Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gone for PIE

This note--a relic of Pi(e) Day-- still hangs on the wall of my friends' record store, All Day Records, in Carrboro, NC. I like that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rustic Blood Orange Tart with Cream Cheese Crust

Spring is in full glory here in Chapel Hill, which brings with it a few things...terrible allergies and a desire to eat fruit, among them. My fruit kick has included a lot of blood oranges recently. They're so vibrant and variegated in color, have a tart little kick, and are delicious with sweet or savory accompaniment. I've been eating them a lot in salads with mixed greens, avocado, goat cheese, almonds, and maple syrup vinaigrette.

While browsing recipes on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, this recipe for a "flaky blood orange tart" caught my eye. I like tart recipes like this that are very simple and really showcase the fruit, without the need for much added spice or sweetener.

My dad was passing through town and requested some pie, the monthly Old Time Jam I coordinate was coming up, and I had a bunch of individually wrapped butter and cream cheese packets leftover from the North Carolina Folklore Society Annual Meeting-- All good indications that it was time to try out this blood orange tart, with some variations. Here's the approximate recipe I used:

Rustic Blood Orange Tart with a Cream Cheese Crust 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. raw Turbinado sugar

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tblsp. salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

4 Tblsp. cream cheese

3 Tblsp. ice water

8 to 10 blood oranges (I only needed 6)
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 Tblsp. of water


1. Whisk 1 cup of flour with 2 Tblsp. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the 4 Tblsp. of cold butter in sliced pieces and cream cheese and cut into flour mixture with a knife and fork or pastry cutter. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and combine until pastry can be formed into a disk. Wrap pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

2. On a floured work surface, roll out pastry to an 11-in. round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith with a knife. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise and remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, along section lines. You will need 1 cup of sections.

4. Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 Tblsp. of sugar over the oranges. Thinly slice the remaining 1 Tblsp. of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 Tblsp. of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-in. border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tblsp. of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

5. Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Let the tart cool completely. Serve with salted butter caramel sauce, if so desired. Recipe here.

I brought the tart to the Old Time Jam at Nightlight and shared it with friends there. Unfortunately my dad couldn't make the jam, but I did save him a slice and handed it off to him at lunch the next day.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Two Pi(e) Day Straggler Photos

I just got a roll of film back with some Pi(e) Day photos. Only two, actually, because I was so busy preventing the masses from slicing in to the pies before we had SUFFICIENTLY DOCUMENTED THEM (just kidding) and keeping things running smoothly all while trying to chat with old pals, meet new pals, and play music that I didn't have time to take any more. The downside of event planning, I suppose. I did have a lot of really great help though, which made it so much easier, and thank goodness Ashley volunteered to photograph and document.

ANYWAY. Here's the two photos I took. One of most of the half-eaten pie spread...

and another of some pals in the Pie (and beer) Enjoyment Zone...

Kelly, Neale, Cath, and a camera shy James.

I think that should be all of the Pi(e) Day-related posts, until next year...

Monday, April 04, 2011

SEEDS Pie Social

SEEDS, a non-profit community garden in Durham, NC is hosting their Pie Social and Skill Share Auction this coming Sunday, April 10th from 2-5 pm. A suggested donation of $10 gets you up to 4 slices of pie and goes to the Durham Inner-city gardeners. Find out more about SEEDS and the event on their website.

I'm aiming to get a thesis draft set off to my advisor this week so that I can attend! Hope to see y'all there.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Two "Chicken" Pot Pies and an Apple Tart

Last week my friend Jon made some delicious chicken and "chicken-less" pot pies and shared it with some friends and I for dinner on a rainy spring evening in Carrboro. The chicken-less pie (above) had quorn patty chunks and the chicken pie (below) had gen-u-ine chicken (and an overflowing crust).

Both pies had the same vegetable ingredients of pearl onions (an excellent addition), peas, corn, carrots, and potatoes in gravy. The folks who tried both said they couldn't really tell the difference between the two.

I contributed a free-jazz apple tart I made, drawing from a combination of past attempted apple tart recipes.

The recipe I made up was approximately as follows:

Free-jazz apple tart


3 tart apples, cored and very thinly sliced
1/2 c. homemade apple butter
1/4 c. homemade apple-rosemary jelly
juice of 1/2 lemon

raw sugar for sprinkling

nothing-in-the-house pie crust recipe, halved (bottom crust only)

Prepare crust with recipe found here. Refrigerate. Core and thinly slice 3 apples and place in a bowl. Squeeze juice of half of a lemon over the apples and stir. Roll out dough and place in a greased and floured tart pan. Spread apple butter on crust and place apple slices in concentric circles over the apple butter. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake at 375 for approximately 35-45 minutes. Cool. When tart is still warm, heat apple-rosemary jelly and drizzle over the tart. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

I brought the tart over in the double-decker Amish pie carrying basket my parents gave me for Christmas last year.

After a full-day in the library working on my thesis, this pie dinner was just the perfect treat.