Lunchbreak: Summer berry tarts and pickled tomatoes from Marcel’s Culinary Experience

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Marcel's Culinary Experience
490 N. Main Street
Glen Ellyn
(630) 790-8500

Blue Ribbon State Fair Cooking Class
Friday, August 8
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Summer Berry Tarts

2 cups ground gingersnaps or graham crackers
1/2 cup ground pecans
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
lemon zest from 2 lemons; about 3 Tablespoons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the gingersnaps, pecans, sugar, and butter; reserve 1/2 cup. Press into a 13x9 pan, mini tart pans, or single serving jars (if using single serving jars, add about 1/4 cup of the mixture to each jar. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy and the cream cheese is completely smooth. Add eggs one at a time and blend well. Turn mixer to low and add remaining ingredients until just combined; pour or spoon evenly over crust. Top with berry filling (see below) and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 20 minutes depending on size of the vessel. Cool and chill one hour before cutting.

For the Berries

2 pints blueberries by weight
25% weight of blueberries in sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Combine blueberries, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Stir gently to combine and let the berries macerate in the refrigerate overnight or up to five days. In a heavy bottom pan, cook berries in juice over medium heat until berries “pop” and liquid becomes thick and syrupy

*Alternately, any jam may be used to top the tarts
*On weight/amount of blueberries:  Re the weight, the idea is that 2 pints (which is a volume measurement) of blueberries vary in weight according to how big they are.  The amount of sugar required depends on the weight of the blueberries.

Pickled Tomatoes

3 lbs. cherry tomatoes, hulled and pricked with a toothpick (about 8 cups)
4 cups champagne vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
5 garlic cloves, cut in quarters or half
black peppercorns
basil or herb of choice

In a pot, bring vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil; keep hot. To clean, sterilized jars, add garlic, black peppercorns, and herb of choice. Pack tomatoes in jars. Transfer the brine into a pitcher and pour over tomatoes, leaving a 1-inch space from the rim of the jar. Process jars for 15 minutes.

Yield: 3 quarts
(Recipe inspired by Chef Paul Virant)


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