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In the face of adversity – I always retreat to the kitchen.

I love my kitchen and cooking is my favourite form of therapy.

I once met my neighbour in the grocery store and she told me I looked ashen and asked me if I was feeling okay. I’m sure I did look quite pale. I’d just driven my car into the car in front of me at a red light in broad daylight.

It’s a long story and I won’t try to explain myself here but suffice to say it wasn’t quite as straightforwardly stupid as it sounds.  But, I was at fault. And I was sobbing. And the police were called. Not one but two police cars arrived. They took one look at me and at the two cars involved – and then told the guy whose car I hit that he was crazy to call the police and was wasting their time and told me they weren’t pressing any charges (I hadn’t even realized that was a possibility) and they sent us both on our way. The younger police officer told me to go straight home. He was very sweet and kind. And quite good-looking too.

I did go straight home. Except for a quick detour into the grocery store. That’s where my neighbour found me ashen faced, in the baking aisle – stocking my cart with every conceivable thing anyone would ever want to bake with. Chocolate, raisins, pecans, currants, dates, molasses, toffee chips, brown sugar, icing sugar, honey, flour, almonds, whipping cream, butter….

I spent a very happy afternoon in the kitchen and by the time my husband arrived home – the house smelt fantastic. I met him at the door. “Wow does it smell good in here,” he said. I offered him a drink. He looked delighted. Then I told him the rest of the story.

But I don’t reserve cooking or baking just for times of duress. I cook when I’m happy too. Like when my eldest daughter recently came home for the weekend. I made this pressed-crust fruit tart to serve for dessert at Sunday brunch. It’s simple and elegant and even more importantly, delicious.

Pressed-Crust Pear and Plum Tart 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
2-3 ripe pears, washed and sliced, skins on
2 large plums, washed and sliced, skins on
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp lemon juice
whipped cream and or Greek yoghurt to garnish

Heat oven to 350 deg F. Butter a large tart tin – mine is a thing of beauty with a removable base. But use whatever you like. A large glass pie plate would work perfectly well.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until well mixed. Gradually add the flour and salt, stirring to combine. The dough will be somewhat soft. Push the dough into the buttered tart tin with floured hands.

Arrange the fruit in concentric circles or however you like on top of the dough. Press gently into the dough but don’t submerge the fruit.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden.

While the cake is in the oven, gently heat the apricot jam and lemon juice until combined. If the jam is very stiff – you may need to add 1 tbsp of water as well. When you remove the cake from the oven, pour the apricot glaze over the cake and let cool.

Serve with whipped cream and or thick Greek yoghurt.
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29 thoughts on “carry on cooking

  1. I love your tart, cooking/baking is theraputic for me in many ways. During times of stress it alleviates, gets the creative juices flowing (keeping the mind young) and it definitely elevates the mood when you bite into the deliciousness,

    1. Oh I love that you wrote that – that you find it therapeutic too. Cooking is creative – it really is – much more so than people give it credit for. And then we get to savour the fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) results of our artistry!

  2. Cooking has a way of concentrating the mind. The tart in the first picture looks beautiful, the colours of the fruit shine out giving a wonderful glow. I know it tasted as good as it looks.

    1. Oh but Maria – I made an even better version tonight. And I have to say – you can throw this tart together in 10 minutes start to finish – and then pop it in the oven with the rest of the dinner and enjoy a glass of wine while it all cooks. My favourite kind of cooking. xo

  3. Very curious about this as there isn’t a filling, as such. Or am I missing something? No, have just read through the ingredients again. Huh, liking the sound of this. And no rolling pastry. My one and only suitable to use counter is so small I dread pastry making. Anyway, I’m hoping to do a sort of frangipane/Bakewell tart tomorrow. And I’m for keeping that as simple as poss. It’ll be the first time for me to press a dough rather than rolling. Hurrah!

    Have just FB’d this and no photo of the tart would show. Darn!

    1. No filling Johnny – doesn’t need it. Kind of like strawberry shortcake I guess. But yes, no rolling. So easy! SO SWEET of you to try to FB the tart – thank you! I am always forgetting about FB and Pinterest.
      Cannot wait to see your Bakewell tart – one of my all-time favourites.

  4. This is a gorgeous tart Lindy! I’m with Johnny…no rolling pastry sounds like a must for me too. I am the type of person who would sob if I rear ended someone too! 😥
    I’m going to make your tart because I love how the fruit is not sweetened and of course the simplicity of the recipe is always a priority with me, when it comes to baking. I am really trying to venture into making lightly sweetened desserts for the family and this one is perfect. Very little sugar in the pastry and just a little jam for the glaze…love it.

    1. So happy to see you! Before you make it – I made an even better version tonight – pear, plum and fresh cranberries. Then instead of apricot jam glaze, I sprinkled a little demerara sugar on top. (Do you call that turbinado sugar in the US? It’s pure cane sugar – dark brown and quite coarse.) Anyway – it was BEAUTIFUL. I’ll do a quick post on it tomorrow – “pressed-crust tart take #2”. And yes, I really like simple, uncomplicated food without too many ingredients or too much fuss. And this crust is dead simple. 😉

      1. Oh good! Thank you for the update. 🙂 I’ll look for your post. We do have demerara sugar here. And I need a dead simple crust because I don’t like making crust! I love how you used fresh cranberries, they are so tart and I imagine it would be such a nice contrast with the pear and plum. I might just make both of your tarts!

  5. Looks lovely, Lindy…. And I think you know how much I love being in my kitchen. I totally agree about it being so therapeutic….

  6. There is something very familiar about that story. No, not the accident part, but the shopping and cooking parts. When in doubt, just retreat into the kitchen and make something…it calms the mind…at least this mind. 🙂 The tart is beautiful! I have to give it a try. xoxo, Angie.

  7. Aw. I’m sorry to read about your fender bender. Even if no one gets hurt, it still really shakes you up a bit and takes time to get over. Baking is a great way to channel the nerves. And this tart is gorgeous! I hope you all feel better. I recently made a tart like this, but it wasn’t nearly as beautiful. Simple and sweet. I love it.

    1. Thanks Amanda – so sweet of you. The accident was actually a while ago and the damage was minimal. I just found it interesting how my immediate instinct was to head into the kitchen as soon as possible! It really is a great way to focus on something positive and constructive. 😉

  8. Wow, I know cooking would have made me feel better in a situation like that, too; but I’m not sure I would have been able to make myself *start cooking* in the first place! I admire you for being able to do that and to calm yourself down while also making something delicious! 🙂

  9. I love this recipe, thank you very much for sharing, I’ll give it a try very soon, I love to bake for the family and I enjoy the taste of feeling free in the kitchen, it’s the perfect place where you can go when everything it’s going bad outside… it’s really therapeutic for me as well. I like to learn new recipe. Thanks for sharing again 😉
    have a great day
    Cristina

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