I traveled to the South this year for the first time. What a completely different experience to my life in Los Angeles. It was a great experience, connecting with people, that on TV are called ordinary Americans, and really understanding more about the roots of this great country we live in.
While attending a few events in Tennessee and Georgia, I repeatedly saw a deep, passionate love for the United States, that is completely different from what we see in the big cities. Not more, or less, but completely different. Almost all homes, stores and restaurants, regardless of area or type, proudly hung the American flag high on their front door. During a concert, I watched people stand proudly and sing from the bottom of their hearts the national anthem. At historic places, I discovered the strength and wisdom the first settlers brought with them, and instilled some of the tolerant traits we so proudly uphold today.
So this year, I will honor Independence day in a very special way. I hope you have a fantastic Independence day, whether you are you in the States with loved ones, or overseas ensuring we can continue enjoying the Freedom this country offers.
Before I forget-here’s a yummy dessert recipe I found by Martha Stewart:
2 recipes Pate Sucree Pate Sucree
Creme Fraiche Filling
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup apricot jam, for glazing blueberries
1/2 cup raspberry jam, for glazing raspberries
2 tablespoons water
2 pints red raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 pint blueberries, picked over
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a disc of pate sucree 1/8 inch thick to fit a 3 3/4-by-13 1/4-inch fluted, rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Brush off excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Carefully transfer dough to tart pan, tuck dough into the edges, gently pressing along sides, and allow excess dough to overhang the edges. Trim the dough by running your rolling pin over the dough against the edges. Gently shape the edges by pressing the length of your forefinger against each flute along the sides. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork. Repeat with remaining disc of dough. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chilled tart shells from refrigerator, and line each with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs the edges by at least 2 inches. Fill parchment with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until just starting to color, about 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights from tart shells, and return tart shells to oven. Continue baking until tart bottom is golden, about 20 minutes more. Transfer tart shells to a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely. Carefully remove tart shells from pan.
In a small bowl in the microwave or set over a pan of simmering water, heat chocolate until it is just melted, about 1 1/2 minutes; stir until smooth. Using the back of a spoon, line each tart shell with chocolate. Refrigerate to set, at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat apricot and raspberry jams in two separate saucepans with about 1 tablespoon water in each; strain into separate small bowls.
Make top tart: Remove one lined tart shell from refrigerator and spread 1/3 of the creme fraiche filling over the bottom. Arrange 3 rows of unglazed raspberries 2/3 the length of the tart, leaving space between each row and at the top and bottom edges for 4 more rows. Dust with confectioners’ sugar until raspberries are completely coated. Toss blueberries in a bowl with strained apricot jam. Fill left third of tart shell with a layer of glazed blueberries arranged snugly in rows; top with another layer of blueberries. Toss half the remaining raspberries with the strained raspberry jam, and carefully fill empty rows with some of the glazed raspberries, rinsing your hands as needed.
Make bottom tart: Remove remaining tart shell from refrigerator, and spread a third of the creme fraiche filling over the bottom. Arrange 3 rows of remaining unglazed raspberries, starting at the top edge and leaving space between each and at the bottom edge for 4 more rows. Dust with confectioners’ sugar until raspberries are completely coated. Fill empty rows with remaining glazed raspberries.
Arrange tarts on a large board or tray to resemble the flag, and serve with remaining creme fraiche filling on the side. Finished tarts will hold at room temperature for several hours.
Enjoy with a nice warm cup of tea.
Happy Independence Day!