Just two years ago, my sister and I were over in Europe, somewhere between the Netherlands and Italy. You can read about our adventures over on our Sisters Four blog if you like.
Biking the lovely streets of Haarlem, Netherlands
I’ve been missing Europe a lot lately – the trains, the towns, the people, and, of course, the food.
There are several flavors that totally remind me of different places in Europe. Part of that is due to my ancestry, part to travels, and there’s probably a part in there that comes from what I’ve been told by cookbooks or people in general. Perhaps it’s faulty, but never the less, there.
I’ve been wanting to make something that was reminiscent of the amazing flavors we sampled on our trip, but when I saw the recipe for Brown Butter Tarts with Sour Cherries in the Midwest Living a couple months ago, I knew I had to incorporate cardamom whipped cream somehow as well.
Cardamom is native to India, but my viking relatives (I’m sure I was related to one of them!) introduced it to Scandinavia over 1,000 years ago. That’s why cardamom always makes me think of my Swedish grandmother’s delicious Cardamom cinnamon rolls and not this great sounding recipe for Badam Burfi.
This fabulous photograph was taken by Moira over at Who Want’s Seconds? You’ll find some interesting facts about cardamom over there.
Almond is used everywhere and for good reason, it is AMAZINGNESS! The Swedes use mandalmassa (almond paste) in muffins and biscuits and other treats like the Swedish Mazarinmuffins. When we were in Haarlem, Paula, the hostess at our phenomenal B&B, served us a bread laden with liqueur soaked fruit and a whole log of almond paste wrapped inside. Oh my! That was a flavor worth savoring! I recreated the recipe for Kerststol in my Taste of Europe series here.
Okay, almond was a given. Maybe some orange. Cherries? I like that…
And so the Flavors of Europe Tart began to take shape.
I started with a crumb crust. Actually, I lied. I started with a pastry crust using almond paste, flour and butter. It was delicious, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. So we ate that and started over.
7 oz. almond paste
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. almonds, ground
Pulse in a food processor, until blended and press into a tart pan. Bake for 15 -20 minutes or until golden.
I wanted vanilla bean custard for the filling, so I went with my tried and true custard/pudding recipe that I use for just about anything I need pudding or custard for.
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 c. milk
4 lg. egg yolks
2 t. butter
1 t. vanilla
Whisk all ingredients together in a sauce pan while cold. Turn on the heat and whisk while it warms. As soon as it starts to thicken, remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla and pour into tart crust. Cover with plastic wrap to keep from forming a skin on top and chill in refrigerator.
The yolks I used are farm fresh and were so orange. That explains why the pudding is yellow. I knew you were wondering. :)
And guess what? The shell of the egg was green/blue! I LOVE that!
I decided to used dark sweet cherries for the topping and reduce them in their own juices. So easy! Just put 12 oz. of frozen cherries in a pan and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is a syrupy consistency.
Cardamom Whipped Cream from Midwest Living
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Beat cream until it starts to thicken. Add sugar, orange peel, vanilla and cardamom. Beat until desired texture is reached.
Slice tart and serve with a dollop of cream.
So now, just to be totally random (and because I like it so much and I’m so excited about it :), I have to share my latest project with you.
I decided to paint my closet. I’ve done a lot of painting in the past working for my Dad or sisters or doing jobs of my own and I’m telling ya’, I really dislike painting closets. I mean, come on, it’s just a closet! Right?
Well, I don’t know what got into me.
I took a plain, decent closet…
And spiced it up a bit!
I love it so much I’m doing to get rid of all my stuff, take the doors off my closet and enjoy it! :D Just kidding. But it was sad covering so much of it up.
Now it’s just a closet again…with an attitude.