Happy Holidays to all!
The crows have been very active. This happens around now and I don't know why, but it is welcome. I need to track an ornithologist down one of these days, but there are so many other questions that need to be answered.
Get out and walk with nature a bit over the holidays. I guarantee it will beat any television you can find.
Last night I made a simple sour cherry tart with some excellent canned pie cherries from Oregon Fruit Products. The tart was the simple shortbread recipe presented here recently:
Shortbread Pastry Crust
130 grams all purpose flour
35 grams powdered sugar
a pinch of fine sea salt (too small for my scale - I’m guessing about 1/8tsp). Note that iodized salt picks up a strange flavor when baking, so I use a fine grain un-iodized sea salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter - about 115 grams
° heat oven to 425°F with the rack in a center position
° butter or lightly spray with a nonstick neutral vegetable oil cooking spray an 8” tart pan with a removable bottom. 9” would probably work too.
° cut the butter into chunks and put all of the ingredients in a food processor
° pulse the food processor until the pastry starts to form into pea sized clumps - about 30 seconds for me. don’t let it grow into larger pieces if you can.
° press the dough into the pan and pat as evenly as you can
° pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing up too much during baking.
° Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes - this is a really neat trick that prevents the crust from shrinking when it bakes.
° Bake until the crust is golden brown - about 15 minutes for me. Cool on a wire rack. You can cover the crust and store it for a day in the refrigerator f you want.
For the filling I just made a simple tart cherry filling. There are many variations, but this was quick:
Tart Cherry Filling
1 can part pie cherries - approximately 15 ounces - drain cherries and reserve the juice
100 grams granulated white sugar
15 grams cornstarch
1/2 tsp almond extract
° Cook cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens - about ten minutes
° Remove from heat, add cherries and almond extract. Cool to room temperature or below
When the tart and cherries are at room temperature sprinkle about 30 grams of finely crushed almonds on the tart and pour in the cherry mixture.
This is fantastic with ice cream. I made a rich homemade vanilla with tahitian vanilla beans. I've had some incredible cherry pies with chocolate ice cream too - so go ahead Nancy.
1 Kepler worked this out - an amazing piece of thinking
2 You can easily derive the relation v = sqrt[G*M*(2/r - 1/a)] . Here G is the gravitational constant, M is the Sun's mass, r is the Earth's distance from the Sun and a is our semi-major axis - about 1.496*1011meters. At perihelion our distance is a(1-e) and at aphelion it is a(1+e).