Cooking Up Trouble, Episode 1: Fruit Pies!

This is the first installment of my delicious new column, Cooking Up Trouble with Sally Rebel! Get on your aprons, because today we’re making Rustic Fruit Pies, a dessert that is so freakishly easy and yet so ridiculously good that you’ll make it all the time and get fat, fat, fat. Hooray!

These are called Rustic Fruit Tarts because “rustic” is a fancy word for “ugly, but yummy.” Only they’re not ugly, they’re just a different kind of beautiful. They’re kind of lopsided and handmade-looking, but that’s okay because they’re dessert, and nobody cares what dessert looks like.

I adapted (ie, sort of stole) the fruit filling recipe from Veganomicon, my favorite cookbook, but I provided a few simple alternatives that will make a Rustic Fruit Tart into a Rustic YOU-t Tart!

The only difficult part about this recipe is the pie crust, because pie crust is primarily fat, and fat must stay cold to result in a lovely, flaky texture. So, if you, like me, are the type who has a hard time maintaining such a delicate balance, you can use pre-made puff pastry, the kind you buy in the freeezer section of your local supermarket. You just might have to alter the cooking time a little bit, because puff pastry is even fattier than pie crust and practically deep-fries itself in the oven.

Once you get comfy with the recipe, don’t be afraid to play around with it. Add chocolate! Nuts! Peanut butter! Make the crust with cornmeal! Make it with a savory pie dough and fill it with potatoes and cheese! Bake a little cocoa powder into the crust! The world is your oyster. On that note, add oysters! Actually, don’t. Oysters are gross and eating animals is mean.

Rustic Fruit Tarts

Ingredients:

  • Half of your favorite pie crust recipe (uncooked, duh)
  • Approximately 1 cup of fruit (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 5 teaspoons brown sugar (or white sugar, if you’re using a more summery fruit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 teaspoons jam or marmalade

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease cookie sheet

2. Peel, pit, and slice fruit, if needed. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to a quarter-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out as many 8-inch circles as will fit on the crust, then collect and roll out dough scraps to cut out some more. You should make 5-6 in total.

4. Fold in the edges of each pie crust, scoring with fork tines to hold it in place. The folds should be about 1/2 an inch wide.

5. Spread some jam in the center of each pie. The jam should complement the flavor of the fruit; some really yummy combinations include apricot/plum, marmalade/fig, and raspberry/pear. Alternately, you can use caramel spread and top it with your favorite fruit–apples and bananas are especially good.

6. Top each pie with some prettily arranged fruit and sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on the greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly like nobody’s business. Serve warm or room temperature.

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