I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when friends from home tell me they read my blog regularly or that they tried one of my recipes and it is now a household staple. For some reason I never consider that people from back home read my blog. It makes my day each and every time. So when my best friend Missy (I will never formally call you Melissa, no matter what your family says!) threw me a challenge, I was positively giddy.
Just before Easter, Missy asked me to write-up a dessert recipe and she would try to make it and report back. This was exciting for so many reasons. The first being I was able to create something for my best friend. The second reason is, I may have actually inspired her to cook! Missy is famous for gourmet delights such as cheese rice (literally white rice with a Kraft single melted on top…not so bad actually), ranch scrambled eggs (scrambled eggs with Hidden Valley Ranch cooked in…also surprisingly good) and her all time #1 dish…Kraft Mac and Cheese. So you can see where my delight came in. Missy is not a food blogger or a foodie. As a matter of fact, with the exception of cheese, I don’t even think she really likes food. It is more an eat to live for Missy…I like that about her!
I will now pass you off to Missy for her telling of the rest of the story….
I am horrible in the kitchen. I don’t enjoy grocery shopping, I dread it every week. Nothing about cooking comes easy to me. Instead of being a finely tuned orchestra, mixing ingredients together for a beautiful meal, I look like a roller derby game; ingredients flying everywhere, way to many utensils used, a little blood sometimes makes an appearance and in the end someone wins, but usually it’s not me.
It’s not to say that I can’t make things, I can make an amazing breakfast and my Christmas orange drop cookies are to die for, but for some reason I’ve never been able to get comfortable in the kitchen. Everyone in my family is wonderful cooks, they can whip up gourmet meals in an hours notice. Even my husband (which doesn’t drive me nuts…no not at all)! Part of it is probably because I really could care less about eating. I’ve never been that person who see something and my mouth waters or has to try something that they see on tv. Instead, I eat because I’m hungry, that’s it. It doesn’t help that I have a pretty limited palate.
But now I have a family, a beautiful 15 month old daughter, another on the way, and a husband who has had way too many macaroni and cheese dinners because it’s the only dish that I can do without reading the directions. I don’t want my daughters to grow up hating cooking like I do, I’d like for them to provide their families with something other than cheese, macaroni and cheese, cheese rice…do you see a pattern here? So, when my mother told me I was in charge of dessert for Easter, instead of doing my usual Kraft Food and Family No-Bake cheesecake something dessert, I thought…I really should try to do something that requires some kind of heat. That’s where my best friend Renee came in….I love reading her blog and I thought I wonder if I could ever make any of those things…so I offered her a challenge….come up with a dessert and I will duplicate it and see how easy it is for me to make.
Now, of course, being as palate challenged as I am…I had a few rules, no cooked fruit (as in any form of hot pie that has warm, gooey fruit in a syrup…it makes me want to hurl, pretty much nothing hot and I’m not a huge fan of nuts. Not a lot to work with, oh and it had to be fruit based….so I gave her lemons and blueberries. Luckily I eased up on some of my rules and we ended up with BAR HARBOR STYLE LEMON BLUEBERRY TART.
Now, my initial reaction when I saw the recipe was #1 it has more than 5 ingredients and #2 you want me to make my own dough….Have you lost your mind?! But I got over it and eventually realized that I had the majority of the ingredients already, so it really wouldn’t be that bad.
Now, I had every intention of making the dough, but being that I couldn’t make it until after my daughter went to bed, and being that I am 5 months pregnant, having no energy is an understatement…these days I sap the energy from everyone else in the room, and the fact that I have never made dough before and my local Publix is closed on Easter if there is a disaster, I vetoed the make your own dough and bought some pre-made Publix dough. (For those of you who have never heard of Publix or have not had the privilege to shop there, I am terribly sorry for your loss…I LOVE that grocery store, it’s the only thing people miss when they move out of Florida, especially now that bald eagle is running us into the ground…but that’s a totally different blog).
So rolling out the pre-made dough…piece of cake. Next, I tackled the filling…here is where disaster struck. When I wrote out my grocery list I wrote egg whites, not egg yolks. So, I bought a carton of egg white to make things easier, imagine my horror when I read 3 egg yolks!!! Luckily, I had 3 and only 3 eggs in the fridge. Of course, trying to separate the egg yolks from the whites almost gave me a heart attack so I had to call Brad (the wonderfully food deprived husband) to separate them for me. Well, unfortunately only 2 survived and then we were sitting there wondering…does it really matter if it’s 2 egg yolks instead of 3? I texted Renee and called my mother and I got the same response from both of them, “ummmm not sure if it will make a difference”. So, what does anyone who’s horrible in the kitchen do? I just threw in 1 egg white and said the hell with it, Walmart’s open on Easter right? Whisking the filling was easy and in my ever-growing confidence with my executive decision to add an egg white I decided to also add lemon juice to the filling…because why wouldn’t I change the recipe….I figure if the ship is going down I’ll do it with a bang!
After the filling was made, we pounded out the walnuts to make them smaller, added the filling, said a prayer and put in the oven.
The best part of making the pie….my husband must have felt bad for me, or was sick of me complaining that I was pregnant and my back hurt and it was all his fault because he did this to me….so he did the dishes!!!!
33 minutes later the pie came out and it looked ok…it had risen (which I was very excited about because of the last-minute egg white substitution). Unfortunately, we couldn’t try it because we didn’t think it would look good on the Easter table with a piece missing, so we had to sleep on it.
Easter day I heated it for 10 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees and then served it with vanilla ice cream. The results were mixed; the 35 and under crew felt that it was a little too tart with the extra lemon juice I added. The 60 and over crew loved it and felt there wasn’t too much lemon at all. The vanilla ice cream was a great addition and helped reduce some of the tartness for me. The one thing everyone unanimously loved…the pie crust…go figure…I couldn’t lie and say that I made it!
Overall, it was a pleasant experience for me. I now know that I am not experienced enough to meddle with the recipe, I need to follow it to the tee, but I also know that I am capable of stepping outside of my comfort zone. So I know have until September to meddle with some new recipes, and then I’ll have to wait another 15 months until daughter # 2 is old enough to let me cook again!
A special thank you to Missy for making my day with her challenge and blog post. If the rest of you would like to try the ORIGINAL recipe I sent Missy (no extra lemon juice added…no judgement Miss!) Here is the recipe!
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter (cold, cut into pieces)
- 6 tablespoons sour cream (or greek yogurt)
- 2/3 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 pint fresh blueberries (washed)
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest (use a grater to get the yellow peel-no white- off the lemon, that is the zest)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Heat the oven to 350°
- Place blueberries in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar and the lemon juice, put aside
- Place flour in a bowl, stand mixer, or food processor.
- Chop cold butter into pieces and mix into the flour until you have bits of four coated butter the size of small peas. Don’t over mix.
- Blend in sour cream and mix just until the dough comes together loosely
- Gather the ball of dough together in your hands gently
- Roll dough ball on a floured board to a circle. Check it against your tart pan or pie pan to make sure it is big enough
- Lay the dough into the 9″ tart or pie pan. Fix any tears by patting the dough into shape
- Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and against the sides
- In a medium bowl whisk eggs and sour cream and milk
- Add flour, 3 T sugar, cinnamon and zest and whisk to combine
- Scatter the blueberries (drained) and nuts evenly in the bottom of the crust
- Pour the sour cream/egg mixture over berries & nuts
- Bake for about 30 minutes
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the tart pan placed on a rack