Thursday, November 25, 2010

Everything's Lame But The Tart

I had a total lame-o mommy day, today (this was actually yesterday). Some mornings you wake up and just don't feel like being a mom. You want a vacation, a break, a massage...a margarita.

That wasn't happening, so I schlepped the kids to Target, our go-to place for fun and excitement! See told ya, I was lame.

Normally, I attack a Target shopping errand like Lara Croft would attack a mission to retrieve a highly-prized, ridiculously expensive artifact from some ancient Chinese culture- quick, with strategy and armed...with snacks. Today? Well, I didn't  really bother. Not with the diaper bag or even a smidge of make-up. Sports bra? check. Frumpy tank top? (yes, we are still wearing tank tops here in jungle steamy Houston) Check. Helping to support the stay-at-home-don't-give-a-crap mom stereo-type? Check. Hmmm...The Real Housewives ain't got nothin' on me. Okay, maybe I do need a wig and a glass of chardonnay with a couple ice cubes in it.

Back to the actual story and then, yes, THEN a recipe. I've yet to figure out how I'm going to segway into that.

It was just one of those days where I didn't care if we walked around Target for hours. Normally, I can get in and out in 20 minutes, with 3 kids. I mean, that's pretty good. Well, that's if they hang on the sides of the cart, which I normally make them do, so I can go faster. Lara Croft would totally approve of fast and unsafe strategies.

I let the kids get ONE stupid, made-in-china, possibly-lethal-paint-coated-toy each. Normally, I whiz right by. If you act like your in a big, serious hurry, you can usually get by that crap-toy trap without a peep. Not today. Because I was in slow-mo and didn't give a flyin' fig, I let them dive-in, head first.

For some reason, ONE toy is a very difficult concept for three year-olds to understand. They must have thought I said, "One ARMFUL each."

Then we get to the Christmas aisle. Oh Lord. I get giddy and have to touch everything just like they do. That led us to the Christmas music CD display with the touch pad where you can sample the CDs before you buy them. Like I said before, if this was a mission-kind-of-day, I would speed by without even a thought of "sampling", but today I parked the cart right in front of it and let the kids push the buttons into oblivion.

I was not surprised that the Mickey Mouse Christmas Special Extravaganza Musical Music Blowout Disney Supercalifragilistic Best of the Season Special Album got the most attention and I was equally not surprised that I wanted to bash my head into the shopping cart handle to find relief from Mickey's incredibly annoying, someone's-squeezing-his-nether-regional-area voice.

The children? Well, they were in "mousie" heaven. Boo was galloping around in circles claiming Goofy was singing a "cowboy" song, while Bubba acted as operational engineer of this button-pushing carousel of holiday hell.

I guess, it really wasn't that bad. I was actually enjoying every minute of it. I loved that Boo thought "Jingle Bells" was a country song and Tiny was clapping randomly and squealing as he watched his sister do her awkward dance. We stood there for a good 10 minutes, wearing down that display and most likely scaring away anyone who was mildly interested in a Crooner's Christmas with 'Ol Blue Eyes.

I am really thankful for my kids. I'm really thankful I am a mom. I'm so thankful for those silly moments that I can take and tuck away into my heart. I guess it wasn't so lame afterall, more like pretty much perfect- except for the fact that I still looked like the poster-child for Help A Fashion-Challenged Mom Foundation.

Alright. Are you ready for a recipe? If you're not, I'm going to start talking about poop diapers...


This recipe was going to be for the Challenge 8 of PFB. It turned out really well. I've never made any kind of tart tatin before. I took Rachel Allen's recipe for Apple Tart Tatin and substituted fresh pumpkin for the apple, came up with a brown butter rum ice cream on the fly and topped it all off with salty, crunchy pumpkin seeds. It totally satisfied my love of salty-sweet.

So with summer garb and non-autumnal weather outside, I was trying to usher the chilly air with this little number. I hope you enjoy.

Git yer pumpkin. (don't ask.)

Slice off the top...

take off its jacket.

scoop out the seeds and reserve.

rinse and dry really well.

cut pumpkin into slices

I used a cookie cutter for the centerpiece.

practice your slices in the pan to make sure they fit.

my addition: spices. Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger.

