cream, sugar and spices and salt until well combined.
Yams: steamed, peel and slice into ½ “ slices. Set aside room temperature. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust spread the layer of pumpkin mixture leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. arrange the slices of yam and sprinkle with the little squares of butter, turbinado sugar, and dust with some cinnamon. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_Pumpkin-YamThanksgiving-Crostatas-Pumpkin-Yam

 

 

Apple Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_apple-slice

Filling:

2 granny smith apples peeled and sliced.
1 Honey suckle or pink lady peeled and sliced.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (taste your apples! if they are two sweet you might need less sugar, if they are to sour, you need to add a bit more!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated.
the zest of half a lemon about ½ teaspoon.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Smidge of salt

Directions:

In a sauté pan melt the butter, add the sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, salt. Saute until the apples are slightly tender and the liquids reduce. Remove from stove and cool down filling before use. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust spread the saute apples in an evenly layer  leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_apple-assambling-crostataThanksgiving-Crostatas-Apple

 

 

Pecan Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Pecan-slice

Filling:

1 cup pecans halves roasted
½ cup fine chopped pecans
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, chopped pecans, egg, vanilla and one tablespoon of sugar.
Toast the pecans and quick sauté them using a little butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, set aside and let them cool before using. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust and spread the cream cheese filling leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. Top with the sautéed pecans. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_pecan-assambling-the-crostataThanksgiving-Crostata-Pecan

~ T o p p i n g s ~

Thanksgiving_Crostatas_Toppings

Cinnamon Whipped cream:

½ cup heavy whipping cream
dash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powder sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a clean chilled metal bowl, whisk all ingredients until it forms soft peaks.
Keep refrigerated until serving.

Honey-Balsamic reduction:

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

In a small sauce pan combine honey and balsamic bring it to a slow simmer, check for desired consistency by running your finger on the back of the spoon. Serve warm.

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Balsamic-Honey

~ D r i z z l e ~

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Happy Thanksgiving…ENJOY!!!

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