Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Fresh Berry & Tea Tart & Announcing THE CLEAN LIVING CONTEST!

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I love this time of year, the dogwood tree outside my office window starts to get little bright green buds. Daffodils and crocuses are sprouting up throughout the neighborhood and the grocery stores are full of fresh berries. Berry stands are opening up anywhere near North Carolina and if you're lucky you can find a stand that also has asparagus - but more about that later. Let's talk tarts.

These tarts are just... lovely. But even though those bright flavorful berries kinda steal the show, I have to mention the crust and crumble for this are pretty exceptional as well. The crust was made with Earl Grey Tea (my personal favorite) and then we topped the tart with an orange zest crumble to bring out the bergamont* flavors in the tea. The combination of them all make this tart really stand out in The Betty Crocker Project. Yeah this tart has that "it factor" to make it in the world of food blogging.

Springtime isn't just about blooming flowers and the revamping of the produce section. Around this time of year, we all open our windows and look around our caves and start well - un-caving. Spring cleaning it one of my favorite projects all year and not just because I like things that smell good! I love making a space my own. Some of you might remember awhile back when I talked about my Pink Lady Kitchen. Well, Method has changed up their products a little bit since then but we're still a Method house** and we'd love to help get you excited about Spring cleaning too!

So we're giving away 2 Method products*** of your choice! All you have to do is "Like" this post (see above) and then post a comment below sharing your favorite tip to an environmentally friendly home! Remember you have to be a "follower" of our blog to win so we can contact you. If you're not a follower - you can find the button for that to the right of this post. Next Wednesday - March 30th - we'll randomly pick a winner from the comments and get you started on your way to another level of clean living!

Let's get these tarts started!

Fresh Berry & Tea Tart (this is an adaption of Betty's Mixed Berry Crumble Tart and makes 2-4 mini tarts depending on how big your dishes are. We made 2 using 4.5" tart dishes.)

Earl Grey Tea Crust

* 1 Cup All Purpose Flour (you will need more to flour your surface for rolling out your dough)
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* 1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Vegetable - Vegan Shortening
* 2 - 3 Tablespoon Earl Grey Tea (chilled)
Fresh Berry Filling 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Strawberries (sliced) 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Raspberries
  • 2/3 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Citrus Crumble Topping 
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Orange Zest (Grated Orange Peel)
  • 1/3 Cup Margarine 

Heat oven to 450. 

Prepare 1 mug of Earl Grey Tea per instructions on the package and then put in the fridge.

Make your Pastry Dough - Crust first.  In a large bowl, mix all the Crust Ingredients with a hand held pastry blender. Once your mix is blended and looks like pebbles, sprinkle with the chilled Earl Grey Tea 1 Tablespoon at a time. Continue to blend with the pastry blender and once your Dough is moist and pulls away from the sides of  the bowl, gather it into a ball in the center.  

Flour your surface and rolling pin for rolling out your Dough. Roll out your dough and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.  You want your Dough to be firm but still pliable. Chilling your Dough will make your crust flakier. 

After your Dough has chilled, roll it out again to make sure it has stayed even and fix any cracks or splits. Then divide your dough into segments to fir your tart dishes. Then press your Dough into your tart dishes. If there are any cracks or splits that comes up - just takes some extra dough and press them into the spots that need a little help. If you smooth out your edges - no one will ever know

Be sure and cut off any extra dough that might hang over the edges. You want your crust to look kinda like this - not go over the edge like a traditional pie : 

In a large bowl, gently toss Berries with the Sugars and Cornstarch. Spoon into your Pastry lined tart dishes. 

In another bow, mix the Crumble Topping Ingredients with a fork until they are crumbly. Sprinkle an even amount over the berries in each tart. You want some Berries to peak through so don;t get to heavy handed with the Crumble Topping. 

Bake for around 30 minutes or until the Berries are bubbling and your Crust has a light golden color. Let them cool until they aren't too hot to touch but still warm. Keep in mind also that the Crust will continue to brown a little bit as it cools because your dishes are still hot. So be sure and pull them out before they are too brown.

