Monday, January 21, 2013

Snowflake Fingerless Mitts and Rustic Pear Tart

Hum hum ~ girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes; snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes; silver white winters that melt into spring ~ these are a few of my favorite things ~  I'm sure most of you recognize this refrain from the Sound of Music.  Alas, without a proper Winter I have no snowflakes on my nose or eyelashes.  Instead I've embroidered snowflakes onto my fingerless mitts.  A wise person makes do with what one has, so I believe.  After a particularly severe cold snap our Winter has apparently come and gone in a matter of weeks.  Yet it's still cool enough in the mornings to need fingerless mitts and shall be through May!

It's the ability to add my own touches that makes knitting so satisfying and a unique expression of my personal taste and style.  And I find embroidery a quick and easy means to beautifully embellish my knitting.  I added this snowflake to the mitts by using a simple combination of the basic running stitch and detached chain stitch.  That combined with using a sparkly yarn for the embroidery helped turn these ordinary mitts into something more special.  

Particulars:  Snowflake Fingerless Mitts; this is a person pattern that I'll eventually share as a free pattern but first I want to test knit it again to eliminate any mistakes. I used 2 Skeins Manos del Uruguay (silk blend); US 5 & 6 DPN.  Over the years I've knit many many pairs of fingerless mittens but a couple of my favorites are my Kyla Fingerless Mitts and Welted Fingerless Gloves  For this design I thought the finished mitts were a bit limp so I slightly felted the finished mitts in the dryer to firm them up and make the yarn more dense and that worked beautifully.  I used a sparkly metallic yarn to embroider the snowflakes to give it some sizzle and shine.  You can find many embroidery templates online; I used this snowflake design as my guide.  

Rustic Pear Tart ~

After consuming way too many sweets over the holidays it's nice to change things up with a savory and mellow dessert and I found this pear tart to be just the ticket.  Along with pears it has cranberries and hazelnuts and has a nice kick of citrus.  However I found it does not keep well and is best eaten the same day baked.  The recipe is inspired by the nutty cranberry pear tarts published in the 2009 Southern Style Christmas Cooking magazine but modified to reduce sugar and fats and ingredients I have on hand.  My version is shared below.

Rustic Pear Tart

Tart Ingredients:
2 ripe pears (pealed, cored and diced)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts (skins removed and finely chopped).  Plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used whole organic cranberries)
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. orange zest
1 Tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cardamon
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Egg Wash:
1 egg white mixed with 1 tsp water

Pie Dough Ingredients:
I used the dough recipe I used for my raspberry tart but I think any pate brisee (pie dough) recipe would work such as Martha Stewart's.

Orange Syrup Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs fresh honey


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper;
2.  Combine tart ingredients;
3.  Make Pie Dough and roll into a large circle.  Transfer dough to baking sheet and spread pear mixture in the center leaving approximately 1 inch to fold over for crust;
3.  Brush egg wash over crust and sprinkle with sugar;
4.  Bake approx. 30 minute or until fruit mixture is bubbling.  Check tart frequently and to prevent burning cover with foil after crust is golden brown; and
5.  Serve warm with orange syrup.  Orange Syrup: combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Can be stored in refrigerator.
6.  Garnished with fresh mint and extra chopped hazelnuts and/or cranberries.

Until next time be well and love well and don't forget Valentine's Day is soon approaching.  Valentine's Day is a fun and whimsical holiday to celebrate anyone who is special in your life.  So have fun and please don't be restricted to traditional ideas of who can be a Valentine!


gMarie said...

Stunning mitts. Love the colors and the sparkly snowflake you added - they are lovely. That pear tart looks yummy. Mr. MPTD is a very lucky man to have a Mrs. who loves him enough to bake for him. But - aren't we missing a Simcha photo?


Renee said...

Your embroidered mittens couldn't be more wonderful!! So elegant and personal and and and... I love them! The Perfect Fingerless mitt, wow!

Tracy said...

LOVELY gloves, Claudia! The colors are so pretty... and I like the delicate embroidery. Well done! :o) The tart is beautiful too--wow. I'm more savory than sweet, so this would fit the bill at our house where I'm savory and hubby is sweet. I love Valentine's Day. It's wonderful to have a day to show love & appreciation. Wishing you & yours a love-filled Valentine's ((HUGS))

Monika said...

Your new mitts are adorable!

Hilary said...

I love your wintry mitts! Great way to bring a little snow to SoCal. :) I don't think I've ever tried embroidery on my knitting, but that's a great idea. Your snowflake embellishment is so delicate, and you can't usually get that with knitting yarn.
I love how you always style your photos with the perfect props! The mitts in progress with mug of tea and jar of flowers is fantastic!

Willow said...

I am captivated by the gloves. They're truly beautiful!

shabby girl said...

Your mitts are adorable. I really like the idea of adding just a little something extra like the snowflake.
BTW, wherever did you find that cup holding your tea? Love it!
The pear tart looks amazing. Since Hubby is trying to lose weight, I would have to eat the whole thing myself. Then I would be trying to lose weight too. Lol.

Kristen said...

Hi Claudia! The mitts and pear tart both look...delicious!

Anonymous said...

What a nice thing to sit down tonight after dinner and open up your blog to those gorgeous mitts. The embroidery detail raised them to boutique store level. They are perfect. And that tart. I've never made a pie crust, but for this, I might take the plunge. Yum. Only thing missing is another adventure of Simcha, but I'm sure he is cooking up something for the future. Hold onto your hat, Claudia!

Bridget said...

I love the mitts - I really wish I could embroider better than I can, as I agree that it adds a lovely touch.

The tart sounds pretty yummy. I find that tarts such as yours seem so much more substantial than a pie. Don't know why, it's probably psychological ...

Take care, Claudia!

SissySees said...

Stunning mitts... I love that song. In fact, the whole soundtrack is probably my favorite(s).

The tart is lovely too. I've never made a rustic tart, but you might have inspired me. (In fact, I'm not sure I've made ANY tart, free-form or otherwise...)

Gail Cabat said...

Love the gloves! Embroidery is a great idea! Might have to borrow the idea! I wish I could bake something so yummy Claudia! Maybe for company......Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you all for your warm and generous comments! Such a treat for me to read them ~ it's also nice to know that you enjoy hearing about Simcha's adventures. He's such a big part of my life now and I enjoy sharing him with you. The sheep mug in the picture is a "Sidney the Sheep Mug" and I bought him in an English import shop in LA. I found an online link to the same mug here:
Wishing you all happy knitting adventures xoxox

shabby girl said...

Thank you, Claudia, for the sheep mug info! So cute!

Anonymous said...

I love your snowflake mittens! Simple, delicate, and elegant all in one. Do you by chance have a pattern available of how you made them? Would really like to try making a pair...