Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tarte Tatin and Thanksgiving

We had SNG's family here for Thanksgiving, and between the wonderful food, the wonderful company, and the wonderful weather, it was definitely a highlight of the season.

The day started with a running race, of course. E-baby and I participated in the Inside Out Sports Turkey Trot 8K and kids' 100 M dash. There was also a one-mile fun-run, which really we should have entered SNG in, but there was no one to chase him, so I doubt he'd have crossed the starting line. I was happy with my time -- 5 miles in 48 minutes -- and e-baby made lots of new friends at the kids' run.

Her race was exciting. There were probably 80 kids lined up at the start, and most of them were bigger than e-baby. They took off like a shot. She ran her tiny legs as hard as they'd go. Like her mommy, she isn't the fastest in the field. And I think she was surprised to find that, just short of the finish line, her legs were hurting. I held her hand and we crossed the finish line together, and she got a red ribbon for finishing. This mommy couldn't have been more proud if e-baby had finished a marathon.

Back at the house, SNG, Dianaverse, my mother-in-law and I contributed dishes to the Thanksgiving meal, which consisted of:
Two kinds of stuffing
Garlic mashed potatoes
Fresh cranberry sauce
Bacon-hazelnet brussels sprouts
Steamed broccoli
Sauteed shiitake mushrooms (from Dianaverse's mushroom farm)
Apple pie
Blueberry pie
Sweet potato pie
Key lime pie
Walnut pie (Oh.My.Gosh.)
Watermelon cream pie
Cranberry-orange bread
Chocolate-blueberry bread

And because six pies and two dessert breads weren't enough, I made something sweet on Friday. It started with a recipe for Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Tarte Tatin at, but I modified it substantially for healthier tastes (and, it was killing me to try to resist all the leftover pie). It's kind of interesting because you make it upside-down, and cook the fruit on the stovetop before putting the crumble crust on top and baking it. Then you turn it out onto a plate and it is all sweet and tart and the flavors have integrated but the top is still crispy and comforting.

It was tasty as a dessert, yet still good enough for you to be a high-fiber, low-glycemic breakfast.

Cumble crust:
  1/2 c wheat germ
  1/2 c Ezekiel cereal
  1/2 c old fashioned oats
  2 T granulated Truvia
  3 T butter, cubed into little tiny pieces
  3 T cold water

Fruity part:
  2 ripe, peeled pears, thinly sliced (double this if you prefer)
  1 large cooking apple (honeycrisp, jazz, fuji, granny smith), peeled and thinly sliced (double this if you prefer)
  4 T Truvia*
  1 T molasses*
  1 T agave nectar*
  2 T butter
  1 t cinnamon
  1/2 t ginger
  1 c fresh cranberries (double this if you prefer)

To make crumble crust:
Combine crust ingredients except for water in a bowl and mash with a fork until the butter and grains are close to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Cook fruit:
Put butter, sweeteners, cinnamon and ginger in a 10" skillet over medium-low heat. Thoroughly melt butter and stir until well combined, but not sizzling. Remove from heat.
Starting in center, arrange apple and pear slices in concentric rings, overlapping a little with each slice. Make as many layers as you need to (I had 2 layers with 2 pears and 1 apple). Sprinkle cranberries on top.
Return pan to stove at med-low heat and cook until the sauce simmers. Turn heat to low and cover. Simer for 5 minutes. Remove cover and swirl fruit around to mix with sauce a bit. Continue cooking, uncovered, 7-11 more minutes or until sauce has thickened to a runny caramel consistency. Remove from heat.

Add 3 T cold water to crust crumble mix and knead with hands. Mash dough in hands to make little "pancakes" and lay them on the tart, placing them so that they touch until the entire tart is completely covered.

Put in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
Remove tart from the oven and let it rest at least 20 minutes. Put a plate over the pan and carefully turn it over. Jiggle the pan a little to be sure it all falls into place before lifting the pan. Serve warm. If you are of a sinful persuasion, serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

* this is to replace 1/2 c brown sugar. I have found this combination to be the best balance of taste and sugar content, but you could use whatever you want here.

Football played on the TV all day. The Cowboys won and the Longhorns won. We forgot all about war, economic downturns, political corruption, and petty concerns for the day. I hope your Thanksgiving was full of as many reasons to be thankful for this wonderful life as mine was.

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