Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bringing home the Best of the West yielded an elegant citrus delight

As I’ve blogged earlier, the recent cover story about citrus in Southern Living magazine couldn’t have appeared at a better time. There we were departing Citrus Heaven, in the Western region of this country, and toting home a bag absolutely bursting with fresh citrus we’d procured from our son’s back yard. I’ve never had the nerve to try to replicate something that magazines paid big bucks to style for their cover, but this time I couldn’t help myself. I HAD to try Elegant Citrus Tart that graced the front of this issue.

Never mind that I didn’t own a tart pan and had to use a regular pie plate for my creation. Never mind that my grapefruit and orange sections didn’t fan out exactly as perfectly as SL’s did. I went with what I had and went with my own imperfect arrangement. My version still looked dramatic and fabulous, if I do brag so myself.

The tart (or pie, in my situation) begins with a crust that’s whisked up in a food processor. It features toasted coconut, flour, and powdered sugar pulsed together, with butter and coconut flavoring added. Cold water is sprinkled in until a dough forms. The dough then is rolled out onto a floured pastry board until it’s in a round shape to fit the pie (or tart) pan.

Best to have already made the Buttery Orange Curd filling, or else you have to cool your heels. The curd, made on the stovetop as one would a pudding, has to refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, so even though you have a perfectly browned crust now ready, if your filling hasn’t chilled properly, you have to wait a LONG time to finish the tempting treat. Beyond that, be sure to have your citrus sections already prepared, or you’ll go into another stall. Grapefruit of various varieties and orange sections must be cut out neatly from the assorted fruit. Best to drain the sections on a paper towel to eliminate extra juice before topping the curd.

Finally, however, with all the pieces ready, assembling the tart is a breeze. Atop the Buttery Orange Curd, which is atop the crust, start with the darkest grapefruit (the magazine suggests the Florida-grown Ruby Red and the Rio Star from Texas, if you don’t have access to the backyard citrus grove that we raided) in the center and work the arrangement out to the edges. Use the lighter-colored navel oranges for the rim.

This might have been designed for a dessert, but I had waited an excruciatingly long time to try this creation and would not be deterred. I finished it in the early morning hours, photographed it, and immediately carved myself a slice for breakfast. Then I promptly called for Hubby. “Life’s too short! You have to sample some of this NOW!” So he forewent his constitutional breakfast oatmeal and dove in for a treat, too.

Ohboy, ohboy, ohboy. Worth the effort of sectioning all those citrus bits. Worth the effort of waiting overnight. And healthy, healthy, healthy. You’ll see what I mean. Life’s too short not to try it soon.

Elegant Citrus Tart

1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
Buttery Orange Curd (see below)
9 assorted citrus fruits, peeled and sectioned

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 5 minutes or until coconut toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through; cool completely (about 15 minutes). Pulse coconut, flour, and powdered sugar in a food processor 3 to 4 times or until mixture is combined. Add butter and coconut extract and pulse 5 to 6 times or until crumbly. With processor running, gradually add 3 tablespoons water and process until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle (about 1/4-inch thick) on a lightly floured surface; press on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom (or 9-inch pie pan). Trim excess dough and discard. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 40 minutes. Spread Buttery Orange Curd over crust. Top with citrus sections. Chill. Makes 8 servings

Buttery Orange Curd

2/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cups orange juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons orange zest
pinch of salt (or salt substitute)

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradually whisk in orange juice. Whisk in egg. Bring to a boil; continue boiling, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, zest, and salt. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on curd (to prevent a film from forming); chill 8 hours. Pour over crust.

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