Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fruit + fruit = more fruit flies - PEAR TART

My kitchen is full of apples, pears, plums, cherries, blueberries and... fruit flies. Tonight, JB and I were peeling apples for apple butter and it seemed as if the fruit flies were multiplying right before our eyes. Fornicating and birthing right there in the compost bucket. When we were done, I swabbed the counter with ammonia and put every scrap of fruit in the fridge. For the curious, here is where I obtained this luscious Saskatchewan fruit:

Apples, cherries and plums from the Yoanna U-Pick orchard at Radisson. The last of the fruit will be picked this long weekend, so if you want some get there fast. By the way, this orchard does not advertise and has no road sign - word of mouth sells out its product every year.

Blueberries from three sources: 1) the Saskatoon Farmers' Market, 2) the Wild Blueberry Festival held last weekend in St. Walburg and 3) picked myself in the forest outside La Ronge.

Pears came from a big old tree in a back yard on Temperance Street (Dick and Verna's house). It is a very good year for pears - they are as large and as ripe (er, riper) than any you get in a grocery store. The moral of this story is: Saskatchewan has prolific fruit trees and prolific fruit flies.

PEAR TART
4-8 ripe pears, depending on the size
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. brandy
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
purchased puff pastry, thawed

Peel and core the pears and cut into quarters or fat slices. Heat the oven to 350.

In a medium cast iron skillet (9 or 10 inches), melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. It should be bubbling. Toss in the brandy; let it sizzle and evaporate. Remove from heat. Place the pear pieces, core side up, into the caramel. You can toss them in at random or arrange them in nice circles.

Place the skillet back on the heat until the caramel bubbles. Using a small spoon, scoop up the sauce and pour a little over each piece of pear. At this stage, you want the pears to be warm in the sauce but you don't want it to brown and burn.

Remove from heat. Roll a piece of puff pastry into a circle roughly the same size as the skillet and place it neatly over the pears. Tuck the edges into the caramel sauce. Don't worry if the pastry isn't exactly round, just fold over the edges to make it fit in the pan. Cut vents in the pastry. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven. Put it on a low-heat burner to loosen the pears from the bottom of the pan. Place a plate tightly over the crust and, using oven mits, flip the skillet so that the tart is on the plate. The pears are now on top. Serve with ice cream or creme fraiche.

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