Friday, March 27, 2009

Food Friday

Okay, confession time.

I'm a little... um... odd, when it comes to baking and serving guests. Just a little.

In the last weeks of my pregnancy with Norah, I had that time-honoured nesting instinct kick in. But where many women channel that energy into a good deep-clean of their house, or stocking their freezer with pasta sauces and frozen casseroles, my energies went into something a little less practical.

You guessed it. Baking.

By the time I'd finished, my freezer was packed with cookies. Sure, there were some meal-related things in there, but those were mostly prepared by Francis and my mother. My contribution was laden with sugar and real butter. I won't bother to tell you exactly how many cookies and squares I put in there, but let's just say I was well into triple digits...

And why did I feel the need to do this, you ask? Follow, if you can, my twisted, hormonal logic:
"When the baby is born, people are going to want to come over and visit to meet him/her. If people come over, I have to serve them something. I'm not okay with putting out a plate of Mr. Christie's finest. But I'm also not likely to have the energy to bake with a newborn to look after. Therefore, I should bake now."

As if people would care what I put out, or even if I put out anything! But one cannot rationalize with a woman preparing to give birth. It's just not possible.

I still like to serve fresh, homemade baked goods when people come over, but I don't always have a lot of energy or a lot of notice. So I've come up with a few things that I can make in a hurry, with a few simple things that I can have on-hand in my freezer at all times. Here's the first:

Berry Galette*
*A "galette" is really just a free-form tart. It just sounds fancier!

You will need these things from your freezer:
Ready-made pastry. Makes everything easier! (Confession #2: I've never made pastry from scratch. Never ever.) Just let it come to room temperature (only takes about 15 minutes) before you try to handle it. By the way, try to get the "deep dish" variety. It just works better.

Of course you can substitute any kind of frozen fruit here, it just so happens that my favourite is the mixed berries. And don't be afraid to buy the no-name version - I'm not hugely brand-loyal when it comes to frozen fruit.

The Cool Whip, of course, can be considered optional. But I like to garnish, so for me it's mandatory. Plus - it's pretty yummy.

Now you just need a few standard things from your fridge/pantry:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp unsalted butter (margarine is fine too, if that's what you have)

Mix the first 4 ingredients with 3 cups of berries. Take the pastry out of the aluminum pie plate, and place it, more or less flattened-out, in the middle of a cookie sheet.Pile the berry mixture in the middle of the pastry, and dot with the butter/margarine. Now comes the fun part! Fold the pastry over the berries, overlapping the folds and leaving the berries visible in the centre. (Optional: you can brush the pastry a mixture of an egg whisked with 2 tbsp of water to help with the browning). Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 375, until golden brown. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into it (this helps it to thicken).

Trust me, it tastes as yummy as it looks!

If you choose to skip the Cool Whip, you can always dust the galette with a little icing sugar. It's also very tasty if you swap the Cool Whip for vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. (My problem is that ice cream isn't as likely to survive in my freezer!)

Try it out. You won't be disappointed!

*Next week: Chocolate Trifle, also with simple things from your freezer!


Helen E.M. Wright said...

It makes total sense!

Here's my easy stand by...

melt together;
1 - 6oz choclate chips
1 - 6oz butterscotch chips
1/2 c of butter
1/2 c of peanut butter
1 Tbsp of shortening

let cool then add;
1 bag of marshmallows (either white or coloured, I like the taste of the coloured ones)

Mix it all up and then put in pan of your choice for thickness. Keep refrigerated.

Jenna said...

I really shouldn't read Food Fridays at nighttime... when I'm hungry... and SATURDAY is grocery day. All I have is this evening's pancakes to snack on.

I'm glad to hear you don't make pastry form scratch either! Neither does Bakerella and she is FAMOUS :)

The Comeau Family said...

I couldn't ever make any fruit dessert without cinnamon! Yay for cinnamon. :)

"But one cannot rationalize with a woman preparing to give birth. It's just not possible." How true (and funny) is that?

I really like your idea of baking goodies before birth. I was baking dinners up until the evening before Damien's birth (husband helped that night), but I always wanted to throw in some desserts. Never got around to it. It would have been nice! A wife has to meet the needs of her--err, I mean, her HUSBAND'S--sweet tooth, right? ;) Next time I'm going to get some goodies in there.

Julie Culshaw said...

Every time you post about your baking, I feel this need to bake. The result are some yummy cookies made with real butter (daughters Rebecca and Elena have convinced me to use butter rather than margarine, at least for baking). Now to freeze them before I eat too many.