Sunday, April 17, 2016

Recipe Creation on Theme!

I love a theme.  Have I mentioned this?  It's serious in all areas but especially when it comes to food!
A theme I love to tackle goes along with my other passion, theatre. Each show I do inspires a themed dessert creation.  For example, I made red velvet cupcakes with grey icing for Steel Magnolias.
The most recent treat...

The Four Season's Tart

The show was, Wake Up, Brother Bear!  This is a show designed 1-6 year olds and invites the children on to the stage to help tell the story of the four seasons!  Thus the need for a tart for all seasons!  The seasons are as follows:

Winter - Ginger Bread Crust
Fall - Pumpkin Spice Filling
Spring - Figs
Summer - Honey

I also made a pepita brittle for the top to add a little texture

I am really proud of this one because I had the thought, I put together the recipe and it all worked out! I am also working on upping my food photo game and the photos for this tart are my favorite so far. Shout out to Georgie +In it 4 the Long Run for the photo advice and inspiration!
Honey Drizzle
Recipe for the Four Seasons Tart


1 cup pumpkin puree
3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 cardamom pods, removed after filling is cooked 
pinch sea salt
1 can coconut milk, full fat
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10-12 dried mission figs
Mint (optional, nothing to do with flavor...just tart vanity)
1 box your favorite ginger cookies, I used ginger snaps but really any crispy and gingery cookie would work
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1 stick butter, melted

Pepita Brittle:
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup sugar

For the crust: pulse the ginger cookies and spices in a food processor.  You want these to be finely ground.  Once you have the desired consistency, add the melted butter and process until the butter is well incorporated.  Press the mixture into a tart pan and put in the refrigerator to set.
For the filling:
In a medium saucepan, whisk the dry ingredients together.  Whisk in the pumpkin and place pan over medium high heat.  Bring the mixture to a low boil and then whisk in the coconut milk (make sure the coconut milk is well mixed before adding it to the pan).  Lower the heat to medium low and cook a few more minutes until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Place the filling in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Make sure the plastic is directly on top of the mixture so it doesn't get a film at the top.Allow to chill for a few hours or over night.  Once the mixture is chilled, add it to the prepared tart shell.  
For the brittle: Place peptias and sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook together over medium heat until the sugar melts and begins to turn a light caramel color.  Allow the mixture to cool on a silpat or parchment-lined sheet pan.  
For the garnish: Cut the dried figs in half and arrange them on the top of the tart, sprinkle with brittle and drizzle with honey.  If you are feeling fancy, add a sprig of mint. Done!
Look at that fancy mint!
My cast mates were super thrilled with this creation and I can't wait to create for the next production, Balloonacy.  Any thoughts?

Some thoughts on the amazing world of children's theatre...

Doing theatre for children, especially the tiniest audience members, is always full of surprises.  Here are a few examples of unique audience members.*The Wanderer: This little one wants to be on stage and has a bashful parent that hesitates in redirecting the wanderer.

*The "Nuh Uh":  The little one insists that everything you say is a lie and will shout out their tiny opinions during every moment of the show, Bear says "It's Spring now and getting warm...." Child says "Nuh Uh!".
*The Sticky One: This child is covered in some kind of sticky snack substance.  As they come up and play, we must dodge the stickiness with grace so they kiddo won't feel self conscious about his or her stick mess.
*The Violent Child: The kid is aggressive.  He or she may hit you, throw blankets at your face or try to trip you and others.
*The Lover: This little one just wants to hug and love during the show.  he are she may hop up on stage and hug you at any moment.
*The Terrified: This child wants absolutely nothing to do with you! You are scary and strange and nothing you do will make them feel any different.

The parents are also pretty hilarious. Here are a few...
*The NO: You may ask the parents to participate with the kids, this parent will say no every time.  No matter how awkward it is , no matter how much their child wants them to play...the No will be a jerk and shake their head "No".  Shame
*The Hands Off: This parent will watch as their child creates chaos, spills snacks, wanders around, etc and they will just sit back and do nothing.  This is their moment to sit back and relax and let others deal with their wild child.
*The Enamored: This parent is IN IT!  They are with you the whole time and are more engaged than their child.  The jump up to participate, they clap, they sing...they are the best.
*The Neutral: This parent sits with a neutral scowl, arms crossed..just appearing completely annoyed with the entire experience.  All the while, their child is on stage making a lake dance with leaves or catching fireflies.  It doesn't matter...their life is just terrible in the moment and they will do nothing to disguise their disgust.

Each performance has a unique set of characters and circumstances. It is always an adventure and I love it!

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