cornmeal

Dessert, Summer

NECTARINE TART WITH RYE-CORNMEAL CRUST

nectarine_tart_01.jpg

I'm dog earring interesting recipes in food magazines like a crazy lady. I have a catering job coming up and a particular mini-person has kept me from cooking all that much. Simple things, I have managed to get basic dinners together, but I haven't tried many new items unfortunately. Curran doesn't really like napping, I'm tired, so I eat a lot of brown rice and defrosted wild salmon patties and don't mind because I know this is a season. Ok, actually I cry a lot about it because I want him to get rest so he's happy and his brain grows, but Hugh reminds me it's part of figuring out this parenting thing and we'll turn a corner at some point. You'll miss naps one day, tiny sleep-resister. Anyway, dessert. I've been peeking around to try some new things and I thought these individual tarts in Food+Wine looked great. I haven't had the greatest luck with tart dough, regardless of the printed recipe, so I gave these a run through before putting them on the menu and I approve. I haven't baked much with rye flour but it is perfect here, a tad more flavor than all purpose, and I'm intrigued to try it in other things. The crust is excellent - quite buttery (likely why it's excellent) which makes this perfect for a special occasion.

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

NECTARINE TART WITH RYE-CORNMEAL CRUST // Makes 4 smallish tarts

Crust recipe adapted from September 2014 Food + Wine 

I used nectarines because the ones at our local farm are still incredible. If stonefruits are gone where you are, the original recipe suggests apples and I'm sure that would be great too. Note, I had creme fraiche on hand so made this creamy garnish but a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be just as nice and one less step.

  • // Dough //
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 14 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • // Filling //
  • 3 ripe nectarines
  • 2 ripe plums
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • quick grate of fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup natural cane sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • Turbinado Sugar, for sprinkling
  • // Maple Creme Fraiche //
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

For the dough, in a food processor, pulse both flours with the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with flecks of butter. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until it just comes together (you should still see flecks of butter). Transfer to dough to a work surface, gather it together, quarter it and form four small disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. This can be done a few days in advance. 

For the filling, slice the nectarines and plums thin. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cut fruit with the vanilla bean, lemon juice, a quick grate of nutmeg, 2 Tbsp. of the cane sugar and toss to combine. 

Preheat the oven to 400' and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the 2 Tbsp. of flour and 2 remaining Tbsp. sugar in a ramekin. On a well floured work surface, roll out the dough balls 1/4' thick into roughly 6" circles. Spread a little bit of the flour/sugar mixture in the center of each dough circle, leaving a 1/2" border. Place a pile of fruit on top of the flour circle (be generous and pile high, it'll shrink down). Gently fold the edges of the dough up around the fruit, leaving the center open. Pinch the tears of the dough together to seal and transfer them to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the dough with a little water and generously sprinkle the whole top with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Let them sit for a minute and then transfer to cool completely on a baking rack.

While they cool, stir together the creme fraiche, maple and almond extract (a little goes a long way, you need just a couple drops). Serve each tart with a dollop of cream. These are best enjoyed the day they are made but they will keep covered for two days and could even be freshened up in a toaster oven when needed.

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen
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Snack, Breakfast, Summer, Dessert

CITRUS POLENTA CAKE WITH WARM STONE FRUITS

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

Complacency is so boring but comfortable, while growth is so unpredictable and trying. Everything I am processing in this season seems so weighty (at least in my sphere), too personal for this space, but talking about food seems so... detached. These sorts of notes here elicit responses of pity and that is far from necessary. In the meantime, we'll just talk about food anyway. Which sounds complacent and comfortable and just what I need in this space for now. 

I'm confidently calling this a breakfast cake. I'm a savory breakfast girl. I love eggs and they feel like a wise choice to get the day going. Maybe out of habit, or because a sweet in the morning makes me feel a tad guilty. I have treats all other times of the day, likely too often, so breakfast is the one time they're easy to turn down. But this cake? It isn't really the guilty sort. It's baked in a cake pan, but has a denser crumb from that cornmeal likening it more to a loaf. For a "cake," it's pretty low in sugar and tastes as such - not bad, but light. I had a bounty of stone fruits in my CSA basket and ripe as they are, I found all they needed was a pat of butter and a breath of heat. If you're using ripe, summer fruits, I think you'll find they don't need added sugar. But you be the judge of that if you get a tart bunch. A little fresh whipping cream makes this totally passable for company, but honey and yogurt work great for the creamy component as well. Or vanilla ice cream! Ok, now it's not breakfast anymore but you get the idea.  

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

CITRUS POLENTA CAKE WITH WARM STONEFRUITS // Makes one 10'' cake

cake adapted from Womens Health Magazine

I haven't tried, but I think this cake would be wonderful made with olive oil in place of the butter. Use the applesauce and you have a dairy-free option. You also wouldn't need the mixer, all could be a dump-stir program in a bowl. If you go that route, report back how it goes. 

  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 cup fine ground polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lbs. assorted stonefruits (plums, pluots, peaches, nectarines etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • dash of vanilla extract or one vanilla bean

 honey sweetened yogurt or whipping cream for serving

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 325'. Line a 10'' cake pan with parchment and butter the bottom and sides.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides if need be. Add the buttermilk or applesauce, and both zest and mix until combined. Add the polenta, almond meal, salt and baking powder and mix until just combined. Pour it into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (the cake is pretty light, you'll want to pull it on the more underdone side of finished to avoid dryness). Cool to the touch and then invert the cake onto a rack or plate. 

