Project #201 – Ground Cherry Tarts

I didn’t know it a few weeks ago, but there are still fruits left in this country that I have yet to try. There was a peculiar berry at the farmer’s market I attended in Columbus last week. They were about the size of a marble and ranged in color from lime green to cantaloupe orange. They tasted at first like pineapples, but the aftertaste resembled a strong vanilla. Most distinctly, each came covered in a papery husk, like a tomatillo, and with the same kind of seeds.

Those were ground cherries I was eating. A close relative of the tomatillo and tomato, the fruits look like mini versions of their close cousins, but have a taste on a whole other level.

I saved some seeds from a few of the better fruits a few days ago, a super-benefit of buying organic occasionally. They’re supposed to be able to grow anywhere tomatoes grow, so I hope I have a backyard full of them by next year.

By some miracle I managed to keep myself from devouring my whole carton of ground cherries and save enough to make dessert for my friends. The crust for this recipe is the same as the one for my mixed berry tarts.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups husked, halved ground cherries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of chilled, diced, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of chilled water

Combine the fruit, sugar and tapioca. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the dry ingredients and use a fork to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like graham cracker crumbles and there are no pieces of butter bigger than a pea remaining. Add the water slowly and while rolling up the dough into a ball. Separate into six pieces and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick disks touching them as little as possible with your hands. Working quickly, Place each disk on a cookie sheet and add 2 tablespoons of the fruit mixture into the center of the circle and fold up the sides to form a boat.

Put the tarts in the fridge for another hour. Preheat and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Top each with a little fresh cream or butter and serve.


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