Toss with your pumpkin pieces.

until they are well coated.

roll out and cut pie crust to size. (if in a pinch you could use a pre-made pie crust pastry)

make your fun and kinda scary.

cook your pumpkin in the caramel and top with crust.

bake until golden and pumpkin tender.

gaze at its beauty...

take your toasted pumpkin seeds
 (and shove it...just kidding. Any time I hear some one say, "Take your..." I want to say, "and shove it.")

and top your slice of pumpkin tart tatin, along with some brown butter rum ice cream.

really difficult part...eating.

Pumpkin Tart Tatin
adapted from Rachel Allen's Apple Tart Tatin Recipe

I'm going to leave the recipe as is, in case you want to make it with apples and I will put my changes in bold.

200 g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour, sifted

1 pinches salt

100 g (7 tbsp.) butter, chilled and cubed

2 tbsp soured cream, or crème fraîche

For the filling

Approx. 3/4 of a small pumpkin, peeled and cut into slices or 4 eating apples, GrannySmith or Golden Delicious; if using a small variety, such as Cox’s Orange Pippin, you will need about 6 apples

1/2 tsp. EACH cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove ( if you like you can add these spices to a apple tart too)
125 g (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar

100 ml (scant 1/2 cup) water

25 g (2 tbsp.) butter

1 egg, beaten


1. For the sour cream shortcrust pastry: place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whiz briefly. Add half the sour cream and continue to whiz. You might add a little more sour cream, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together. If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough sour cream to bring it together.

2. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick, then wrap in cling film or place in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400 degrees F)

4. For the filling: prepare the apples, by peeling them with a peeler to keep them in a nice rounded shape, then cut into quarters. Remove the core from each quarter and set aside. Don’t worry if they go brown, and don’t cover in water or they will be too wet. (Toss pumpkin pieces in spices)

5. Place the sugar and water in a medium-sized ovenproof saucepan set over a low–medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
(follow the recipe as is, substituting pumpkin for apple)
6. Increase the heat and boil the syrup until it starts to caramelise around the edges – about 5 minutes. Do not stir once it has come to the boil otherwise the syrup will crystallise. Once the syrup starts to turn golden, you may need to swirl the pan slightly to even out the caramelisation.

7. Once the syrup is a golden caramel in colour, add the butter and swirl the pan again to distribute it through the caramel.

8. Remove the pan from the heat, and place the apple quarters in a concentric circle around the outside and any remaining pieces in the centre, keeping in mind that the tart will be flipped over when serving. The apples must completely cover the base of the pan; you may need an extra apple!

9. Place the pan back over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes to slightly caramelise the apples, while you roll out the pastry.

10. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a disc about 2cm wider in diameter than the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pastry on top of the almost cooked apples. Using the base of a spoon or a fork, tuck the pastry in around the edges of the apples. Brush the pastry with beaten egg then, using a skewer or fork, prick a few holes in the pastry.

11. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples feel cooked when you insert a skewer through the centre.

12. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for just a few minutes before placing a plate on top of the pan and carefully (it is hot!) but quickly flipping it out. Use a plate with a slight lip to catch the delicious juices. Cut into slices to serve. Serve with ice cream and pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from one pumpkin

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake until fragrant and crunchy, about 20 minutes. Just try and stop yourself from eating all of them before the tart is finished.

Brown Butter Rum Ice Cream

2 tbsp. butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. dark rum

In a heavy pan melt butter and let it get golden brown and fragrant. Add milk and cream. Let it come to simmer. Meanwhile beat eggs and sugar with a fork, until creamy and lighter in color. Add a bit of the hot milk to the eggs to temper them. Then add the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Stir over med-low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Add vanilla and rum off heat. chill in fridge until cold or in an ice bath. Follow your ice cream makers instructions.

Happy Thanksgiving, Foodies!

P.s. Thank you for all your really, really sweet comments on my "Dumped" post. I cannot tell you how warm and fuzzy it makes me. I'm super thankful for you, my readers.


  1. Awww, this was a great post, Lauren. I feel blah like that sometimes, and I don't even have the challenge of three kids on my hip and the side of my shopping cart. I don't know how you (and other moms) do it sometimes creating these wonderful dishes and writing these fantastic posts. This tart looks outstanding and that ice cream sounds unbelievable! Hope your family had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  2. Wow I'm so impressed with how gorgeous your tart is! Not to mention how creative it is, love the use of pumpkin! I so wish you had made it to round 8, I voted for you for every challenge. You are so incredibly hilarious, talented and creative. :)

  3. Target is the best!!! That's seriously the first thing that I have to say about this post. It's impossible for me to enter that store and stick to any sort of list or plan. Especially when it comes to the Christmas aisle!

