Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Buttermilk Tarts - Outdoor Wednesday
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Walking this angular path began a reverie that led me back to the gardens of my childhood. The homes in that neighborhood sat on small city lots whose gardens were nothing more than rectangular borders that repeated from one house to the next. These beds began with a row of white sweet alyssum that was backed in turn by the tiered support of blue argeratum, gold marigolds and red geraniums. The more creative neighbors managed to insert salvia and snapdragons into the borders and that made the riot of colors even more explosive. Occasionally, there'd be a patch of gem toned cannas, the old Victorian type, that towered over tiny four foot gardeners learning how to weed. To the eyes of a child these gardens were like a box of crayons and gorgeous in the order of their rigid symmetry. They were planted from seed, watered by hand and tended with great care. Buried deep within a woman's genome there must be something that drives the creation of beauty where none exists. These old city gardens were proof of that. They were nursed to life with a dollar's worth of seed in gravel, clay and sand. I've seen lots of gardens and created many of my own but none are as treasured or remembered with such fondness as those of my childhood. It is a tender mercy.
Memories of childhood desserts go hand in hand with those of city gardens. There were puddings and myriad pies of fruit and custard, and every once in a while buttermilk pie, a personal favorite, would appear on the table. The pie, while delicious, is not photogenic, so, I decided to use the buttermilk custard as a base for glazed tarts that look more appetizing. The tarts are covered with a thin layer of fruit preserves to add color and make them sparkle. I really prefer the pie au natural, but if you need eye candy the tarts are a better way to go. Buttermilk pie is the economical precursor to cheesecake. It's bite comes from low-fat buttermilk and sour cream that's been perked up with freshly grated lemon zest. That background flavor that plays on the tongue is cardomom. I love to make this at the height of berry season. It's really creamy and delicious.
Buttermilk Tarts...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
Pastry for a 2 crust pie
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 egg yolks
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup sugar
Optional: Fruit glaze
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Roll pastry on a well-floured surface. If making tarts, cut dough to fit 12 4-inch tart pans. If making a pie, cut pastry to fit a 10-inch deep dish pie pan. Set aside.
3) Combine melted butter, egg yolks, buttermilk, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, salt, flour, cardamom and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
4) Pour into pie or tart shells and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Topped cooled pastry with fruit glaze, if using. Yield: 1 10-inch pie or 12 4-inch tarts.
Recipe adapted from Saveur magazine.
I'm sending this to Outdoor Wednesday, an event sponsored by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.