With a Pear Tart to a Business Meeting


My friend Rebecca visited me today to finalize the website that we are working on for her new church Gilead Church Chicago. To me a friend's visit is always a good excuse to mix something up and throw it in the oven to bake. And voila! Today we have a fabulous almond pear tart that works perfectly with a cup of coffee or a latte if you wanna feel fancy. ;)

I adopted the recipe from Donna Hay and twisted it a bit to my liking.


Recipe:

90g butter
90g raw sugar
2 eggs
120g almond meal
40g spelt flour
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 pears, peeled, cored and halved
1 Tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp minced lime peel
1 tsp ground star anise

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until just combined. Add the eggs, almond meal, flour, baking powder, lemon rind and vanilla extract, and process until just combined. Spoon the mixture into a 9.5cm x 33cm loose-bottom fluted tart tin. Cut the pear halves into tick slices but keep them together. Press the pears into the tart mixture and sprinkle richly with raw sugar, lime peel and star anise. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Let it cool in the tin. And enjoy!!!


Shortbread Cookie Buttons


My first blog post. EVER.

Shortbread cookies are something that my grandma would bake by truckload for Easter and Christmas and anytime in between. Having EIGHTEEN grandchildren, eighteen bellies with a bear appetite to feed, there was no downtime for this saintly woman. She loved to cook and she REALLY loved to bake. Her shortbread cookies simply melted in your mouth. Like butter. Delicate, comforting, one bite would take you straight to your dreamland.

That was long time ago, though. Back in the days when all people ate came from their own farm. Planted, nourished, and picked by their own hands. Grains taken to their local mill to be grounded into flour. Milk and eggs handpicked from their barn, and hand-made cheese and butter.

It's not the same these days.

I don't have my grandma's flour. So I use spelt flour. Nutritious and clean, as it is very picky to the environment in which it grows. The texture is more brittle and nutty, but rich in taste and almost as delicious as grandma's cookies.

Almost.

It takes patience and perseverance to make this dough work sometimes, as its temperature needs to be just right not to break into pieces when it's too frozen, or turn into blob when too warm. It takes time and practice, but the outcome will be totally rewarding.


Recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon star anise (ground)
2 1/3 cups organic spelt flour

 

In a food processor mix butter, sugar, salt, and star anise and process until smooth. (I grind the sugar beforehand to make it easier to combine). Add flour and pulse until blended. Roll the dough into a round log with a diameter the size of your desired buttons. Wrap tightly in plastic and freeze until firm (30-60 min).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Now you will need a round cookie cutter, a small glass ( half an inch smaller in diameter than the cookie cutter), and a straw. Use the cookie cutter to make circles from your dough slices. Press the glass against the dough just enough to make an indentation to create the inner circle. Use the straw to cut out button holes.

Bake until cookies are golden brown, around 16-20 min. Set aside and let cool.

Best to eat when none is looking.