    That being said, this tart looks super yummy. I'm loving the pumpkin, too! Very creative and very cool!

    Oh, and yay for Rachel Allen! I love her show. :D

  4. That looks gooooorgeous! I love Rachel Allen!!!

    I can totally understand the days when you want to chill alone. I sometimes envy my husband being in a hostile warzone on bad days!

    And I am the worst dressed mom...ever.

  5. Yay for lazy mommy days! I am planning to have one today. It's raining and I am taking the kids to an indoor playspace to burn off their energy.
    Your tart looks delicious and most definitely NOT lame.

  6. MMM - that looks BEAUTIFUL!!! Hope you have a wonderful day after :-) Kate

  7. What a gorgeous tart! Absolute artwork!

    I can't relate to summer garb and non-autumnal weather... so foreign to me, but defintely not lame :)-(it was in 20's here last night!)

  8. This looks wonderful Lauren. And beautiful. I loved the way you approached the challenges on PFB with humour and enthusiasm (Really I can spell I am just Canadian and must include the "u" in colour ...favour get the point. We will miss your contributions there, but I am glad to follow you.


  9. Seriously laughing my arse off... at your expense of course, sorry ;)
    I can totally relate girl oh can I relate.... *sigh......
    Target helps, margeritas help, banging head against counter top... helps. Sorry your having a bad day. Drink up! ;)

  10. haha i love trying to get in and out of target in 20 minutes...I usually can swing it if I just need diapers LOL....but oh how I love those "loungy don't have anywhere to be" days where I can just leisurely stroll and look to my heart's content (as long as I'm armed with plenty o' snacks) and especially this time of year - LOVE IT! ahh lauren your post brought me smiles and laughter as usual, and that is one gawgeous tatin!

  11. Girl that is beautiful! As for the Target trick ... My kids are grown and I still walk around that store like I am in a coma.

    I know that "I don't feel like being a mom today" all too well but now that the kids are grown I am almost to the point that I will borrow kids to drive me crazy because I miss them so much.

  12. So your tart is beautiful and creative and one of the most intriguing desserts I have seen all weekend...but I loved hearing about your Target experience-your honesty and humor makes me want to read your posts again and again. I don't have children but I can already relate to the feeling you experienced. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a lovely Saturday afternoon!

  13. hey Lauren, re: Oat flour, you could use whole oats and blend them in your food processor, that's what I usually do! ;)

  14. wow, certainly did come up with an incredible combination of flavors! Pumpkin Tarte tatin is simply mind again! Then finishing it off with butter rum ice cream!
    FB doesn't know what it missed!


  15. Looks delicious! Target sounded like fun, haha. More trips in your future!

  16. Target and children in the same sentence still makes me nervous, lol
    Gorgeous tart, and rum ice cream...Wow!

  17. What a nice twist on pumpkin pie! And enjoyed your rendition of lame-o mom-on-the-loose. ;-)

  18. You totally would have rocked the pumpkin round.
    Um, I can't believe you could possibly EVER get out of target in 20 minutes, or get THROUGH Target without a diaper bag. You are superwoman.

  19. what a wonderful take on pumpkin! your creativity, wit and humor are missed!!!

  20. Hoping not to open a healing wound here...

    My enthusisam for PFB has evaporated since I no longer have you to vote for, but I finally worked up enough nerve to check out the current pumpkin posts. Hey, there are some nice recipes and decent photos there, but yours was the freshest idea of all.

    I still love my little Lauren. XOXO

    I have lots of controversial thoughts about blogging lately. Prefer to keep my blog "sunshine and roses", but boy, do I wish we could chat!!!

  21. New post request! Hee hee...

  22. Yum! Pumpkin AND Tart Tartin - my two faves, all in one!!! Cheers, Michelle


    How in the world can I receive your posts on a regular basis?!! This is simply the best (as Tina would say) foodie blog in existence...I would love to become a Foodiehouse follower/disciple..

    With much admiration,


  24. Thanks for your kind words, Donna! Well, if you become a follower on the Google Friend Connect up there to the right, where you see all those little squares of peoples faces, once you do that, every time I post, it will come up on your Reading List for Google friend connect.

    have a great day!


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