Sunday, August 03, 2008

Summer Treats

Company's coming! When those words are spoken in our house, it means we will be making something special. Cousins from Quebec were in town, and a dinner hosted at a sister-in-law's house. We were bringing dessert. We start off with a trip to the market in the morning. It was 12 degrees with 40 km per hour winds! Hmph! doesn't feel much like summer. Oh yeah! This is Edmonton, and the weather is..........variable.

We were on the lookout for fresh Saskatoon berries and raspberries. Some nice yellow and purple B.C. plums had already been procured the day before at the Italian Market. We would bring 2 desserts. The market never fails to amaze and inspire. We came home laden with bags of vegetables and said fruit and got to work on the treats.

When time is in short supply I fall back on quick desserts that need little fuss. I love the Italian dessert Panna Cotta because it is so easy and pairs so well with summer fruits. It literally means "cooked cream", and goes together in about 5 minutes. I have used everything from cream, to buttermilk to my favourite local Bleswold yogurt. Sweetened with sugar or honey, a touch of vanilla or liqueur and thickened with gelatin, this dessert is will never disappoint. One picture below is with Saskatoons & Raspberries, and another with a rhubarb ginger topping.(Recipe follows)

Dessert number 2 was a simple plum tart that is comprised of pastry, plums and sugar. Summer fruit tarts need a robust pastry, and I put together a dough in the food processor that is called Pasta Frolla in Italian, Pate Sucree in French, and Short Dough in English. It needs to be chilled before it is rolled, and then the fresh fruits and sugar go in. Bake it in a high temperature oven and glaze with some thinned apricot or rasperry jam for a jewel like glaze. (Recipe follows)

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