With the digital age comes the language of emoticons… a visual rather than verbal language, a picture that says a lot in a very little space. And like food, it has no barriers, a language understood by all.
Most people use visual images for speed and in the same way that I am resistant to the use of convenience foods, I absolutely refuse to take shortcuts with text acronyms. But in my eagerness to reach out to a wide range of you who follow this blog, I was drawn to emoticons and visual imagery which if used correctly to enhance and enrich communication instead of a substitute to the written word, has an ability to add tone and depth of expression that a single written word is unable to do. Emoticons are understood internationally and break the barriers of different cultures and languages. I love the basic smiley or sad faces at the end of a sentence and very recently I was delighted to be introduced to Mr Green by one of my favorite readers. So what i assumed was a teenage fad and a lack of command for the written word may in the future very well bring about an international dictionary of visual communication for a language with no barriers, an addendum to every language dictionary that exists.
And while we are on the subject of international appeal, my weekend bake today is made with classic old fashioned canned peaches. There is something so comforting about eating canned peaches and looking at them. With a taste and texture that is so remote to the fresh peach, I have never come across anyone who hates them. I am making these retro-style tarts with a filling of cinnamon and almond topped with canned peaches and dusted with muscovado sugar before they are baked to bring out the most wonderful to-die-for flavors and texture.
You will need :
Ingredients for Sweet Pastry
50g softened Butter
5g Baking Powder
3 drops Vanilla Extract
Zest of a quarter of a fresh Lemon
Pinch of cinnamon
Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add butter cut up into small pieces. Rub in until you have a fine consistency. Add vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon. Dissolve sugar and cold water and mix into dry ingredients. Knead and leave to rest wrapped in cling film in a cool place for at least 15 minutes. Grease the tart dish and roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the dish and trim neatly. Dock the pastry with a fork. Follow the instructions for baking blind.
And for a gluten free sweet pastry
320g gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum, leave out if your flour already contains this
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
140 g chilled butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water
Place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and sugar into your food processor and pulse a few times until well-combined. Add the butter, and pulse. Add the ice water to the mixture a bit at a time. If using a food processor, pulse repeatedly while dribbling in the ice water very slowly. After you have added the water, pulse a few more times to see if the mixture is beginning to come together in the food processor. If not, dribble in more water and pulse. Stop adding water the moment the mixture begins to come together.
Cover the dough and place in the fridge until firm.
Roll out and follow instructions as for sweet pastry above and baking blind.
The almond cinnamon filling and peach topping
This will fill 24 small tart cases or one 11 inch tart.
For Almond filling:
200g Ground Almonds
Zest of half a lemon and half an orange
Few Drops Vanilla Extract
Pinch Cinnamon Powder
For the Peach topping
2 large peaches, peeled and sliced
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
Cream the butter and sugar until they ate fluffy. Add the eggs and then the rest of the ingredients and beat until the mixture is consistent. Spoon into the tart cases and dip a teaspoon into hot water and flatten the surface.
Mix the cinnamon powder into the muscovado sugar.
Arrange the peach slices neatly in a spiral and dust with the muscovado and cinnamon mix.
Bake for 20 minutes at 175 C until the peaches caramelize.
These are delicious hot or cold.