Tart 2 of 2: Snappy Fruit
Why, hello there! I have to apologize for the delay in getting this post up for you. It was meant to be a companion piece to the chestnut tart, but life sorta got away from me over the weekend and I’m just getting back in my blog groove. I did cook up several delicious dishes the past few days so I’m looking forward to telling you about them over the course of this week.
But here we are now with Tart 2 of 2, an interesting mix between a cheesecake and a tartlet. The original recipe I used was for a large tart with only pears. Once again, I couldn’t resist the charms of my adorable three-inch tart tins. Nor could I leave out some apples since I still had several of the Nittanys I got from Three Springs Fruit Farm the other week at Headhouse. The Nittany apples, by the way, are a great bridge between firm baking apples and a sweeter softer eating apple. I love biting into one as soon as I get home from work, but they also proved perfect for this tart.
I think the best part of this particular tart process is making the crumbs for the crust out of the gingersnap cookies. Put the cookies in a heavy ziplock bag, grab a rolling pin and get out all your frustrations. Or, conversely, gather the kids together and let them have at it! Of course you can always take the easy route and whir them in your food processor (you lucky ducks that own one!).
With crops slowing down at Weavers Way Farm, I’m starting to branch out to other farms at the Headhouse Market for my ingredients. It’s nice to be able to incorporate a little more fruit into the mix. We have a few baby fig trees and raspberry bushes planted in our lower field, but it will be two or three years before the farm has any real substantial fruit offerings. I marvel at the fruit from local orchards and farms — when compared to the stuff in the grocery store bins, local fruit shines like jewels and waifs with delicate floral (and obviously fruity) scents that beg the passerby’s eyes and nose to let their mouth join in the fun.
It baffles me as to why someone ever thought putting wax and other “shiners” on fruit was necessary. The things sell themselves if you just let them be. But I guess that’s what happened with commercial farming and shipping across the miles – fruit in the grocery store was not left to ripen on the tree so merchandisers need to polish it up to make it appealing to the consumers shopping under flourecent lights. It’s sad (but true) how sterile my trip to the grocery store right after the Headhouse Market yesterday felt in contrast to the brisk breezes and dappled sunlight that accompanied my purchases from my brethern farm vendors. Of course, it’s even more fun to go pick your own apples and pears this time of year. I encourage you to browse www.localharvest.org to find some pick-your-own orchards nearby. Once your kitchen is brimming with a bushel or two of apples and pears, get crackin’ on this tart!
Ginger Apple Pear Tartlet
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
3/4 c. gingersnap crumbs (made from gingersnap cookies)
2 T. melted butter or margarine
1/2 (8 ounce) package of reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 plus 1/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
1 t. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 small apple, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small pear, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter, tossing well to combine. Spray (2) three-inch removable bottom tart pans with non-stick spray. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up the sides of the tins. Bake at 350 F for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/3 c. sugar, flour and vanilla. Add egg and beat gently or on low speed just until combined. Fill crusts 3/4 full with filling. Combine remaining 1/4 c. sugar with cinnamon and toss with pear and apple slices. Arrange fruit slices over cream cheese filling.
Place tarts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until tarts are almost set up. Push up gently on tart bottoms just to loosen the tart, but do not remove from form yet. Allow to cool for about an hour before removing from tin, afterwhich chill in the refrigerater for at least 2 hours before serving.