Elderflower Cream Tartelettes & Portland Trip Part Two
Everytime I go through my pictures of Portland to write another post, I start looking online for airfares and rentals so B. and I can make our own memories there, armed with the few penciled down addresses I already love and plan to revisit. Thing is, both our schedules are filling up already until next summer so I don’t think a vacation will happen anytime soon. I’ve been booked shooting non-stop which explains the infrequent postings here. That and catching up with friends and family.
The vibes that Portland exudes are very similar to the ones I live here in Charleston. Although we lack the vista of the mountains, both towns have a humane quality of life that I absolutely love. People are open, people smile. People love to tell you about their town and are never short of recommendation. Instead of pointing to a direction, they will make sure you know your way there with maps and drawings, phone numbers and more spots to see on the way.
Let’s get on to the second part of that Portland trip, our first real day of activities…one that took us high up, from mountains to rooftops while keeping our eyes full of magical sights and our bellies warm with exquisite meals. A day that inspired these Elderflower Cream Tartelettes.
I had chosen to take part in the foraging and wild foods exploring tour, led by Dr. Kallas and found myself staring at the beauty of Lake Tillium that morning, mesmerized by the beauty of Mount Hood majestically standing before me. Mountain air. One I miss every single day. I am a mountain gal from my area of Provence but never once did I get a crash course on Nature’s edible. Until Portland. It was fascinating.
Trust me folks, listen to the advice of experts like this guy before picking edibles in the wild. Read up, do your research, take classes. It takes one little mistake to pick up a deadly from a lovely. That plant is edible. It even tastes like vanilla at certain time of the year.
This is a "no-no" as far as edible. Sure looks lovely though…
I had a difficult time turning my back on the area and hopping into the van. Calming. Refreshing. A balm for the hurried soul. People boating, fishing or simply enjoying a quiet day off by the lake. I know that feeling all too well here in the South. Made the area even more appealing for me. But we all that foraging made our bellies ready for food and wine. Not surprisingly, we were fast obliged.
After a lovely ride up to Timberline Lodge (the same ride in the opening credits of The Shining – I kid you not), we were treated to a wonderful lunch designed by Chef Jason Stoller Smith with edibles he had foraged himself a few days earlier. Now, that’s what I call a creative culinary treat. Each dish was paired with a different glass of wine from Phelps Creek Vineyard.
Among those interesting edible concoctions were a foraged salad of Smooth Yellow Violet, Indian Paintbrush, Wild Ginger and Columbine, Hemlock Tea Sorbet, Hood River Peaches With Pineapple Weed Ice Cream and Vanilla Olive Oil Powder. A little molecular gastronomy was thrown in here and there supplying some really nice touches (nitro blast whipped potatoes are smooth as baby’s skin…) without being overwhelming or out of place. Well balanced meal throughout.
My own foraging led me to the elderflower plant grown by the next door neighbor which inspired these little tarts. With a little Saint Germain (elderflower liqueur) thrown in there for good measure. Hmmm…
We did not have a minute to spare noodling about after lunch as next on our agenda was a visit to the McCurdy Farms, Steve McCarthy and his Clear Creek Distillery. Yes, the orchard were pears and apples happen to make it into the bottle.
It is a really fascinating sight to see and the love that Steve and his crew have for their craft is clearly reflected in the quality of the pear brandy and other liqueurs they produce. We sampled and sampled and sampled some more under the blazing sun and found refuge walking in the shades of the orchards. Pears on one side, apples on the other.
The bottles are set on the fruits while they are barely buds and left until the pears or apples have reached a desirable size. In the meantime, the liqueur is made the old fashioned way, as Steve learned from his experience in Europe.
The operation is relatively young, 26 years old, but booming with all sorts of interesting concoctions. Classics like pear or mirabelle plum eaux de vie but also Douglas Fir eau de vie and a vast array of grappas.
There is something special about orchards. At least to me.
After many a small glass of brandy of different flavors, we had to ride back to Portland downtown. The bus which was bubbling with conversation and excitement that morning was nothing but a murmur of napping food bloggers. The altitude, our full bellies, our well doctored veins (eau de vie is keen to medicine in my family), made for a quiet ride back to the hotel.
