Imagine this: a buttery, graham-like crust almost overflowing with smooth, rich, creamy filling, studded here and there with plump, sweet raisins and infused throughout with the heady fragrance of cinnamon and nutmeg. Top it all off with some coconut whipped cream, and what you’ve got is the perfect dessert for–December? What the heck am I doing baking a wintery pie in July, for goodness sakes?
Allow me to explain. You see, there’s a perfectly good reason why I found myself wandering into tart territory on this seventh month of the year, and it involves bunnies. Dust bunnies, that is.
[The HH’s preferred way to eat the pie–as an accessory to whipped cream.]
My tendency when cleaning the house (okay, if I’m being honest, that phrase should read, “My tendency when I used to clean the house. . .” . You see, ever since the heinous candida reared its ugly spores, I’ve been easily fatigued, unable to concentrate, etc. and just haven’t had the energy to clean. Okay, if I’m being really honest, I wasn’t the greatest house-cleaner even before the candida appeared. I mean, who wants to spend their days dusting and Swiffering when it’s 28C (82F) and sunny outdoors? Okay, if I am being ONE HUNDRED PERCENT honest, who feels like cleaning at any time of the year? Because, basically, I’m just really lazy.)
Okay, so, back to the bunnies: when they threatened to seize control of the house the other day, I decided to start cleaning (I did consider training Chaser to crawl under the bed on her belly, military-style, so I could pick the dust tumbleweeds off her fur once she emerged, but for some reason she wouldn’t go for it). Now, everyone has their own unique style of cleaning; mine would be classified as “distracted.” My well-intentioned disinfecting frenzy might go something like this:
Scene: Kitchen. Ricki dons rubber gloves, fills sink with soapy water and wrings out a cloth. She begins to wipe the counters.
Ricki: La dee da. . . la da da da. . . Hmmm. . . [cloth stops before a pile of papers on the counter.] Oh, my, what are these? [riffles through the pile]: Ah, yes, the bills I opened yesterday and meant to take upstairs to the office. Well, I may as well clear the counter and take them now. [Removes gloves, grabs pile of bills and heads upstairs.]
Upstairs. Office. [Ricki heads to desk and places pile of bills on top of existing pile of even older bills. ]
Ricki: Oh, geez, these are nearing their due dates. Better pay up. [goes online and pays all the bills. Glancing down at desktop:] Ooh, look at this, that’s where I left that pair of black earrings. Gee, I love these earrings; I should really wear them more often. Better put them away so I don’t forget about them. [Picks up earrings and heads to bedroom].
Bedroom. [Placing earrings in box]: Hmmm. . . I sure do love those pearl earrings the HH gave me a few years back as well. . . hey, look, here’s that funky pair I love to wear in the summer! Love those, too. . . . [begins to pull out various pairs of earrings and examine them.]
[Twenty five minutes later. . . ]
Ricki: Okay, now, time to get busy! Let’s fold some of this laundry that’s been here since yesterday. . . [pulls T-shirt from laundry basket, folds it and places in dresser drawer.]
[Glancing at framed photo on dresser]: Aw, look at that photo of Mom at her wedding. . . I’ve always loved that photo. . . hmm, let’s just see. .. . [walks back to office and pulls photo album from bookcase] Ah, ha ha, what a great pic of the HH and me at that first party we went to together! Was that really twelve years ago?? Was I really that much slimmer then? Did the HH really have that much more hair then? Oh—tee hee giggle giggle just look at that pic of Elsie as a pup! Oh, she was just the cutest thing. . . ”
[One hour and seven minutes later. Ricki’s legs are cramped from sitting cross-legged on the floor leafing through photo albums. The house is still a mess.] Oh my gosh! It’s almost dinnertime! Where do the days go–??
Well, you get the idea. I suppose it’s true what they say: the course of true lave never did run smooth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
As in cleaning, so in blogging, it seems. Which leads me to raisin tart.
I have saved something like 200 recipes from other blogs, all of which I definitely intend to try. In fact, some have been on my computer since 2007. I know I will eventually make Andrea’s Hot and Sour Soup, Happy Herbivore’s Cajun Chickpea Cakes, Ashley’s Lemon Miso Tofu & Eggplant, Johanna’s vegetarian Haggis, and approximately 196 other recipes I’ve saved. Yet somehow, the allure of novelty can wrench me away from my predetermined plan, just as when I’m “cleaning.”
A few days ago, I sat leafing through an old cookbook I’ve had since the 1980s (I must have been cleaning the kitchen at the time). The American Country Inn and Bed and Breakfast Cookbook (Part II) was a gift from the CFO when I moved into my first apartment as a single professional gal! I hadn’t even glanced at the book for years, but for some reason, that day I happened upon a very fetching Sour Cream and Raisin Pie.
Now, you may think that Raisin Pie and summer–much like Madonna and Guy, red wine and seafood, Sarah Palin and public office, or a gas leak and cigarettes–is not the most auspicious pairing. And yet, something about that pie called to me, and I had to capitulate. Besides, the fact that the original recipe contained dairy sour cream, two eggs white sugar and massive amounts of butter was like dangling a stick in front of Chaser–I was immediately compelled to seize the opportunity (though, unlike our Doodle Girl, I chose not to use my teeth).
“Mum, you’re wrong! It’s not that I am compelled to seize that stick. It’s that I’m exerting my canine free will and deliberately grabbing that stick. Oh, and about helping you out with those dust bunnies under the bed? You know, I might consider it, but couldn’t you at least sweeten the deal some peanut butter or a biscuit on the other end?”
So I began to play with the original, and came up with this.
[My preferred way to eat the pie, in its naked glory.]
The tart is, indeed, very rich and sour-creamy. I opted to use Celine’s recently-posted graham-like crust (which I discovered the other day while I was dusting the office), and the combination of slightly crumbly, slightly shortbready crust with the velvety smooth filling is a perfect marriage of textures and flavors. The HH declared the dessert reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but I thought it was more like a lightly spiced cheesecake. Either way, it didn’t last long; I’ll definitely be making this again in the fall.
Another Winner, and Another Giveaway!
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Sour Cream Raisin Tart (or Pie)
A lovely dessert for any celebration, any season of the year. I preferred the tart on its own, but the HH loved this with a big dollop of whipped cream.
1 recipe vegan sour cream (or use 1-1/2 cups or 360 ml. or your favorite sour cream)–I used this recipe
1 cup (180 g) Sucanat (or, if you prefer a cream-colored filling, use organic sugar)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) light spelt flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) cinnamon
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (140 g) raisins
1 unbaked 9 inch (22.5 cm) pie shell (I used this recipe, with coconut oil instead of margarine)
Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line a 9 inch (22.5 cm) pie plate or tart pan with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray (I used a tart pan with a removable bottom). If making the crust from scratch, place the unbaked pie crust in the pan and bake for 15 minutes, until the crust begins to dry on top. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, make the filling: place the sour cream, Sucanat, flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to combine well. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes, then whisk again, ensuring that the Sucanat has dissolved. (Alternately, you can blend the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth). Stir in the raisins.
Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until the top of the filling appears dry and the edges begin to puff up. (The filling should barely jiggle when you shake the pan.) Allow to cool to room temperature in the pan, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. Slice and top with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 4 days.
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