Monday, March 21, 2011

join me for a tea party

this is a first for me.  generally, i do not use this blog to generate support for causes or charity but today, i am changing that.  as a woman, i know how important it is to go for the dreaded yearly pap smear.  i also know just how scary it can be to hear that the results were not normal.  thankfully for me, the news was just a higher level of abnormal cells than is acceptable and the only treatment needed was to freeze my cervix.  years later i can say all is well and part of that is due to my diligence and my husbands wonderful(thanks to his employer!) health plan.  even though i go for that test each year, the risk for ovarian cancer still exists for me and every other woman on the planet.   even more frightening than that revelation is the fact no matter how many general exams women have, ovarian cancer most likely is not diagnosed until it has spread beyond the ovaries since there is no test available to detect it.  the worst part is that many women never have anything more than mild symptoms and when it is discovered, it is in an advanced stage and often comes with a 50% or less survival rate.  but before you think that i am all doom and gloom, know this, there are tests available to screen women for their risk factor and best of all, we have organizations like the ovarian cancer research fund helping us find early detection tests, better methods of treatment and ultimately,  a cure.

so by now you must be asking yourself, why is she prattling on about this and what does it have to do with a tea party?  it's simple, as a featured publisher on foodbuzz, i am participating in a challenge and helping to raise funds for the ocrf and at the same time helping myself and all women out there. the fact that they also turned this into a contest of sorts does not hurt.  foodbuzz will donate $50 to the fund just because i entered a recipe into the tea party contest and i have a chance to see my blog chosen as part of their top 9 takeover. the top 9 takeover is a partnership between foodbuzz and electrolux to help raise funds as well as awareness for ovarian cancer and research.  so join me, and my good friend kelly ripa(no i don't really know her but it sounds good) as well as the folks at foodbuzz and electrolux for a tea party with a cause and let's get the word out there.  so, let's get this tea party started!

when i am not working, i spend a lot of time in the garden.  each week, i volunteer my time for the master gardeners of davidson county and i work in a research and demonstration garden-demo garden for short.  since i am always baking something, i bring a cake with me each week.  but since this week i was baking for the tea party, i decided on little pineapple jam tarts.  made in a mini pan, these dainty little treats were perfect for the garden as well as any tea party since they could be eaten out of hand.  they also look rather elegant when arranged on a fancy cake pedestal.  keep your eye on them as they tend to disappear quickly-i saw that with my own eyes.  when my fellow gardeners heard what was in my cake box, they abandoned the garden to sample the tarts.  so began our typical work day tea party in the garden; a little weeding, a little chatting and a little snacking among friends.
pineapple jam tarts

24 miniature tarts
adapted from david lebovitz
                                             
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1  egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal-i used blue cornmeal since i had some
2 teaspoons baking powder
jam or preserves in any flavor, about 1 3/4 cups-jelly is too thin for this so only jam or preserves should be used.           


preheat the oven to 375.  lightly grease a mini muffin pan or enough pans to get 24 tarts.  cream the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla until light.  add the egg and yolk and mix well.  add the flour, cornmeal and baking powder and mix until it comes together.  using a small scoop-size #70, portion the dough by making 24 scoops.  reserve the rest of the dough-roll it into a 6" log and chill until needed.  shape the tart shells with your fingers by pressing the dough evenly around the inside of the cups of the tin.

using the same scoop, place one scoop of jam into each tart shell.  i made some pineapple jam using about 4 cups of pineapple chunks, 2 cups pineapple juice, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 vanilla bean and 4 thick slices of fresh ginger.  pulse the fruit in the food processor and then combine all ingredients and cook until golden and thickened.

using a ruler, score the dough log into 1/4" segments.  use a knife to carefully cut the slices of dough.

place one slice of dough on top of each tart and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.  allow the tarts to rest in the pans for 10-15 minutes.

carefully lift each tart out and place on a rack to cool completely.

thanks to foodbuzz, kelly ripa and electrolux for taking women's health so seriously by supporting the ovarian cancer research fund.  and ladies, remember to schedule that yearly exam.

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