*Bergamont is the best flavor it the world. I love citrus but bergamont really stands out with the perfect mix of tartness and sweetness.
** We love Method products not because they make my home smell good! They have this great business model that promotes having an environmentally friendly home with their book  . I have given copies of this book to several people over the years because it is full of great tips and a detailed look at how to detox your living space. Even folks like us who have been been trying to live environmentally friendly for years and years can always do a little more. PLUS - Method performs absolutely no animal testing on any of our products, and does not endorse, request, or commission any animal testing on our behalf. Which is also SUPER COOL.
***We'll send you 2 coupons good for 2 Method Products of your choice - up to a $3.99 value.


  1. Keep your thermostat set at a reasonable level (which is different for everyone ... I do 62 in the winter and about 80 in the summer). When the weather is nice, turn off the AC/Heat and open some windows! My boyfriend hates it, but it saves so much power and the fresh air smells great.

  2. i love to use vinegar for all kinds of applications. i wipe down my glass shower door with it to keep soap scum from accumulating and mix it with baking soda to clean my drain.

    method products are the best!

  3. Earl Grey tea crust, be still my heart!!

  4. I love having fresh flowers and plants around. It may be placebo effect, but the air just feels cleaner and more relaxed.

  5. I put warm soapy water in a dish pan and wash the dishes and then I rinse them of with warm water. So I wouldn't have to have the water running and waste it, Also in the shower I have a special shower head that you can trun off and on to save water!

  6. I use kitty litter made from natural products (usually the Feline Pine brand) that doesn't create a nasty dust in the air.

  7. Drool worthy! And I love the idea of the Earl Grey tea crust.

  8. Use natural products and some elbow grease! Sometimes, when the mold builds up in our tiny apartment, I get frustrated. But it's all about keeping up with the chores and opening the windows!! I refreshed the house recently by doing that!
    Also, buying a thick vegan blanket for the winter and cuddling, so to keep the thermostat down.

  9. This might duplicate, but I tried to post and it wouldn't let me!

    Using natural products & elbow grease! And to keep the thermostat and a/c to a minimum, big vegan blankets for the winter (& cuddling!) and open every window in the spring to air out the house!

  10. Vinegar to disinfect the litter-box. Works awesome and safe for the kitties!

  11. my favorite thing for tough smells in a thermos? make it a volcano! bakingsoda + vinegar and a loose top! best ever way to clean.

  12. I like to hang my laundry outside. It smells good, and it saves a ton of electricity....

  13. I recycle all paper, plastic, cans and bottles. I try to only use cloth sacks when shopping and when I do get a plastic bag, they all get recycled as well.

  14. We have a Rennai Tankless water heater which is great but it takes a little longer than a regular heater to get hot, so we have buckets in all the showers to collect the water prior to it getting hot. We use that water for the vegetable patch and the flowers. We also have a rain barrel outside which is pretty handy.

  15. My favorite tip is very simple: reduce, reuse, recycle :-)

  16. Hey, I just wanted to say thanks so much for the amazing giveaway prize! I absolutely love it and posted some about it here:
    Thanks again!

  17. Love the project. Never would have thought to use earl grey for the crust...thanks for the many ideas and inspirations

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  19. My tip (actually my daughter's tip)...

    I have an unhealthy addiction to paper towels. There, I've said it. Last year, my sweet daughter bought me a huge package of cotton dishcloths to keep in a basket by the sink. Every time I want to wipe up a drip or dry my hands or some freshly washed veggies, I grab a cloth. So easy!

  20. Mmm...yummy! I am definitely going to try this! :)

    My favorite tip for an environmentally friendly home is re-using paper. Often professors give their students a printed out long syllabus and assignments that are not front and back. When the semester is over I take the ones that have no text on the back and stack them in my 're-use' pile. I then use those to jot down notes, thoughts, etc. Sometimes I make them into books to create a notebook to jot down notes for the next semester that comes along. :D

  21. I'm sure these have already been mentioned but we carry our own cloth bags everywhere, we recycle paper, glass, cans and plastic, we have covered bowl by the kitchen sink for coffee grinds and food scraps that goes to the compost bin outside. We try to pack our lunch most days and use plastic containers that can be reused. Only wash whites/towels in hot water, keep thermostat at 79 in summer and 68 in winter. I think all the little things really add up.

  22. I can't do just one, I'm sorry! I have two, if I may: 1) Keep it vegan! 2) Keep it phosphate-free to help keep waterways vibrant and clean. Phosphates lead to excessive growth of plants and algae, adversely impacting water systems. Commonly used in detergents and cleaners, phosphates also wind up in water from animal agriculture (ick) runoff and other icky forms of conventional agriculture.