The Perfect Fruit Tart

Fruit TartLast week we had to skip our first week of blogging since we launched Glü. Michelle travelled back to L.A. for a visit and the day we planned to make something, we both got job interviews, Michelle had to fly back to San Francisco, and then all of a sudden we were both employed! The chaos led to a slight moment of panic for me but I soon relaxed after everything settled down. This past weekend I was able to spend a warm Sunday afternoon making my favorite summer (or any season really) dessert – this fruit tart – for a game night with family and friends.

The beauty of this recipe is its ability to be both deceptively easy and show-stopping. It can make any amateur baker look like a professional, and can vary in difficulty depending on the variety of fruit you use. Plus this homemade version, with fresh fruit, a vanilla cream cheese filling, and a citrus glaze, is so much better than anything you will find in a grocery store.


Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed

Filling:

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh fruit (I chose raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Glaze:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 large orange (or two small ones)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 350º F. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and flour until completely incorporated and you can form a compact ball.

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Press the crust into a buttered tart pan. I only had a deep dish tart pan so I filled the dough half way up the sides, but a shorter one would be much easier. Make sure that the crust is completely even on the base and sides, and use a sharp knife to trim the top of the edges for a cleaner presentation.

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Poke a few holes in the base of the crust and bake in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, until the crust is a pale golden color around the edges.

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While the crust cools, whisk the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until smooth.

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Then spread the mixture over the cooled crust with the back of a spoon until even.

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Wash your fruit and then go ahead and slice all of the pieces you plan to use. It’s much more enjoyable to have your materials ready so that you can sit down and enjoy the fun part – decorating.

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Now time to get creative! Arrange the fruit however you would like, in pretty circular patterns or stripes. My mom likes to make this tart with just raspberries, the perfect compliment for the cream cheese filling and much easier for those who don’t like the idea of decorating.

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To make the glaze, combine the citrus juices, water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the cornstarch and whisk quickly until the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Bring the liquid to a rapid boil and then immediately remove from the heat. The glaze should be semi-thick and slightly yellow/orange in color. You can place it in the fridge or freezer to seed up the cooling process.

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Using a kitchen brush, gently coat the fruit with your cooled glaze to add the final glistening touch to this beautiful dessert.

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Serve right away or place in the fridge to eat later.

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Happy baking!

-Kirby

 

Graduation Cake Pops

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Well, we did it! We finally graduated from UCLA this past weekend. Somehow it was four years ago that we met as timid young freshmen, new to the city of Los Angeles. Looking back on all the friends and memories we’ve each made during our time here, graduation feels almost surreal. It’s the end of an era!! Despite the sadness that comes with leaving behind our friends, our apartments, and our beautiful campus, we are beyond excited to begin the newest chapter in our lives.

Starting this week, we will be working on this blog together from different cities (Michelle is headed to San Francisco and Kirby will be staying in Los Angeles), but we look forward to collaborating on ideas from afar and co-writing our content. To celebrate the end of the best four years of our lives, and the last craft we’ll be making together for a while, we made these graduation cake pops. Of course we made ours blue and gold for UCLA, but they are easily customizable to any school colors. They were (almost) too cute to eat!


Materials & Ingredients:

  • Cake (no shame in a box mix!)
  • Frosting
  • Cake pop sticks
  • White candy melts
  • Chocolate fondant
  • Yellow and black/brown royal icing (you can find our recipe here)
  • Ziplock bag or piping bag
  • Sprinkles
  • Baking sheet
  • Styrofoam or cardboard box for holding the finished cake pops
  • A knife
  • Scissors

Bake your cake and allow to cool completely.

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Mix the icing in little by little until the mixture is moist enough to form a ball, but not too sticky that it will fall off of the stick — we used about 1/4 of a container. Form as many golf ball-sized cake balls and place them on the baking sheet.

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Insert your sticks into the balls. Our secret is to melt a little bit of the candy melts and dip the sticks into the melted chocolate before inserting them into the cake balls. This insures that they won’t fall off the sticks when decorating. Then place the tray in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

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While the cake pops chill, you can make the fondant graduation caps. They aren’t hard to make but take a few steps so following these pictures might help! On a powdered sugar surface, roll out your fondant to about an 8th of an inch. Cut half of the fondant into little squares and cut the other half into thin strips. Cut your strips into 1.5 inch segments. Make your royal icing. You can get away with just half or even a quarter of the recipe. Dye half of it yellow and the other half black or brown, and place each color in a piping bag or ziplock. Cut a tiny hole in the edge. Use the black/brown icing to pipe on the end of your 1.5 inch long fondant segment. Then roll it into a circle, and repeat for each segment. Then pipe the black icing onto the top of the circle and place the square fondant piece on top. Finish them up with a little yellow icing tassel on top!

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Once you have finished the grad caps, set up your decorating station. Lay out your sprinkles, set aside your grad caps, and prepare your cardboard box or styrofoam to hold the finished cake pops. If you use a cardboard box, poke holes in the bottom and flip it upside down to hold the individual sticks. Melt your candy melts in a deep, narrow bowl or cup.

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Dip the chilled cake pop into the melted chocolate in one fluid motion. Avoid twisting or bending the cake pop, just pull it out.

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Immediately dust the cake pop with sprinkles.

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And finally, finish it off with a graduation cap. Place the finished cake pop in the styrofoam block or cardboard box to cool and harden, and repeat the process until you have finished all of the pops.

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Go Bruins and Happy Graduation!

-Michelle and Kirby

 

Homemade Blackberry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Alas! Summer is near and our favorite foods are once again returning to our daily lives (watermelon, gazpacho, peach cobbler, rosé anyone??). A few weeks ago when the sun was out and early signs of summer were wafting throughout the air, we caught the ice cream bug. A little too chilly for sorbet, but warm enough to daydream of tropical fruit and juicy, plump berries, we settled on this recipe. This homemade vanilla bean ice cream with fresh blackberry swirled throughout is such a special treat and one that really makes it feel like summer is just around the corner.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 small container of blackberries
  • 1 lemon

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Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large mixing bowl with water and ice, then set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, half & half, and 2/3 cups of sugar. Split the vanilla beans in half and carefully scrape away the seeds into the pan. Simmer over medium heat for approximately 12 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.

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While that simmers, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until slightly frothy.

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Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly pour 1 cup of it into the egg mixture, continuously whisking until smooth. Pour the egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, constantly stirring, until you have a creamy custard.

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Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a fine sieve, using a spoon to press it through.

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Place the bowl of strained custard into the ice bath and allow to chill until completely cool.

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Meanwhile, place the blackberries into a small sauce pan, along with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Cook on medium heat, occasionally stirring, for about 15 minutes, until the berries have broken down and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t be afraid to mash the berries as they cook.

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The result should be a thick, ruby red sauce filled with seeds.

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Press the sauce through a sieve to remove those pesky seeds.

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When the vanilla custard has cooled, pour it into the ice cream maker (or any tupperware container if your don’t have one). Turn the mixer on and allow your ice cream to freeze until it is the consistency of soft serve. Then gently pour your blackberry sauce into the ice cream, folding it a few times. Be careful not to overfold or you will lose the pretty red swirls and it will just turn pink.

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Place the ice cream in the freezer and continue to chill until it hardens to your desired consistency. Then serve with fresh blackberries!

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Happy one month until summer!

-Kirby and Michelle