The original MTNMAMA

Monday, August 8, 2016

Puff Pastry Berry Tart


It's summer and that means it is HOT in OK so..... Something creamy, cool and fresh is always welcome on the dessert menu.

I love puff pastry. It is so easy and the results are always perfect. Now....I don't actually make the puff pastry....maybe someday I will try but right now I just don't have the time or desire when Pepperidge Farm does such a good job and allows me the ability to use it and use my time to concentrate on things like the filling or topping.

To start you should place the frozen pastry on the counter is start defrosting. I would say about 15 minutes in OK. You don't want the pastry thawed just pliable enough to roll out a bit. Take one sheet out of the package to use for this tart. You can put the other sheet in a plastic bag and back in the freezer for another wonderful creation...or double the recipe and make two tarts....That's what I did!!! One for us and one to give away!!!

So get your handy baking mat, rolling pin, sheet pan with silicone mat, pastry brush and extra flour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. You are on your way!

Roll the pastry sheet to 10 by 12 inches. Then using water and the pastry brush, brush the perimeter edges and fold over about an inch. This makes a side edge to hold the filling in the baked pastry. Dock the interior with a fork.....just prick it all over ....have fun!!

Make an egg wash ( lightly beaten egg with 1 Tbsp water) and brush the entire surface of the pastry. Then sprinkle with a coarse sugar, about 2 Tbsp.

Place in preheated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. It can take up to 20 but watch carefully till the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Then quickly get it out of that hot oven....don't want to burn it!! The center may be puffed. You can take the back of a spoon and gently press the pastry down to make a perfectly smooth center. Isn't that just beautiful. Cool pastry completely before filling.

I used Pastry Cream to fill my tart. You can find many good tutorials and videos on line for your recipe. The one I used came from King Arthur Flour.

Pastry Cream


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or Vanilla Crush; or 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks


  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean. (If you're using vanilla extract or Vanilla Crush, add it at the end.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.
  3. Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.
  4. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract (if you're using it). If you're going to flavor the pastry cream with chocolate or some other flavor, this is the time to do it (see variations below).
  6. Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn't develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool.
  7. To complete, fold the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream.
  8. If you want the pastry cream to be for a pie do not add the whipped cream.

  9. This recipe works well and is enough for two tarts. I put just a little of the whipped cream into my cream pat to make it softer but still stiff enough to stay when I cut the tart!!

  1. Spread the cooled pastry cream into the cooled pastry. Top with your choice of fresh fruit. I used raspberries and blueberries. Take 1/2 cup of raspberry jam and heat in microwave for 30 second till the jam is thinner. Drizzle over the top of the tart randomly. I needed to transport the tart so I used a great aluminum pan with a clear plastic lid from the Dollar Store. Worked perfect!!!

  1. Puff Pastry Berry Tart
  2. 1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm Pastry
  3. 1 recipe of Cream Pastry (see recipe above) or pudding of your choice
  4. Fresh Fruit of your choice ( about 2 Half pints work well)
  5. 1/2 cup Raspberry Jam

Preheat oven to 425 Degree.

1. Flour a baking mat or board and place the semi-thawed puff pastry sheet in the middle

2. Roll the sheet till it measures 10x12 inches in size

2. Take a pastry brush and water and brush around all the edges of the pastry.

3. Fold edges about 1 inch into the pastry forming the ridge around the sides to hold the filling in the tart.

4. Lighty beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water and brush the entire pastry.

5. Fork or Dock the entire inside surface of the pastry.

6. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp coarse sanding or turbinado sugar.

7. Place in the preheated oven and set for 15 minutes. Watch carefully...Nobody wants a burnt tart. If the middle of the tart is puffed when done gently take the back of a spoon and push the air out of the middle. It should lay down perfectly!!

8. While the tart is baking prepare the pastry cream or you can use any filling of your choice. If you are in a pinch use a pudding mix. Nobody will tell.

9. Spread the cooled pastry tart with the filling.

10. Cover with fresh fruit.

11. Heat the raspberry jam and drizzle over the top of the tart.

Refrigerate till serving!!

Hope you enjoy this summertime treat!!


Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama


Friday, August 5, 2016

Me Oh My.....Fresh Georgia Peach Pie!!


So don't ask me why but I have become obsessed with baking the perfect pie. I want the perfect crust and filling which together will make people swoon and come back begging for more!!! YES.....I am obsessed.

For years I have used the Barefoot Contessa's pie crust. It is easy to make handles well and tastes good. Recently I began reading pie crust recipes and went back to my Julia Child's cookbook to review her advice on what makes a great pie crust.

