Worry, With A Side of Tart
The last thing anyone tells you about parenting is just how scary it can be. Sure, you hear about the cuddles and the hugs and the giggles and all the lovely silliness and bliss that comes with becoming a parent. What you hear less about, though, is how terrified you can get when your wee one gets sick.
Huxley felt warm to the touch Friday night. He wouldn’t let me take his temperature, so I let it go. He was restless all night that night, and increasingly warm to the touch come Saturday morning. When I finally was “allowed” to take his temperature, it quickly went from around 102 degrees to 104+, just like that. What has followed was an entire weekend and entire Monday full of a hot, hot baby. When he got sick this morning, all over himself and all over me, we decided it was time to visit the doctor. Swollen tonsils and a red right ear pointed to an ear infection.
Poor fella. At least we now know what we’re dealing with. In the past few days, though, Hubs and I have been little boxes of stress, anxiety, and fear. When your tiny guy is sweating through his pajamas and his hair and feels like a little inferno when he cuddles up next to you, it makes your heart race. The numbers on the thermometer weren’t helping, either. Thankfully, calls all weekend to the on-call doctor assured me that his body was responding to the fever reducer we were giving him, his appetite was as robust as ever, and his disposition remained upbeat, so all pointed towards the better, not the worse, case scenario.
And, so, we’ve been quite preoccupied. We’ve been quite exhausted. We’ve been seriously, desperately in need of some healing pie, which is what I’m sharing with you here today. In two days, we’ll play host to 14 adults and 4 children for a big Thanksgiving feast. A dear friend is bringing a Tarte Tatin and a cardamom pumpkin pie (this woman seriously knows me), while I’ll be baking up my Eggnog Pie and the Cranberry Mince Tart from A Year of Pies.
While pie certainly can’t heal all wounds, it certainly comes close. Huxley’s fever continues to creep down today and he’s as chipper as ever, playing with trains in the kitchen with Hubs right now. I think all is on the mend, and I know I’ve got pie-filled-thoughts to thank for that!
Cranberry Mince Tart (reprinted with permission from A Year of Pies, Lark Books 2012, an imprint of Sterling Publishing)
Without question my go-to Thanksgiving dessert, this tart showcases the best of what cranberries have to offer. While not for the “faint of tart,” the fruit’s inherent puckery-ness is tempered by the inclusion of raisins, currants, crystallized ginger, orange juice, and sugar. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient listing-the dish comes together very quickly. And do serve it with the orange whipped cream detailed below, as it even further balances the berries’ “bite.”
Makes: One 11-inch tart.
You Will Need:
1/2 recipe Basic Pie Dough (recipe follows)
Orange Whipped Cream
-1 cup heavy cream
-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
-1/2 teaspoon orange extract
-2 cups granulated sugar
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup orange juice
-6 cups cranberries (two 12-ounce bags)
-Grated zest of 1 orange
-1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
-1 cup pecans, chopped
-1/2 cup dark raisins
-1/2 cup golden raisins
-1/4 cup currants
-2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare the crust
1) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 11-inch removable bottom tart pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the pan’s fluted sides.
2) Prick the bottom of the crust about 6-7 times with a fork. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3) Line the crust with parchment and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving the oven on and reducing the temperature to 375 degrees F.
4) Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust, and cool it slightly before filling.
Prepare the orange whipped cream
1) Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and orange extract in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2) Using an electric mixer, beat at highest speed until billowy peaks form.
3) Transfer the whipped cream to a serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the pie.
Prepare the filling
1) Combine the sugar, water and orange juice in a medium-sized saucepan and heat, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
2) Add the cranberries and orange zest and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, 5-7 minutes, until some of the cranberries have popped and the liquid is gently simmering.
3) Remove from heat and whisk in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch until it is fully incorporated into the cranberry mixture. Set aside.
4) Combine the pecans, raisins, golden raisins, currants, crystallized ginger, spices and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly.
5) Add the cranberry mixture to bowl with the nuts and fruits, and stir again to mix thoroughly.
Assemble the tart
1) Pour the filling into the prepared crust, using a spatula to spread it evenly.
2) Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, until the crust edges are golden brown and the filling is set.
3) Cool at least 1 hour before serving with the orange whipped cream, and first removing the sides of the pan.
Basic Pie Dough
Makes: Crust for one double-crust pie.
You Will Need:
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/4 teaspoons salt
-1 cup butter (2 sticks), chilled and cubed
-3/4 cup ice water
1) Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large mixing bowl.
2) Using a pastry cutter or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, but with several pea and lima bean-sized butter bits in the mix.
3) Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a mixing spoon until the dough starts to clump.
4) Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and fold it together into itself using your hands. The dough should come together easily but shouldn’t feel overly sticky.
5) Divide the dough in half and shape into two flattened disks. Wrap each dough ball in cellophane and refrigerate for at least an hour.
6) Proceed according to the recipe instructions above.