It was my birthday this week. The older I get the less inclined I am to feel the need to throw a big Hoo-Hah to celebrate. However, this year was pretty awesome. My deerslayer surprised me with a great camera (a Nikon D3100).
I’ve really enjoyed photographing my recipes and the processes involved. This camera should provide me with a lot more options than my old point & shoot. I feared that the complexity of using a “real camera” would overwhelm me. This camera does everything that I could ever need and more. I secretly dreaded tackling the thick instruction manual, however. I was greatly relieved to discover that most of the instructions were on a DVD. It’s so much easier to watch someone flip a switch, attach a lens, push a particular button. My junior deerslayers and I were having such a good time photographing finished recipes and such that we really wanted to “do it like the experts”. This camera has the capabilities to do exactly that (even if I don’t yet)!
In addition to my fabulous new camera, one of my Junior Deerslayers prepared a fabulous citrus tart for my special day. Don’t forget that we live in the Rio Grande Valley and have citrus coming out our ears at this time of year (figuratively, of course). But, since I’ve always been particularly fond of citrus recipes of all sorts, she knew that it would be just the thing for my birthday. This one is now my new favorite. The praline crust is good enough to eat just by itself. As a matter of fact, she prepared extra crust so I could eat it with a spoon. I love that girl! This recipe calls for fresh citrus as well as frozen orange juice concentrate so it has a wonderful sweet-tart fresh burst of citrusy punch! My junior deerslayer topped the whole thing off with some fresh whipped cream. I polished the rest of it off with coffee the next morning!
.Which brings me to my next birthday surprise. My senior junior deerslayer brought me some delicious ground pecan-flavored coffee from Independence Coffee Company in Brenham, Tx. I’ve found that often flavored coffees can be overwhelming. This one was smooth and subtle. An absolute delight. The kitchen smelled wonderful. The combination of the pecan coffee with the citrus tart w/ praline crust was as much as any mom could ask for to round out a perfect birthday.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
3 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Mix all ingredients for praline crust. Press evenly into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside. There will be some left over to eat with a spoon!
2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, orange juice concentrate, lemon juice, and egg yolks until blended.
3. Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into citrus mixture and pour into prepared crust. Set on cookie sheet or foil on center rack in oven. Sometimes the butter in the crust will eek out and drip into the oven.
4. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes just until filling is set. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Remove tart from pan, and place on a serving dish.
5. Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Use pastry bag to pipe whipped cream onto tart or just plop artistically on top. Truly, there’s no such thing as unattractive whipped cream!