Fall has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest, and with it some of the largest rainfall amounts we see. And you know if you've ever been to Seattle, or know of our reputation, that is one heck of a lot of rain. There has been no easing into fall here. After one seriously gorgeous summer it's come as a bit of a shock to the system. Along with the rain has come an over abundance of early ripe fruits in our area due in large part to that consistently hot and uncharacteristically long stretch of sunny days.
My aforementioned propensity to hoard summer produce is now morphing itself into full on hoarding of fall produce and I have quickly recovered from my seasonal fruit saturation period. One can only live on cream puffs for so long, you know. My hips and thighs are thanking me. Now on to some exciting news.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger, urban farmer and chef extra-ordinare Janelle Maiocco from Talk of Tomatoes. Janelle and I met through my dear and mutual friend Karista Bennett of Karista's Kitchen. Janelle and Karista are avid foodie friends and, like me passionate about using fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Janelle is also the founder of Farmstr, a soon to be live, direct online marketplace connecting farmers to consumers.
As many of you know farming is hard, challenging work and small farmers face many difficulties when trying to get their goods into the hands of consumers efficiently and with minimal cost. Farmstr will provide a direct to the consumer platform that allows individuals to meet the farmer directly and obtain produce through local drop off points. A CSA with a twist if you will. A win, win for everyone involved.
Look for some delicious recipes here and exciting information in the weeks to come about Farmstr and ways in which you can help support your local farms wherever you may live. I'm so excited to be working with Janelle, our local farms and farmers and sharing with you some great recipes featuring their beautiful produce, meat and eggs. Until the site is live, please visit the Farmstr Facebook page to learn more about it and the great work Janelle and Karista are doing.
Oh! And on another note, I've been hugely honored and humbled this week to have been featured by the Huffington Post as one of The Best Food Bloggers: Top Ten of September. Woah. I'm still stumbling around a bit in shock over that one. It think I'll eat some tarts to celebrate.
Pear and Cardamom Frangipane Tarts
For the crust:
1 1/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 C. butter, cut into small pieces
3-4 T. ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar and butter. Whiz for 10 seconds or until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the ice water through the feed tube with the processor running. Once dough forms a ball, remove from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten with the palm of your hand and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the Frangipane:
3/4 C. sugar
6 T. unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 C. almond meal
1 T. flour
1 T. almond extract
1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
For the Pears and to finish the tarts:
3 whole ripe, yet firm, Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced in half
1/2 C. apricot jam
1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
1/4 C. sliced, toasted almonds
Combine the sugar and the butter in a medium bowl, stir until creamy and light. Add the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide into 6 equal portions. Press the pastry into six small tart tins evenly and up the sides. Spread 3-4 T. of the Frangipane filling into the bottom of the pastry using the back of a spoon. Press the pear halves into the filling. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes until the tarts are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in the microwave for 1 minute or until it's soft and runny. Sieve through a fine strainer and add the cardamom. Stir to combine and brush over the tops of each tart. Sprinkle the circumference of each tart with the almonds.