A little time to rest and we were back on for dinner. Burgers and brew. Looking over Portland. Gorgeous sunset and the talented chefs of Metrovino and The Guilt Club and their team. Great fun.
We were treated to three different kinds of burgers and buns, lamb, venison, beef as well as many delicious sides and dessert nibbles. Cold glasses of tea from Smith Tea as well as copious glasses of beer from The Prodigal Son Brewery.
Once back home in Charleston, I found myself foraging my own way and came up with these tartelettes. Nothing fancy or complicated but the perfect transition from Summer into Fall. A light elderflower flavored cream nestled in gluten free tart shells and topped by Champagne grapes, figs and the last of the (good) raspberries around here. They go perfectly with a small glass of pear brandy by the way…!
*Disclosure: I was not asked nor received compensation to write about the trip. I’m doing it because I loved every bit of it. Transportation, meals and drinks when enjoyed as part of the trip itinerary were all taken care for by Travel Oregon.
Elderflower Cream Tartelettes:
Makes 8 tartelettes
For the pastry crust:
I used this one from my friend Jeanne at The Art of Gluten Free Baking but I also recommend this one from Holly Herrick if you are not gluten free.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Roll the dough in between sheets of parchment paper if you are using the gluten free one or on a well floured countertop is using the regular one. Cut the dough the fit eight 4-inch tart rings or shells. Fill the shells with dried beans or pie weights and bake until the shells are completely cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup Saint Germain (elderflower liqueur) (or can use elderflower syrup)
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and Saint Germain and whisk again until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Divide among the tart shells and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set.
To finish the tartelettes, top each with your favorite seasonal fruits.
Love traveling for the ability it gives to lose myself in completely different surroundings. Finding the familiar in things around me would be no different than staying home. Pointless.
la domestique September 29, 2011 um 10:47 pm
Wow! Thanks for sharing your adventure. What a sight to see those bottles hanging on the pears in the tree! Also, I'm a huge fan of elderflower- the tarts look lovely.
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 29, 2011 um 11:07 pm
What an amazing trip…the photos, the people, the natural beauty, being around like-minded others in such a great setting…oh, what a lovely experience for you 🙂
Y September 29, 2011 um 11:08 pm
Ahhh, the more I see, the more I want to go to Portland too!
MikeVFMK September 29, 2011 um 11:42 pm
Really beautiful post, Helene. I've heard wonderful things about that area but I've never had the good fortune of visiting. Thankfully, this helped bridge that gap. Love the tartelettes. They're my favourite!
Marilyn Miller September 29, 2011 um 11:56 pm
The more I see the more I want to do this and I live in Portland. I have not been to most of these places, but I will say Timberline and Trillium Lake are extra special treats. I have been to Pok Pok, but I must have not had the right thing as it didn't impress. Now I need to venture out and check out some of these other places and would love to have someone teach me about the edibles in nature.
Unknown September 30, 2011 um 12:43 am
Going out there when my sister has her baby and I can't wait to check out some of these delights. What wonderful photos and I especially loved seeing those pears growing in the wine bottles. Splendid.
Nisrine September 30, 2011 um 1:09 am
Sooo pretty. I had no idea that area of the world was so beautiful.
notyet100 September 30, 2011 um 1:32 am
I feel like visiting this place
Jessica @Glaze September 30, 2011 um 2:48 am
I love the pears in the bottles! I have never had elderberry liquor but this looks like a great recipe to test it out on!
Anonymous September 30, 2011 um 4:45 am
Beautiful tarts! And I love the use of worn wood, and the blue of the painted wood, and the mountain/lake/nature shots. Such a pleasure to visit your blog.
Barbara September 30, 2011 um 7:13 am
Wow Helene it sure is a beautiful area.
london bakes September 30, 2011 um 7:36 am
Portland looks so beautiful, thank you for sharing your pictures and memories.
erica September 30, 2011 um 8:09 am
So neat to see how they set up the bottles over the growing pears and apples! And the tartelettes look beautiful, comme toujours! ^_^
Boulder Locavore September 30, 2011 um 11:31 am
Portland is definitely on my 'must visit' list largely for the food resources available there. Loved getting your first hand account in these posts of course with the wonderful photography. The winery with the pears in the bottles is fascinating! So glad you explained how they do it; looks like a magic trick! Thank you for the beautiful post.
