Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fete nationale le quatorze Juillet.





Tarte Montmorency


   Those of you that read my blog might remember that every 14 Juillet, July 14, I make something with cherries. I fell in love with French culture and cooking in 4th grade when I began taking French. The school system I went to from 4th to 10th grade began Foreign Language classes in 4th grade. They were not optional, everyone took them. The French teacher would come to the classroom several times a week for nearly an hour if I remember correctly. My teachers name was, Madame Pothier, pronounced po-tee-ay. Some of my classmates thought she was odd. By American standards she may have been. But to me, she was amazing and inspiring. I honestly think that teaching "facts" is not as important as teaching how to find "facts" on your own, or in other words how to be resourceful. Nor is teaching "facts" as important as inspiring a student to desire more. I understand the value in teaching "facts", particularly in the area of dates, treaties, math and science related subjects, grammar, geography and a few other nuts and bolts curriculum. But to instill a passion for something begets the students' desire to pursue and learn way past the boundaries and confines of a classroom, textbook and teachers knowledge and perhaps bias. That being the barometer for a good teacher, Madame Pothier was one of the best I had as I still read about France, its history, culture, food, art and well just about anything I can. She sowed that into my life. Thank you, Madame. I even like L'Oreal for a number of things. :-)

   Typically, I make a full French meal on 14 Juillet, in honor of Bastille Day. I love holidays that commemorate freedom, and truly this one does just that. However, working full time and being mindful of what I eat just now, I will limit my French fare to something cherry. Two years ago, I posted a delicious Basque Cake. Last year, I posted a yummy Clafouis aux Cerises, which is a cherry cake but quite honestly it is more like a custard or pudding. We loved both of those. Today's contribution is a Tarte Montmorency, or Morello Cherry Tart. You will need to scroll down on that link to see the Tarte Montmorency recipe. There is some interesting reading on the way down though. Here is the recipe I used from the above web site.


Tarte Montmorency

1 unbaked pie shell
2 pounds cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Kirsch

Fit the pie shell to a 10 inch tart pan and prick the bottom several times with a fork.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cherries. Cook for 5 - 6 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue cooking the sauce thickens and caramelizes slightly. Remove from heat and pass through a sieve. (You won't need the cooking juices.)

Spread the cherries on top of the tart shell.

Beat the eggs with the other 1/4 cup of sugar and the flour. Stir in the milk and the Kirsch. Pour this mixture on top of the cherries. Bake at 400° F for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and serve cold.

Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Recipe found on Easy French Food, at http://easy-french-food.com

Morello Cherry
Dark mahogany red cherries that provides juice for use in making brandies and liqueurs. Morello cherries, which are very sour tasting, are commonly used to produce preserves, canned cherries, cherries in syrup, or dried cherries. Definition provided by http://www.recipetips.com.

   Bing cherries were the only fresh cherries available to me. This variety of cherry though like the Morello in that they are large, dark red and good for baking, are not sour but sweet. Next time I make this tart, I am going to use Oregon Fruit canned Morello (Montmorency) cherries so that I can taste this with the more tart cherry. And by way of a nice perk, they are already pitted. I just stocked my pantry with 4 cans of these cherries.


I have used the Oregon Fruit Product brand for years. The quality and quantity in every can I have used has been excellent.


   Those of you that pitted cherries years ago by hand may remember little devices held in one hand that resembled the end of a syringe that you use your thumb to apply the pressure with. You place the cherry in a little spot between the thumb where the tack head like piece was and the fore and middle finger were, pushed and your pit popped out. Well, after serving me well for many years, I threw mine out some time ago as it had rusted. I had no idea it was going to be so difficult to replace that faithful little tool. This is the only cherry pitter I was able to find, and I found it at a local hardware store.




I had no choice but to buy this one. I did not completely mind. After all, I figured the grandchildren would enjoy it, and it seemed to be efficient in that the juice and pits were going to drop in a case I could dump out when full. Seemed okay. Overall, it was better than cutting each and every cherry around its pit and then pull the pit away from the flesh. The Cherry Chomper is however no where as handy as it is portrayed to be, nor is it always successful at shooting the pit out. So as I said before, it is the canned cherries next time. This tart is good. The texture is wonderful and the flavor is too. But not worth the cherry hassle.


   This is every ingredient needed for this Tarte. Yes, I am going to sloth by and use a store bought pie crust. Only however because of the time I am going to have to put into pitting that bowl of 2 pounds of cherries.




   I always soak fresh fruits and vegetables in good squirt of Shaklee's Basic H and water before doing anything else to them. Stems off first.


And now the pitting. I wear latex gloves any time I am handling cherries, blueberries, blackberries, any other dark staining fruit or jalapenos. As you can see here, the Cherry Chomper is not the gadget I thought it was suppose to be.



Pitting accomplished. I am going to need to find real cherry pitter. That Cherry Chomper would be okay if grandchildren were going to pit a handful or two of cherries, but that is about it.





Store bought crust turned out nicely into tart~quiche plate and cooked cherries placed into the unbaked crust.



Sugar, eggs, flour, milk and Kirsch beaten together and poured over cherries. Do not use cherry Brandy in place of the Kirsch. The Kirsch is actually Kirschwasser which in German simply means cherry water and is categorized as a brandy. This liquor however is made differently than traditional cherry brandy. It is not the syrupy sweet, overly flavored liquor that common brandy is.



Kirschwasser


Tarte done baking. Now to completely cool.




First slice out.




Ready for Jon and I to enjoy.


Like most everything else I bake anymore, after a day or so it is off to work with Jon. We just don't eat that much in the way of baked goods. I do love to bake them though so having Jon's office to share with makes it possible for me to enjoy baking, tasting a bit of the results and not over doing it. And they think they are getting the better deal here. :-)



The left over cooked cherry juice with butter will become a scrumptious thickened sauce to which I will add some almond flavor this upcoming weekend. Somebody around here is having a birthday and a sauce like that will be splendid drizzled on chocolate cake.




 Jon has wanted to try growing cherry trees. The flesh will be removed from the pits, they will be dried thoroughly, put in an airtight jar and refrigerated until January. They will then be planted in pots and the small (probably 8-10 inch) saplings will be transplanted in the yard in late spring. It will be three years at least before we see a cherry, but it will be fun to watch!

4 comments:

Shauna said...

That looks awesome Theresa. When did you find the time . . . I will have to try that sometime; thank you for sharing with us.

Denise said...

That looks very yummy.

Barbara said...

The Cherry Tart looks good.

OsageBluffquilter said...

I've got coffee, got any cherry pie left? that looks so good. And I see you have powdered sugar in a plastic can. That is so cool. I found corn starch in a plastic container the other day!