“You must always be awaggle with love.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
~ With advance apologies to Tea S. Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Brewing and William Shakespour.
1. To tart or not to tart, that is the question.
Reasons for not making fruit tarts:
- Pesky little tart pans
- Stirring vanilla cream in nippy kitchen
- Finicky pastry dough
- Locate pretty fruit in the dead of winter? Oh, come on.
Reasons for making fruit tarts:
- Len loves them. Cornelius loves them. I love them. What person in their right mind doesn’t love them?
- It’s Valentine’s Day.
- Beloved blog readers might be impressed that
an adorablea self-sacrificing writer stood in an icy kitchen for hourssome minutes stirring, stirring the vanilla cream and whipping finicky pastry dough into shape after walkingflying to Chile to pick fresh berries.
- Good excuse to buy a new tartlet baking set.
In the room the women come and go,
Talking of rolling pie dough.
* * *
2. How do I love thee? Let me count the teas.
by Carol Ann Duffy
I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.
Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.
I like the questions — sugar? — milk? —
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.
Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,
as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.
~ from Rapture (Faber & Faber, 2013)
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the elevenses, highs, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with teaspoons.
* * *
3. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely eaters.
Reasons you must make these fruit tarts:
- Fear not the finicky pastry crust. Refrigerated pie dough is happy to oblige.
- My sister Sylvia’s vanilla cream filling is to die for. After using some of the recipe to fill the tartlet shells, we lapped up the rest like crazy kitties.
- Chile is nice this time of year.
- The tartlet baking set is fun and easy to use, and the little tartlets are so dang cute.
- You and whomever you share these tarts with will instantly wax poetic.
* * *
FRUIT TARTS IN THREE PART HARMONY
Use your favorite pie crust recipe, or purchase refrigerated pie dough. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness and cut rounds to fit the size of the tart pan(s) you are using. I made Sylvia’s tart shell recipe, pre-baked the shells, then let them cool thoroughly before filling.
Tip: Chilling the dough in the tart pan(s) for at least 30 minutes before baking and using pie weights will inhibit shrinking and keep the dough from puffing up too much while baking.
* Read some of the reviews for more tips if you’re considering the tartlet baking set.
Vanilla Cream Filling
(for 8″ pie, 11″ fruit tart, or about two dozen mini-tarts)
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1. Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a sauce pan.
2. Blend egg yolks and milk together and gradually stir into sugar mixture.
3. Cook over medium heat , stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens.
4. Boil and stir for one minute.
5. Remove from heat, blend in butter and vanilla.
6. For fruit tart, pour into bowl and cover with waxed paper or parchment.
7. Refrigerate until at room temperature.
8. When ready, spoon into pre-baked tart(let) shells.
Tip: Filling may be made a day ahead.
Carefully place your choice of fruit(s) atop the cream layer. Brush fruit with a little melted currant jelly or dust with powdered sugar.
Serve at least 3 tartlets to your loved ones, and expect at least three hugs and three kisses in return.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the tarts, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the raspberry with a smile,
To have squeezed the pastry into a ball,
To roll it just for one moment of rapturous consumption?
* * *
The always lovely, ever-so-kind and multi-talented Linda Baie is hosting this week’s Roundup at TeacherDance. Please take her three cups of tea and three fruit tarts and enjoy all the delicious poetry being served up in the blogosphere today.
In the room, the poets come and go
Talking of Hopkins, Cummings and Rimbaud.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!
* * *
This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts.
Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.