Bifur’s Raspberry Jam and Apple-Tart: A Hobbit Themed Dessert by Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Well, Gandalf finally arrives and calls the Dwarf invasion of Bag-End “Quite a merry gathering!” I’m sure the annoyed Bilbo would disagree with Gandalf’s assessment. The serious ordering of foodstuffs and beverages begins. Bofur orders “mince-pies and cheese” and I will refer you to one of my previous posts on the network, for a rather updated version of a mince pie: New Fangled Mince Pie. (BTW—this particular recipe is not included in my cookbook, so if you are interested in this version of a Hobbity pie, you’ll need to visit this exclusive posting.)
Bifur asks for “raspberry jam and apple-tart.” So, does that mean he wants raspberry jam AND a separate apple tart? Or does he want them together? Wouldn’t he have asked for some toast or an English Muffin on which to spread his jam? Or will he merely spread the jam on the tart? Does he just want a spoon with this jar of jam, with a slice of tart on the side as a jam chaser? Tolkien’s language here is severely testing the limits of literary interpretation. I decided just to combine them into one item for simplicity’s sake.
“Bifur’s Raspberry Jam and Apple-Tart”
4 ounces walnut halves, lightly toasted and cooled
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup soft salted butter
4 ounces light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
2 extra large eggs
1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large apple, peeled and cored, cut into ¼” slices
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large food processor, pulse the walnuts, flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt until the nuts are ground. Add and pulse the butter until thoroughly mixed. Coat a 9½” tart pan (1″ deep) with removable sides with cooking spray or grease well. Scrape nut mixture into pan (don’t bother washing bowl and blade); press evenly up the sides and then press evenly onto the bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes. Put on a rack; maintain oven temperature. Be sure to handle pan on the sides only, so you don’t shift the bottom.
Meanwhile, process the ½ cup sugar, cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Spread evenly over shell. Decoratively arrange the apple slices over the egg mixture, but don’t overload. Bake at 350° for 36-40 minutes. While tart is baking, melt jam in a 1-quart saucepan, whisking just until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand.
When done, carefully place tart on a rack and spread the jam over all, using a spoon or recessed spatula. Cool on rack for one hour. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Remove pan sides and place on a serving plate. After cutting, store covered in refrigerator—you can bring it to room temperature before serving again or enjoy cold. Serves 6-8.
This tart is known as Apple and Raspberry Jam Tart in Cooking for Halflings and Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls. Try any variety of apple you like, though my own favorites currently are Fujis and Pink Ladies.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings and Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Her blog can be found at http://halflingsandmonsters.wordpress.com/. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/halflingsandmonsters or visit her Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/astridwinegar.