Friday, March 9, 2018

Spring into Tea and Tarts

By Cal Orey

Spring is almost here and you can feel it indoors and outdoors. It’s that time to change it up when it comes to cooking, baking and eating. I prefer to make the transition slowly. Rather than go on a detoxifying semi-fast diet, let’s take it bit by bit. As history goes, this is the time of year I go off the hill for book signings and research.

A couple of years ago I traveled to Seattle on the first day of Spring. In the morning it was a Starbuck’s coffee, a plain bagel, and fresh strawberries. Then, onto the hotel pool and hot tub before a book signing event in the early afternoon. It was exciting being in the Pacific Northwest—knowing Canada via train ride, fish aquarium, and British Columbia—a place I’ve been and continue to visit--was next up the next day.
But this year it’s Reno for March. The eating style is similar as well as swim and hot tub but here in town. Instead of a big wintertime breakfast, a slice of a semi-homemade fruit tart and fresh brewed hot tea is what I’m dishing up for me and you.

1 pie pastry (Pillsbury)

3 large, firm pears, washed, peeled, cored, sliced 
2 tablespoons European style butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fresh lemon juice to taste
1 egg white
Confectioners' sugar

Take pie pastry out of the refrigerator, let rest for 15 minutes.  Slice pears. In a bowl, mix pears, butter, sugar, flour, and juice. Place pastry on foil. Brush egg white on top to keep crust firm. Mold into a rectangle and crimp edges nicely like a border. Place pears inside. Bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. *Try warming up your favorite apricot or strawberry organic jam and spread the glaze on top. Cool for 15 minutes. Cuts nicely in squares or rectangles.  Sprinkle with sugar. Sliced almonds (optional) and fresh pear slices can pretty it up. 

Adding crumbled blue cheese and/or not peeling pears gives the tart a rustic appeal. Also, strawberries and walnuts works for the change of seasons, too. Serves 6. Perfect for a breakfast or brunch pastry or dessert as we enjoy more sunshine and longer days.

So, this pear tart is ideal for Saint Patrick’s Day and the change of seasons. Also, it’s a perfect starter for thinking lighter with less calories, less sugar, and less fat. It’s a time to lose unwanted winter weight but there’s no rush.  Do it the easy way, like a day trip instead of a week getaway and a tart instead of pie.

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