Cut the stone fruits into thin wedges. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the fruit slices, orange juice and warm for about 6-8 minutes to warm through, stirring only a few times as to not break up the fruit too much. Stir in the splash of vanilla or seeds from the vanilla bean pod. Taste for sweetness. Mine did not need sugar, add a Tbsp. if your mix tastes a bit tart.

Serve the slices of cake with a heaping spoonful of the fruit topping and a dollop of fresh whipping cream of honey sweetened yogurt.  

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen
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Snack, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Summer

MINI ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

Earlier this week, our pillow talk included a how-long-can-you-hold-you-breath contest. I lost, Hugh capable of cutting off oxygen about twice as long as I could. I likely could have gone longer but I was afraid of passing out. This has less to do with my lung capacity, more to do with fear of pain, but that's another issue. This tumbled into looking into the world record for breath holding. You guys. TWENTY TWO MINUTES. I can do a lot of things in twenty two minutes, surviving under water is not one of them. What is so fascinating is that this Dutchman's method for dropping his resting heart rate is meditation by recalling childhood memories and imprinted mental imagery. Stig! You breath-holding genius. So I played the game myself, except I included breathing, as I tried to fall asleep. This is usually a process for me, falling asleep that is - going to the bathroom a dozen times, tossing and smushing my pillow for optimum head elevation and trying not to think about my list for tomorrow.  I also gave it a go as I was having a cavity filled. Novocaine shots! They make my hands clammy. I need major calming and to mentally go to a happy place.

I got thinking about past family vacations from when we were kids. We never did anything extravagant, but they are some of the most vivid memories I have of childhood. We had yearly trips with other families to San Clemente (yes, 15 minutes south) for beach camping. I remember my dad cursing every time while putting up the tent, orchestrating those long poles in a mangled X over the top, dirt sticking everywhere, we came of age when he offered to pay the teenage boys in the group to do it for him. The kids made the rounds on bikes as the parents unloaded for the weekend. It was here that I timidly rollerbladed, not completely grasping how to use the brake on the heal. Never the athletic one. Always cautious. The Costco size bag of powdered donuts we chipped away at for breakfast, the ones with so much powdered sugar they made your mouth dry or the tuna salad with Ritz crackers my sister and I ate under the bridge that the Amtrak train went over. Us and our favorite girlfriends put our backs up against the wall to feel the heavy vibration of the train rumble through our bodies as it went right over our heads. It was at this campground that we all sat around a campfire with the radio playing through a car stereo the evening Princess Diana died, and where I learned to shave my legs in those public showers that cost a quarter for five minutes of warm water. None of these memories euphoric in nature, but I can see them, like pictures, in my memory, and they are calming for the mere fact that these moments existed. Days, weeks, they're always in motion, but I can think back and time stands still. Maybe that is what is so peaceful about good childhood memories. They never include a hustle, weighty emotions pushed to the periphery of our memory, but they can be recalled as fine, almost delicate snapshots of our own story. 

We have no camping plans coming up, but if I were to replace those powdered donuts today, I would bring along these muffins. They're barely adapted from Rebecca Katz' cookbook. It's a naturally gluten and dairy free recipe, which most of her book is composed of. What I love most is all the great nutritional information in the beginning and how she promotes eating to enhance life, longevity and good health.  I swapped out blueberries for some roasted strawberries, but any small pieces of fruit will do here. Maybe a peach with cinnamon? With mini muffs, you want to be certain the pieces of fruit are small or they take up too much space in the muffin, not leaving enough room for the batter that holds it all together. Take that and run with it, the base recipe is just lovely and simple. The season of the super sweet, gorgeous strawberries is fading, so I roasted some down to stir into the almondy batter. Even if you do use another fruit, promise me you'll roast some strawberries before the summer is over just so you can soak in that smell. Sweet heavens, that smell is going on the list of my happy places next time I get a shot. "I know when to add chocolate chips to a backed good. Always." Thank you, chez Hugh. The chocolate takes them into the perfect afternoon snack category when you need a little something special. Glad to have these in the rotation.

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

MINI ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS // Makes 24 mini muffins

Recipe adapted from The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz

The original recipe calls for two cups almond meal. I subbed in a bit of cornmeal because I love how it pairs with berries, the occasional bit of crunch, and wanted to see if I could just barely pull the flavor through. Either way should work. I am new to playing with coconut sugar and really love the sandy texture and almost smoky, caramely smell. It turns the end result a bit more murky brown but I'm not too concerned with that. A maple sugar, muscavado or natural cane sugar would work fine here as well. 

If using a standard muffin tin, I am guessing you'll want to add about 5-7 minutes to the baking time. Haven't tried it yet, so just keep an eye on them. 

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup roasted strawberries*
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Prepare a mini muffin tin with paper liners, or coat the pan generously with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, cornmeal, baking soda, coconut sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil, honey, almond and vanilla extracts together. Whisk it up real well until fully combined and even in color. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to mix. The batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips. Fill the muffin liners to the top, they don't poof too much.

Bake on the middle rack for 16-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins on their sides in the pan, or remove to a wire rack to cool. 

*Roasted Strawberries: Oven to 350'. Toss 4 cups quartered strawberries with a pinch of salt and 2 tsp. melted coconut oil (or olive oil works too). This will do for ripe, juicy berries. If yours are dry or lacking flavor, add a splash of maple or honey to sweeten. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and reduced in size. Set aside to cool. This may yield more than you need for the recipe. Mix the extras in plain yogurt or in your morning oatmeal. 

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
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