She was very specific on these points:

1. Flour - 1 part Cake Flour to 3 parts All purpose flour

2. Shortening - I part Vegetable shortening to 3 part butter

3. Chilling - Freshly made dough MUST be chilled at least 2 hours. This allows the flour particles to absorb the liquid as well as firm the butters and relax the gluten.

4. Desert crust - add 1/4 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp sugar

5. PreBake - 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Use enough beans to support the sides. Bake until bottom is firm but soft. Remove the beans (should be placed in crust in parchment paper or foil). Prick crust again and bake a few minutes till just beginning to color.

I am sure this is all very valuable information which I am trying to incorporate into my "Perfect Crust". I looked at the Pioneer Woman's Crust, Paula Deen's Perfect Crust and the tried and true Barefoot Contessa's Perfect Pie Crust. None of them had all of Julia's requirements but they all had some of them.

The Pioneer Woman's crust had the most different ingredients because it used egg and vinegar and has to be frozen for a time. I made it just as she instructs because I remember my mother making pie crusts with egg and vinegar. I also have an old (30+ years) written copy of a Candian pie crust that was given to me by a dear friend that is very similar. So off we go with the testing.....this should be fun!!

Perfect Pie Crust

3 cups all purpose four

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening ( I only use Crisco ....but I did use Butter Flavored Crisco this time)

1 egg

5 Tbsp cold water

1 Tbsp vinegar

Combine Flour and salt.

Add in Shortening using pastry cutter. Work shortening into the flour until you have tiny pea like pebbles throughout the mixture. It takes 2-3 minutes.

Lightly Beat the egg with the fork then add to the mixture. Add cold water and vinegar. NOW mix together just until combined. Do NOT over mix.

Place half the mixture in a ziplock bag (gallon size) and use a rolling pin to flatten. Do the same with the other half. If you want you can divide this recipe into thirds for three crusts but I like a deep dish crust so I divide it into 2 halves.

Now FREEZE the dough.....yes if only for 20 minutes you must freeze it.

Then remove dough onto a floured board or surface.

Roll from center outward using enough flour to keep the crust moving. It may take a little time. Be gentle to your dough.

I roll my crust over the rolling pin to move it to the pan but you can use a large spatula if you like also.

Work the crust into the pan gently with your hands. Trim or tuck under and crimp the edges. Martha Stewart once said on her baking show that we all crimp the way our mother's taught us (at least if you are over 50). I do crimp just like my mother did!! BUT on this crust I trimmed the edges closely and made a decorative crust with cutout flowers.

I followed a recipe from a magazine that I picked up while in the checkout line at Whole Foods. They always get Me!!!

Georgia Peach Pie

3 lbs fresh peaches ( I got mine from Trader Joe's and they were from California!!! Delicious though!!!). Peel, Pitt and slice

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar (divided)

1 lemon, zest end and juiced

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp Cornstarch

2 Tbsp low-sugar Fruit pectin

1 tsp grated fresh nutmeg

1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped and reserved

Browned Butter Pecan Strueusel (recipe below)


1. In large bowl toss together peaches, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes

2. Roll dough and place into pie plate. Decorate edges with cutouts. Freeze for 30 minutes.

3. Transfer 1 cup peach mixture to a small bowl, and mash with a fork. You are making a "purée" for the filling. Strain remaining peaches through a colander into another large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup peach liquid; discard rest.

Return drained peaches to large bowl and toss with cornstarch.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small skillet whisk together reserved 1/2 cup peach liquid, pectin, nutmeg, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook over medium heat until peach in is dissolved and mixture slightly thickened about 3-4 minutes.

5. Toss together peach mixture and reserved 1 cup mashed peaches. Pour into crust. Drizzle over top with the pectin mixture. Top with Brown Butter Strueusel .

Brown Butter Struesel

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour

1/3 cup toasted pecans

2 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1. In small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns, a medium brown color and smell nutty. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, peaches, sugars, and salt. Add brown butter. Stir with wooden spoon until crumbly.

Place pie on cooking sheet and place in preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cover pie loosely with foil. Bake until golden brown and bubble 30-35 minutes more.


The crust was great....flakey and yummy however I found the dough soft and somewhat hard to work with. I will be tweaking some ingredients next time I make it. YES there is going to be more pie.

As for the pie filling I found it to be a tad bit runny----great taste but not so sure I would make this filling again. At least not exactly the way I did this time.

It was all eaten and the plate was scraped clean so it was a GOOD pie just maybe not a GREAT pie that I would turn around and do again the next day!!! Let me know what you think.....give it a try!!! After all it's Peach Season and pies are always best in season!!

I will be back with more baking, cooking and quilting soon!!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama