Categories
Dessert

Mini pineapple desserts are a true work of ‘tart’

Pineapple Tartlets
Pineapple tartlets can be made with a cupcake tin and feature a delicious, light pineapple flavor that is perfect for summer.

No matter how many kitchen gadgets I get, I always seem to need one more.

We were invited to a barbecue recently, and I decided to bring something summer-y, settling on making pineapple tartlets.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a tart pan, let alone any tartlet pans, but I do have cupcake tins, and it turns out that if you have that and a large cookie cutter, you can make tartlets, too.

I actually combined recipes from two different blogs for this recipe. I use the tartlet shell recipe from “A Baking Journey.” You can find it at https://www.abakingjourney.com/tartlet-shells/. I used the filling recipe from “Hawaii Travel with Kids.” You can find that original post at https://hawaiitravelwithkids.com/hawaiian-recipes-pineapple-tarts/.

Pineapple Tartlets
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Pineapple Tartlets

Pineapple tartlets can be made with a cupcake tin and feature a delicious, light pineapple flavor that is perfect for summer.
Course Dessert
Keyword coconut, pastry, pineapple, tartlet, whipped cream

Ingredients

Shell Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter cold
  • 2 eggs

Filling Ingredients

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 15.25 ounces pineapple tidbits in juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons shredded coconut

Instructions

  • For the shells, add the dry ingredients to a food processor (or just use a bowl and a pastry cutter or two forks) and pulse to mix. Cut the butter into small cubes and incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles small crumbles. Try to handle the butter as little as possible—colder is better.
  • Now incorporate the eggs until the mixture is a smooth dough. Dump it onto your countertop and knead the dough just enough to make sure it’s smooth. Spilt the dough into two, even pieces, and place each ball of dough between two large pieces of parchment paper and roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thick. Leave the dough between the pieces of parchment and place them on trays in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut large circles out of the dough with a cookie cutter. (Mine was about four inches in diameter, and if you have one with pretty edges, use that.) Place each circle into the wells of a cupcake tin, pressing down so the dough goes evenly up the sides of each and there are no air bubbles underneath.
  • Poke the bottom of each pastry with a fork and then place the cupcake tins in the refrigerator for another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake for 10 minutes or until the shells are starting to turn golden brown.
  • While the shells bake, mix the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream and seven tablespoons of the pineapple juice from the can.
  • Dice about two dozen of the tidbits and set aside.
  • Carefully pour the filling into the prepared shells, being careful not to fill them to the top or overflow them (they will stick in the cupcake tin if they overflow). Add a few pieces of pineapple to each tart.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 375, and bake the tarts for seven minutes.
  • Remove the tarts from the oven and let them cool completely.
  • While they cool, place the shredded coconut in a small pan over medium heat, stirring often, for about three minutes or until much of the coconut is golden brown. Remove it from the heat.
  • When the tarts are cooled, remove them from the cupcake tin and top them with whipped cream, toasted coconut and a few more pieces of pineapple. Serve.

These were literally gone before the meat was done cooking and got rave reviews. If you’re traveling with these, I do recommend waiting until you reach your destination to add the whipped cream and coconut. Mine fell a bit in transit.

And it was nice to be able to create something that looked fancy even though I lack the fancy equipment. I’ll probably invest in a full-size tart pan at some point, but for now, I have it all under control.

This piece first appeared in print on June 10, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Salad Side Dish

Recipe traditions can provide a ‘berry’ Christmas

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.

This is the first year of major holidays our family will celebrate without my maternal grandparents. Thanksgiving was a tough transition to the new normal, and I know Christmas will be even more difficult.

When my paternal grandmother passed away several years ago, I began taking solace in using her pie pans every holiday season. Bringing them out of my cupboard always makes me feel close to her.

I employed the same strategy this Thanksgiving, baking pies in her pans, and then pulling out the handwritten recipe for cranberry sauce I asked my maternal grandma for only a year before.

In typical Grandma fashion, there were no measurements—although, to her credit, she wrote it down for me from memory while we sat chatting after dinner—but as I tentatively walked the aisles of my grocery store, wondering if I’d be able to decipher what she meant by a “tuna-sized” can of crushed pineapple, I discovered that her instructions were perfect.

She had given me just what I needed to recreate the cranberry sauce that graced her Thanksgiving and Christmas tables alike throughout my childhood.

So I wanted to share it with you this week. I added the measurements for the ingredients now that I have them figured out.

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Lola’s Cranberry Sauce

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.
Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword Christmas, cranberry, pineapple, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

  • 6- ounce package cherry gelatin
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 14 ounces jellied cranberry
  • 1 cup diced celery

Instructions

  • Prepare the cherry gelatin according to package instructions. Once it is set up, proceed with the next step.
  • Drain the crushed pineapple well.
  • In a serving bowl, stir together all the ingredients. (It’s kind of fun to mess up a whole batch of perfectly set gelatin.)
  • Once everything is well-combined, serve or refrigerate covered overnight.

This has always been one of my favorite side dishes at our family get togethers. It’s certainly nothing fancy, and I don’t think it would win any culinary awards, unlike many of my grandma’s other recipes, but it tastes like the holidays to me.

My favorite way to eat it growing up (and I confess I may still employ this strategy), was to put a spoonful into the middle of a dinner roll and enjoy it like jelly.

I will warn you that the gelatin and jellied cranberry break down pretty quickly if you leave this sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, so it’s best to either stir it up the same day you plan to enjoy it or the night before.

I chopped my celery and mixed up the gelatin the night before so it was simple to throw together right before our meal.

And if you get some especially green celery, you’ll get perfect Christmas colors to add to the holiday table.

I’m still working on perfecting recipes from both of my grandmothers without the benefit of their help these days. It always makes me feel connected to them, even if I’m not always the best at recreating each dish.

Celebrating the holidays without loved ones is tough, but just like my grandma’s handwritten notes for cranberry sauce, the people we’ve lost often give us just what we need to keep going—whether we realize it or not.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 12, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Beverage

You’ll pine for this fresh summer treat

Agua de piña, or pineapple water, is a traditional Mexican drink that helps to beat the heat this time of year.

Last week, we walked into one of our favorite restaurants in Hutchinson, a little hole-in-the-wall called El Rodeo that serves up tons of amazing Mexican food.

I have explored all over their menu, and I have yet to find something I didn’t like. I’m especially a sucker for their chorizo and potato fried tacos, which are crispy and perfectly seasoned. My mouth is watering just thinking about them right now.

This visit, my eye was drawn to a large container of pretty yellow liquid sitting next to the ever-present and always-tempting container of horchata (now there’s a recipe I need to try at home, too).

“Pineapple water,” I was told when wondering what it was.

I immediately ordered a big glass, and I was not even slightly disappointed, so of course, I researched pineapple water, or agua de piña.

An article by Gilda Valdez Carbonaro explains that aguas frescas (fresh waters) are popular in Mexico from spring through early fall and are made with a variety of fruits, seeds and other fresh produce (horchata, a rice-based drink, is considered an agua fresca, too).

If you’re not familiar, don’t think of it as a smoothie or as just a normal fruit juice. It’s in a league of its own, and it’s amazing.

The recipe I decided to use was from Douglas Cullen on the blog “Mexican Food Journal.” I changed nothing about this recipe, because it was literally three ingredients—and it was awesome. You can find his original post at https://mexicanfoodjournal.com/pineapple-water/amp/.

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Agua de Piña

Agua de piña, or pineapple water, is a traditional Mexican drink that helps to beat the heat this time of year.
Course Beverage
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword agua de fruta, pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe fresh pineapple
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

  • You will want to make this in two batches, because it will overflow your blender otherwise.
  • Begin by cutting your pineapple into chunks. The best way to slice a pineapple, in my experience, is to cut the top and bottom off of it. Then cut it into quarters. Slice out the little bit of core on the edge of each quarter. Then slice your knife down through the fruit but not through the skin. Start by slicing it in half lengthwise and then do the same going the other direction, cutting the fruit into about one-inch chunks.
  • Now, carefully run your knife between the fruit and the skin, and it should easily come off in perfect-sized chunks. If any of the green bits come away with the fruit, trim it off.
  • Combine half of the pineapple, water and sugar in a blender and blend until everything is smooth. Repeat with the second half.
  • Pour the mixture into a pitcher or jug through a fine strainer (I had to keep jostling the contents of mine, because it was getting clogged up as it strained).
  • Serve at room temperature or out of the fridge. No ice needed.

This is an extremely satisfying drink, and while there is added sugar, it doesn’t hold a candle to drinking a pop, a glass of Kool-aid or even a lot of fruit juices you can buy.

As a side note, if you’re nervous about buying fresh pineapple, the goal is to find one that gives just a little when you press on it, and the best rule about ripe pineapple is that the better it smells, the riper it is.

I was pretty sad when the last glass of agua de piña left our fridge last week, and I suspect there may be a couple more batches in our future this summer.

It also pairs great with a couple fried chorizo and potato tacos, which come to think of it, will likely be in my future as well.

This piece first appeared in print on June 20, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.