Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rustic and Super Easy Jam Tart—With Homemade Jam in Breadmaker

One of my good friends sometimes invites me over for morning coffee and something yummy that she has baked.  Once she made a delicious jam tart that lingers in my memory, often in the morning while I am drinking coffee and wishing that I had a piece of jam tart to eat with it.  I searched for easy recipes and could not find anything that could just be whipped up at the last minute, with little effort.  Most pastry recipes require refrigerating the dough, which takes too much time for a last-minute decision to bake something that I want to eat soon.  So I developed my own recipe, using approximate proportions that I read in other recipes and substituting ingredients that I feel might be more wholesome and nutritious than those called for in other peoples’ recipes, and using my own techniques for simplicity. 

I happened to have some strawberry jam on hand which I recently made with my breadmaker, so I will start by telling you how to make that.  Now, with summer firmly underway, we can pick or buy fresh berries in abundance.  Quick—before they go bad in your refrigerator—make some jam!  Then use the jam for the jam tart some morning.  And be as kind to the planet as possible when procuring your ingredients.  Picking the fruit yourself, or purchasing it from a local source, is best of all.  Consider the energy used to get the fruit from the farm to your kitchen, most likely dominated by fuel required to transport it.  The closer you live to the source the better.  The fruit will taste better if it is local, too, as it is probably fresher and picked when ripe that way.  Nutrients are lost as time passes after produce is picked, so the fresher it is the better for your health.

Strawberry Jam in Breadmaker (Don’t be intimidated, as it only takes about 5 minutes of prep time!):

3 ½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely crushed with a potato masher or fork (substitute any fresh berries)

Lemon juice squeezed from ½ lemon

3 3/4 TBS powdered fruit pectin

1 cup sugar

Put crushed berries and lemon juice in bread pan and sprinkle fruit pectin over all.  Let sit 10 minutes.  Add sugar.  Program breadmaker for jam cycle and press start.  Let jam sit in breadmaker for about 15 minutes after cycle ends, then transfer into clean jars and let cool on counter before putting lids on and refrigerating.  Keeps in refrigerator for about 2 months.

Dough for Jam Tart:

1 stick (8 TBS) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cups coconut sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 pinches salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees convection bake).  Cream butter and sugar together until well-blended.  Stir in lemon zest.  Add pastry flour and salt and mix well.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  When you can form dough into a ball, put in middle of parchment paper.  Rub some flour onto a rolling pin and roll dough into roughly a 7”-8” circle on parchment paper.  Allow the dough to be thick enough so that you can fold it inward without it falling apart.  Spoon into the center of the dough circle about a jar of jam and spread it evenly towards the edge, leaving a couple of inches of dough around the edge so that you can fold the dough inward over the jam.  Using a flat spatula, fold the edges of the dough carefully towards the center, leaving jam exposed in the center.  If it breaks a little, use your fingers to carefully smooth out the dough in that area.  Bake for about a half hour, until golden brown.  Serves 8.

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