Shelby September 30, 2011 um 11:51 am
What a delightful culinary excursion that must have been..Thank you for sharing such exotic flavor combinations and inspiring recipes to come with your memories and beautiful photographs!
decocinasytacones September 30, 2011 um 11:51 am
Hi Helene!. I´m so happy I´m getting your subscriptions back!!!, since this post which was a surprise. The post is beautiful, what a pictures!!!!.
Love from the Basque country.
Rachel [email protected] September 30, 2011 um 12:09 pm
Those photos are exquisite. Looks like what I want heaven to be! Including those mini burgers…they jumped out at me! Love pears…want to experiment with that gluten-free tart crust…I am gluten-intolerant too..
Carrie Pacini September 30, 2011 um 12:39 pm
The pictures look amazing. The pear brandy sounds wonderful. I've been drinking vin santo lately but will have to switch it out one evening for pear brandy!
Nina Timm September 30, 2011 um 2:00 pm
Ok, so I am ready to pack my bags and go on a trip to Portland. Lovely essay and pics, as always!
Anonymous September 30, 2011 um 2:01 pm
Pretty pretty! I adore elderflower and think it works so well with cream. Those figs look delicious too – what a gorgeous dessert.
Crystal September 30, 2011 um 2:30 pm
These Portland posts are soo wonderful and making me so very homesick.
Marian September 30, 2011 um 2:43 pm
As a life long Oregon Resident, Thank you for showing the wonders of our State. Good thing you visited when you did, next week the raining season starts!
Pétra September 30, 2011 um 4:23 pm
It's so fun to see Portland through other peoples eyes it makes me want to go to Trillium Lake and drink brandy! I love St Germain it has such a delicate flavor but I haven't used it in a dessert yet yummy.
Morethanbarcelona September 30, 2011 um 7:39 pm
I like very much your photos, they look amazing, I think Portland will be in my wishlist when going to the USA.
Thank you much!!!
Rocky Mountain Woman September 30, 2011 um 7:55 pm
Ok, it's time for me to head to the coast again. BTW, Phelps Creek is one of my regular stops, I love their wines!!
Tickled Red September 30, 2011 um 9:13 pm
What an amazing trip love, thank you so much for sharing it. I've never been to Oregon and now I can't wait. Everything looked to pretty to eat. I adore your recipe and I have to say seeing St. Germain made me giggle 😉 I hope that you guys get some down time soon. Xoxo
Unknown September 30, 2011 um 10:02 pm
As I sit here in my SW Portland home, I am in awe of how beautiful Portland is from your eyes. My oldest son did an internship at Pok Pok for his High School senior project two years ago. It is a one of a kind place. We became addicted to those fish sauce wings. Same son also bought me your book for Mother's Day… he is a sweetie!
Mariel September 30, 2011 um 11:55 pm
I absolutely love Portland! It looks like you got to see the best parts of it. I will be there next week, do you have any suggestions of something I must see that you have not yet mentioned?
BTW your blog inspires me so much and I have been a reader for a long time. Everything is gorgeous.
Anonymous October 1, 2011 um 12:08 am
These pictures are so beautiful! I actually just checked airfares too…I am now dying to try some of that brandy 🙂
Thanks for sharing
The InTolerant Chef ™ October 1, 2011 um 1:05 am
What dainty little tarts, so sweet and elegant. The fruit in bottles is such a great idea!
Anonymous October 1, 2011 um 3:27 am
What beautiful photos (of course). The tarts are stunning and look delicious!
Valérie (France) October 1, 2011 um 8:45 am
Voilà tout ce que j'aime … sans parler des photos qui sont superbes et parlantes
Je te souhaite un samedi ensoleillée
Shaheen [The Purple Foodie] October 1, 2011 um 2:21 pm
I have been reading way too much about Eldeflower on blog suddenly, and all I crave is some Elderflower cordial. Gorgeous photos as always, Helene. Also, I'm almost done reading your book, and like all good books, I just don't want it to get over.
