Thursday, August 9, 2012

Recipes for Writers: Versatile Fruit Tart

I've been thinking about this lately.  A lot of writers I know love to cook (or love good food, or both).  Yet talk about a difficult choice--bake a gorgeous chocolate cake or write?  Make a homemade, from scratch meal or write?  Kitchen or computer?
Kitchen or computer?  The kitchen has a fun red teapot...

I thought about my favorite recipes.  They're versatile, they're easy, they don't take much time.  They get me back to my keyboard quickly.

Then I thought--why are they sitting in the box on my kitchen counter instead of getting shared?  Therefore, a new series: Recipes for Writers.  

Fruit Tart

Recipe Box of Happy
The reason this recipe is so perfect for writers?  One, it's easy.  And it takes barely any hands-on time, so if you have, say, a weekend afternoon to write or an evening after work, you can easily take a fifteen minute break, whip this up, and get back to the words.  Two, it's versatile.  All the ingredients are either pantry staples or totally swappable depending on what you have on hand.  So--no wasting time you could be writing with a madcap dash to the store.  




You Will Need:

Staples:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar + at least 2 tbs more for sprinkling
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
You Choose:
Fresh Fruit: 2-3 pears, peaches, nectarines, plums or apples OR 1 cup berries
1/4 jam or preserves, any kind to coordinate with your fruit choice (apricot is a good all-around pick)

What To Do:

Find a good stopping point in your writing--one that lets you finish a thought but gives you a window to walk back into.

If your butter isn't yet soft, go get it out of the fridge, set it in a warm place, and go back to writing for half an  hour.  Aim for 500 words and when you're done, soft butter.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease a pie plate or round cake pan.

Prep fruit--slice "hard" fruits, peel if preferred (not required) or measure and sort berries.

In a bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  In a smaller bowl, combine flour and baking powder (or do what I do and just add the baking powder to the measuring cup with the flour in it and carefully stir).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly--you'll get a dough similar to a stiff sugar cookie dough.

Press into the pan.  Arrange fruit on top--I like swirls like this for sliced fruits, or just spread berries in the center, leaving about an inch at the edges.

Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar.  (I like to totally overmeasure this and load up the top, but it's your call.) Sprinkle on top of the tart.

Pop into the oven for 45 minutes.  While it's baking, go write.  Aim for the lofty goal of 1000 words.  Fail and console self with tart, or succeed and celebrate with tart.

Pop tart out of the oven when the dough has baked to a golden brown.  Heat the preserves and spoon over the top, spreading evenly.  Cool and serve, or save in the fridge.

Combos I have used and liked:

Pears with apricot preserves
Nectarines with seedless black raspberry preserves
Blueberries with homemade blueberry compote instead of preserves
Apples with apple butter

After about an hour, you have a delicious tart and a good chunk of manuscript written!  



I cop to stealing inspiration for this format from a friend.  She is an amazing historical seamstress and theater costumer and her awesome bread recipe is literally given in how many cigarettes one should go through between each step.  Ie, "Leave dough to rise.  Smoke three cigarettes.  Punch down."  I need to find a smoker so I can actually make this bread.

1 comment:

  1. I can't cook :( so I'm going to look up nice looking food on the internet instead :D

    ReplyDelete