COOKING ADVENTURE #27: Glazed Kiwi Tart
Ah, kiwi, that strangely exotic, vibrant green fruit that is frequently ignored when it comes to desserts. Well, not today. For a couple weeks now, I’ve been craving something sweet… but not as decadent as, say Devil’s Food Cake. I wanted it to have fruit in it and be something that I could do without too much of a fuss. Therefore, it was pretty convenient when going through an old issue of a Hannaford Fresh magazine that my mom had given me, that I should find this amazing recipe for a kiwi tart. Just looking at the mouth-watering picture confirmed in my mind that I’d have to make this recipe. And I did it like a boss. I wasn’t even at the top of my game the day I attempted it and it came out superbly, minus one or two difficulties in the process.
The day I made this dessert, I was feeling pretty down. I’d just walked into town, bought a coffee, and visited a friend for a half an hour. It was all going good until I made the decision to stop in at the local bookstore to see if they had sold my books that I’d sold them. I went in and checked everything out, noticing a couple of my friend’s books on shelves here and there. When I went to find my own, I noticed that it wasn’t there. Practically tripping over myself with delight, I skipped up to the man at the cash register and told him I was a local author, noticed that my books had sold, and asked if he was interested in purchasing more. And in as little as a few seconds, my hopes were crushed by the realization that they’d sent the books back to the company that had helped me publish my first book.
It hurt. It really hurt. Stuttering and trying to keep a good attitude about it, I updated my contact information with them and then quickly left. Once back within the safe confines of my apartment, I curled up on the couch and pouted for a while. Being that it’s the local bookstore in the town I live, I was pretty sad. I had hoped that they would have some interest in purchasing my second book if they had my first. At some point, I decided that I needed to get up off my butt and stop acting so pathetic. I flipped the magazine open to the kiwi tart page, cracked my knuckles, and decided to attempt it. (Note: I went to the store to get the ingredients in between moping sessions.)
The first thing that the recipe tells you to do is to take a large bowl and mix 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and1/4 tsp. of salt. I did this without any trouble. Then, however, it asked me to “cut in” 1/2 cup of butter to the dry mixture with the use of a pastry blender. Now, folks, the odds are probably 10 to 1 that anyone reading one of these recipes doesn’t own a special ‘pastry blender’. I know I certainly don’t. To be fair, the recipe also states that you could just use 2 knives. I’m sorry… what? I could just see me hacking at crumbs with two knives and becoming completely frustrated. No way I was going to do that.
The closest things that I have to a pastry blender are an electric mixer and a Magic Bullet. I knew that the dry mixture wouldn’t all fit in the Magic Bullet, so I turned to the mixer. I diced the stick of butter into little pieces and put them into the dry mix. Then, I took the mixer, plugged it in and let a rip. The obvious happened. The butter immediately stuck to the beaters. And the crumbs exploded into the air with mini poofs each time I tried to incorporate the butter with them. This was a very, very lengthy process for me. In fact, it took me probably a good ten minutes to actually mix the butter with the crumbs to form “coarse crumbles”.
Next, it told me to add 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten. For those of you who are long time readers, you may remember me mentioning in previous posts that I was “born to separate eggs” and that I’m a “master egg separator.” I should eat my words. Eat them and choke on them. I cracked an egg over a garbage can and when I went about tossing the yolk from one half of the egg shell to the other, I missed. SPLAT! Part of the yolk dropped into the trash onto a stack of mail that I’d just dumped in there. I quickly checked the fridge for another egg. Oh yeah. That was the last one. Oops. In my hunt for ingredients at the store, I had completely forgotten to pick up more eggs. I deposited the remainder of the egg yolk in the crumbs and mixed with a fork, silently berating myself. As could be assumed, the dough didn’t quite “come together” as it said it would in the directions. In moments, I was chanting at it “Come together!” “Come together!”, the Beatles song playing over and over like a skipping vinyl in my head each time I did so.
I slid my glass pie pan out of the cupboard and dumped my crumbly dough mixture into it. I proceeded to try and pat the dough into the pan. I say “try” because the “dough” wasn’t exactly “dough”. Every time I tried to make the crust stay on the sides of the pan, it disintegrated beneath my fingers. At some point, I just didn’t bother anymore. I put the dish into the oven at 400 for about 18 minutes to let the crust turn “golden brown”.
While this went on, I decided to get started on the glaze and cutting the fruit. The glaze was easy. The original recipe tells you to use apricot preserves but I had some marmalade jelly in the fridge that needed to be used up. I mixed it with 1 tbsp. of water and heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I mixed it up a little with a spoon and turned to cutting the fruit.
I’ve been eating a lot of strawberries the last few weeks. I’ve become a master at- well, maybe I shouldn’t say I’m a master of anything after what happened with the eggs. Anyway, I cut those up easily, apart from the strawberries trying to make mad getaways off the counter top. The kiwi, on the other hand, is a different story. Common sense was certainly not with me that day. I couldn’t figure out, for the life of me, how to slice the kiwi and remove the skin. It never once occurred to me to actually take the skin off with a vegetable peeler. Never. Not once. Ever. In fact, it was several days after I made the damn tart that I realized it. And much self-ridicule commenced after that epiphany, believe me.
Because I couldn’t think of what to do, I made it as difficult as possible for myself. I cut the kiwi’s in half with a paring knife and then chopped little rings around the outside of the kiwi so that I could strip away the skin easily. It didn’t go over as easily as I’d hoped though. It also resulted in many slices being oddly shaped and lets not forget the amount of kiwi that I wasted doing what I did. Finally, when I had all of the fruit sliced, I pulled the shell out of the oven and let it cool.
Next comes the filling. Once again, the recipe had me looking for marscapone. And once again, I was unable to find it anywhere. I know. It’s like maddening deja vu. I resorted to my cream cheese substitute. I took 8 oz. of the cream cheese and mixed it with 3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract. Then with the mighty electric mixer, I blended it all together. I’m convinced that this smell, the vanilla, cream cheese, and sugar is one of the most amazing scents on the planet Earth. Another is bacon. Mmm, bacon.
Anyway, once the ingredients were mixed together, I dumped all of the filling into the shell and spread it around with the aid of a cream cheese spreader. Then, I began the painful arrangement of the strawberry and kiwi slices. In the original photo, they had more kiwis than I had, so they were able to use the majority of them on the outside ring. I had more strawberries, so I just flipped it around. I dribbled the glaze on top with a spoon and voila! Beautiful!
I took this to my parent’s house for dinner. My mom was out of town visiting friends, so it was my dad, my brother, my nephew, and me. The kiwi tart was a hit. Well, mostly a hit. My nephew wasn’t a fan but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably hasn’t had a lot of kiwi and it is kind of a sour fruit.
This is definitely something that I would make again and I could substitute different fruits for. For July 4th, one could have done strawberries and blueberries, or you could do peach slices and banana, or even if you decide to get really crazy, you could do blackberries and kiwi.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be attempting an Indian recipe that could either turn out really, really well… or be the most hilarious Cooking Adventure we’ve seen to date! Chicken Nan Pockets are next week’s adventure. Stay tuned!