All of a sudden, I’m in charge of things. Though the official decree hasn’t come down the official chain of communication, in real world terms, I am now co-responsible for the workings of the Lama House kitchen. And since my other half is in Germany for nigh on three weeks, and three master teachers are cruising into town with their entourages next weekend, that makes now, officially, the time to put on my big-girl pants. I may or may not be currently wearing pastel-colored leggings with pictures of pine trees and the Northern Lights on them. Grown-up is a state of mind, right?
I can make an Excel spreadsheet just as well while wearing tree pictures as any fool in a two-piece suit. This is what I tell myself and this is my goal. I am writing menus, planning purchasing, connecting with my team, staying in contact with the event organizers, and devising ingenious plans for how to cook food for ten people in a kitchen that sometimes struggles to feed two. When you have an oven the size of a postage stamp that only heats on one level, things cooked in pots are your friend.
In between sending out Google drive links and peeling a crap ton of shallots, I am still making time to attend rituals, practice keeping up with prayers in Tibetan, and, ya know, make pie. We’ve had a real string of ceremonies lately, which makes for a lot of blessed snack food hanging around the center.
While the chocolate, cookies, cheese, and crackers go pretty quickly, I guess people aren’t that hot on raisin medley or melba toast. However, these same items become magical when combined appropriately with a good dose of strawberry jam and some puff pastry. There may be a small quantity of butter and sugar involved as well. And even if your ingredients aren’t blessed, I’d wager you’ll feel a good deal of benediction when you bite into this. It’s a winner.
Blessed Leftover Tart (Strawberry Raisin Crumb Tart)
3/4 cups (135 grams) raisin medley
1 cup (240 mL) black tea
1 1/4 cups (162 grams) white bread crumbs
2 tablespoons (20 grams) chopped peanuts
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (510 grams) strawberry jam
1 circle puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F (180˚ C). Line a nine-inch tart pan with parchment paper. Roll the puff pastry to fit the tart pan. Poke with a fork, line with parchment paper and weigh down with dry rice or pie weights. Bake ten minutes. Remove rice and parchment and continue baking another ten o fifteen minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
Soak the raisins in the hot tea to hydrate them. Set aside. Stir together the bread crumbs, sugar, peanuts, and butter. Spread the jam into the pastry crust. Drain the excess liquid from the raisins. Add the drained raisins with the crumb mixture and toss the combine. Spread the crumb mixture over the jam. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for thirty minutes. If the crust and/or crumbs brown too quickly, top with foil and continue baking for the full thirty minutes. This gives the jam time to set and keeps the tart from being too jiggly. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing to prevent jam slidage.