I am the queen of making of a quick jar of jam. This quick peach rhubarb jam is one of my farewell love letters to the rhubarb season.
This summer is my first summer cooking with rhubarb. It has been a gorgeous love affair, making mostly jams. Finally realized that I wasn’t going to get the good stuff at the store anymore so I am quitting for the season.
A few years ago when I worked in retail, I developed a taste for a bagel and cream cheese. I have Bruegger’s to thank because it was on my path to work. Whenever I had an early morning opening shift, I would stop by to get a bagel for breakfast. The sesame bagel, toasted and slathered with cream cheese, was my go-to order. The roasted strawberry cream cheese was born of that memory.
This year was my first year cooking rhubarb, I believe. I have no memory of working with it. What a welcome into the rhubarb society it was. I made some cordial with rhubarb and a couple of jams. Cherry and rhubarb jam was the first one I made.
I wasn’t going to put up a post today. It is clear to me that I have reached that stage in my blogging journey where I feel like quitting. That stage where it seems all my flaws become apparent. It is the stage where I compare myself to everyone else and somehow manage to lose every round. Then I stopped and challenged myself to talk about something I am good at. That thing is apparent when you see this chocolatey blood orange curd tart.
My one thing that I choose to hold on to today is that I know how to read and transform recipes. I am the queen of using one idea and turning out a million and one things. A few days ago, I shared a parfait that featured a blood orange curd, a creamy yogurt layer and homemade granola. While making that recipe, I remembered that I once made my sister a jam and yogurt tart. Then I decided to make it again with the blood orange curd.
The crust on this tart is from Pretty Simple Sweet. When I was building this chocolatey blood orange curd tart in my head, I knew that I had to find a super easy crust recipe. This one from Pretty Simple Sweet delivered. The only amendment I made to the recipe was to replace some of the flour with dark chocolate powder. Everything else stayed the same.
Food is one of my most important creative outlets. It is one arena in my life where I feel confident. Sometimes I find my relationship with food strange. On one hand, I have a history of disordered eating. On the other hand, I have loved cookings since I was a child. The one thing I have learned from examining my relationship is that the joy I derive from cooking is often the power that allows me to focus on building healthy eating habits.
When I am able to play with my food, I am happy. I am happy when I realize that I have new skills and knowledge about food. By writing this post today, I choose to honor my creative relationship with food.
To make the Chocolatey Blood Orange Curd tart, make the tart crust following the Pretty Simple Sweet recipe, substituting in some dark chocolate powder for flour. Then layer in the components from the Blood Orange Curd parfait.
The other day, I noticed that I had a couple of blood orange starting to wrinkle in my food pantry. I knew it was time to get about figuring what to make with the blood orange. The result of my search was this blood orange curd parfait layered with a coconut flavored yogurt and crunch pistachio granola.
Citrus is one of the things I love about this time of the year. The abundance of oranges, grapefruits, and even the bewildering buddha’s hand makes for a wonderful winter. Every time I go to the market and I see the blood orange cut open, I am drawn to its deep color. There is just something about seeing the ruby red instead of the orange that is jarring and intoxicating to my senses. I often find myself buying it just for the pleasure of looking at it. The juices end up tasting just like a regular orange and work perfectly for making this curd.
One of the things I crave in recipes is simplicity. I love making simple things that look that they require more effort than they actually do. This blood orange curd and yogurt parfait is a prime example. Just thinking about blood orange curd seems like a cumbersome process. In truth, the process of making the blood orange curd is simple as long as you follow the process closely. The best recipe I have found for blood orange curd is the one by Melissa Clark of the New York Times. It is wonderfully written and produces a beautifully thick curd.
The yogurt layer and the granola layer are so simple as well. The coconut cream in the yogurt layer adds an unexpected tropical touch and adds structure to the decadence. These can be done from start to finish in 30 minutes. The Blood Orange curd and yogurt parfait would feed a crowd just as well as a small group of friends.
Poaching is one of those things that seems to put fear in the heart of many. Maybe because it sounds so fancy. Who hasn’t had anxiety about poaching an egg? Or maybe a pear? Citron Honey Tea Poached pear is one of those things that I find to be delightful in the winter.
Poaching is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It requires patience because it is not the quickest option. However, poaching is an act of gentle love because it allows flavor to be impacted while maintaining the softness of the food. When a pear is well poached, it does not fall apart. Instead, it maintains its integrity while absorbing the flavor it has been bathed in. This citron honey tea poached pea definitely captures flavor well.
When I was thinking of poaching pears this winter, I really wanted to tap into unconventional flavors like citron. Citron, also known as Buddha’s hand, is one the most mysterious fruits. It is a citrus with a juice flesh. The Buddha’s hand despite is lack of juice is one of the most perfumed fruits or flowers I have encountered. The smell on this fruit is divine. The citron is best used to infuse food.
One of the first way I ever tasted citron was via the citron honey tea that I buy from the Asian food market in a massive jar. I love the citron honey tea because I can drink it on its own merit. Or, I can also use it make other types of tea. Since citron has not juice, it lacks the sour edge of a citrus. This means when I use it in tea recipes, it mostly adds an olfactory experience to the tea drinking.
Poaching the pear in a bath of citron honey tea was like capturing winter on a plate. I loved it. Especially since I served it with a toasted slice of a pound cake I made using King Arthur Flour recipe. I added in some orange oil and zest into that recipe to add another dimension. I often toast my pound cake on the stove to give it a crunch. The plate is rounded out with a dollop of unsweetened whole milk greek yogurt. I almost feel like I could have this citron honey tea poached pear plate for breakfast.
1CupCitron Honey TeaIf you can’t find citron honey tea, you substitute with a citrus marmalade.
Fit your unpeeled pear into a smaller sized pot to test which would hold the pears snuggly and allow the fluid to cover the pears mostly.
Peel and core the pears. If you prefer, you can also cut the pears into half lengthwise.
Once you have found a good sized pot, add the citron honey tea, cinnamon, orange slices, and water. If you are using the sugar, add it in now. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until honey and sugar dissolve.
My trick for getting the poaching bath to the right temperature is turn off the heat. Once it cools a bit, I put on the heat back on to a “barely there” level, then add in the pears. You don’t want to see any signs of boiling or simmering. It should be a very gentle heating process.
After 15 minutes, start checking at regular intervals is the pears are soft yet. The pears are ready if a clean toothpick inserted goes in without pressure.
Retrieve the pears from the poaching bath.
This step is optional: Strain out the poaching fluid and put it back on the heat. Reduce the poaching tea until it coats the back of a spoon. This citron honey syrup can be used to serve the poached pears or even to sweeten beverages and oats.