As the summer comes to an end, stores still have ample amounts of pears, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches. To preserve the wonderful fruit tastes of summer these fruits may be frozen and enjoyed during the winter months. Freeze berries in a single layer on cookie sheets then place in freezer zipper bags.
To make smoothie packages divide blueberries, sliced strawberries, and peach slices into one cup proportions in freezer plastic bags, freeze, and just use bag when ready to make a smoothie in a blender use some milk and yogurt, and if desired, some vanilla extract.
Make delicious parfait breakfasts or desserts by using Greek yogurt or whipped topping, layering with raspberries, blueberries, and chopped peaches, very tasty and very easy to make.
Just a note to say that raspberries have fewer calories than blueberries and about one third the sugar. Per cup raspberries contain 8 grams of fiber and blueberries have 3.6, so if undecided which one to choose, go for the raspberries. These tiny reds perish quickly so enjoy them as soon as possible, or cook them into a recipe.
Easy Tart Pastry Shell
When making a dessert tart this makes a tasty shell, also a graham cracker crust recipe, or for ease a prepared refrigerated pie crust will work also. Let the pie crust come to room temperature for flexibility in fitting into pan, trim edges if necessary.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 stick butter, cold and cubed
1 egg yolk, room temperature, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter a 9- inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a bowl whisk together flour and sugar until combined. With a pastry blender or 2- knives cut in cold butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Mix in egg yolk until dough is crumbly and will not hold together. Press dough over the bottom and up the sides of pan.
Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes, place on rack and let cool completely. While crust is hot, press it down with the back of a spoon to flatten bubbles in pastry.
Glaze for Fruit Tarts
1/4 cup apple or apricot jelly
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Melt jelly and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Use this to glaze the top of the fruit in tart, either lightly pastry brush it on, or gently and evenly pour it on, making sure to coat the edges of the crust.
Easy Baked Pears
These are so delicious, low in carbs and high in fiber.
4 pears, cut in half, cored and peeled
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple juice or water
In a glass pie dish, laying cut side down, place pear halves, narrow sides facing the center. These halves may be cut into smaller slices to fit into dish. Sprinkle the sugar lightly over top of pears. Pour apple juice over top. Bake covered with aluminum foil in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until just slightly tender. Cool on a rack, then cover and refrigerate.
Makes 1 dozen.
2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, reserve 1-tablespoon
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon extract or lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Jumbo paper baking cups
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into little pieces
2/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
To make streusel, in a bowl stir together sugar and flour. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2-knives until crumbly. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl whisk together cake flour, flour, sugar, and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt.
In another bowl whisk together eggs, then add milk, melted butter, and lemon extract, whisking until well blended. Add this to dry mixture, stirring until just moistened.
In a bowl toss blueberries together with 1- tablespoon flour. Gently fold blueberries into batter to blend evenly.
Place baking cups in a 6- cup muffin pan. Coat cups with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups, filling two- thirds full. Sprinkle with streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
In a bowl whisk together lemon juice and sugar, until sugar dissolves. Drizzle syrup over hot muffins. Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then cool for another 20 minutes.
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie dish or square pan. Set aside.
In a bowl toss blueberries with lemon juice. Stir together with 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and 1- tablespoon sugar, tossing to coat. Pour into prepared dish.
In another bowl stir together oats, baking powder, cinnamon, 5-tablespoons flour and 4 tablespoons sugar. Coarsely chop pecans and stir into mixture. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or 2- knives until crumbly.
Bake until golden brown and mixture is bubbling about 45 minutes. Let stand for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Peach Tart with Peach Schnapps
1 prepared refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Peach Schnapps or almond flavoring
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons peach preserves or 1/2 peach cooked down to half with 2-tablespoons sugar
2 cups thinly sliced, peeled peaches, about 3 medium peaches
2 teaspoons Fresh Fruit or lemon juice
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Using a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom place pie crust in pan coming up the sides. Bake crust according to package instructions. Cool on rack for 20 minutes.
Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in Peach Schnapps, add eggs and beat until well blended. Pour mixture into baked shell.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours until completely cooled down and set.
Just before serving , in a microwavable bowl, microwave peach preserves on High for 20 seconds. Stir in 1-tablespoon Peach Schnapps.
In a bowl toss peach slices together with Fresh Fruit powder or lemon juice. Fold peaches into microwaved sauce and gently toss to coat. Arrange peach slices over top of tart mixture. Cover and refrigerate.
Helpful Hint: Canned or frozen peach slices may be substituted, thawed, drained, and without juices.
Pear Tart with Egg Custard and White Chocolate
1 pre- made refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all- purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-5 fresh pears, peeled, cored and cut into fourths, or 2 15-ounce cans of pear halves, drained
1 ounce white chocolate baking bar (usually from a 6- ounce package)
1 teaspoon shortening
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pie crust according to package directions. Place pie crust in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie dish. Trim edges if needed. Bake for 9-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely on a rack for 20 minutes.
In a large saucepan heat milk over low heat about 5- minutes, stirring frequently, until very hot but not boiling.
In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium for 5 minutes or until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in flour. Gradually beat in warm milk mixture until well blended.
Return this mixture back to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes, until mixture is very thick and just begins to boil. Boil for 1- minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Pour this chilled mixture into baked pie crust. Cut pears into slices and nicely arrange on top of tart.
In a small microwavable bowl, microwave white chocolate baking bar on High for about 45 seconds, stirring once halfway through microwaving, until melted. If more time is needed do it in 15 second increments until melted and smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over tart. Store in refrigerator.
Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.