Dmarie October 1, 2011 um 4:47 pm
wow, what a great post. thx for sharing your wondrous adventures!!
Mary October 1, 2011 um 4:58 pm
Travel Oregon should hire you for some photo consulting! As an Oregonian, I must agree with you, looking at Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake is just sooooo breathtaking! Timberline Lodge is a place I always take my out-of-town guests when we drive up to Portland (I live in Eugene!)
Mary in Oregon
Anonymous October 1, 2011 um 6:12 pm
A pear INSIDE a wine bottle!? THAT IS AMAZING!
Your pictures are captivating!
kyleen October 1, 2011 um 9:37 pm
You take such gorgeous photos! I love the second one with the mountain and its reflection on the lake.
plume October 1, 2011 um 11:49 pm
I will repeat what everybody else is saying >> your pictures are AMAZING !
Gen October 2, 2011 um 11:58 am
Quels paysages époustouflants! Les tartelettes sont très appétissantes également!
Gen October 2, 2011 um 11:58 am
Quels paysages époustouflants! Les tartelettes sont très appétissantes également!
Anonymous October 2, 2011 um 12:54 pm
This is absolutely beautiful. Love it!
Gourmenderies October 3, 2011 um 11:23 am
Have you come to Tarragona this past weekend at the Food Photo Festival?
I would love to know you personally next year, because I hope to live to admire your photos, and even love to attend your workshop.
I have your book, sleeps beside me every day. I request a version in Spanish.
I sincerely hope that next year you are present in Tarragona and realize my dream.
Anonymous October 3, 2011 um 7:01 pm
Those pictures look amazing. And how did you get the pear in the bottle. Just curious. LOL.
argone October 4, 2011 um 8:50 am
Quel merveilleux voyage, j'adore les bouteilles avec des poires dedans, ça a toujours un air de "c'est magique" !!
YouPixel October 4, 2011 um 8:40 pm
What wonderful pics!
Bianca October 4, 2011 um 10:12 pm
Wooowww, what an adventure.
And what amazing food experiences. I love all your colors, your meditative expression and the creativity behind your posts.
So great. Thank you.
Tracy Grant October 5, 2011 um 12:59 am
A trip of a lifetime! I'm so glad you got to go. Your photos are amazing and so are your writings…thank you!
ChichaJo October 5, 2011 um 1:19 am
Lovely photos of a lovely trip…thanks for sharing! It was certainly a breath of fresh air looking at them as I sit in the middle of my very busy (and congested) city!
And a gorgeous tartlette! Fresh figs…mmmm!
chutneyandspice October 5, 2011 um 11:48 am
I love those bottles with pears growing inside them, how ingenious! What an interesting trip, and the tarts look delicious.
theminx October 5, 2011 um 4:46 pm
Your photos are amazing!
Anonymous October 5, 2011 um 8:44 pm
Wonderful pictures, great landscapes and great food!
buy mobile phones October 6, 2011 um 3:04 pm
wonder full pics i guess so they have all colors in it.
Unknown October 6, 2011 um 4:30 pm
I love the internet.
This morning I somehow found myself on a foodie site called Food Bridge by Sarah Melamed. www.sarahmelamed.com. She lives in Israel… lovely recipes, photos, and more. You were listed as one of her favorite sites. I click to you and WOW… your home post is about Portland, my town! I enjoyed reading about your trip and am so happy you had such a lovely time. Come visit again.
And your photos are Beautiful!
Unknown October 7, 2011 um 5:57 am
Your post made me dream…I went to google maps to follow your itinerary and to Travel Oregon'site and inmediately added the place to my (huge) list of "places I want to visit before I die". Thank you for sharing.
Also, congratulations on being fully booked for shoots! 🙂
Danielle October 8, 2011 um 2:02 am
Those pear in bottles look like the work of a magician. Seriously. You cracked me up with the line that eau de vie is akin to medicine for your family – all the more reason to enjoy a post-dinner sip or two 🙂
Also, these tartelettes are adorable!
Anonymous October 9, 2011 um 12:11 pm
This post is very inspiring and you could totally capture the calmness and tranquility the sights must have radiated. Yopu make me wanna see Portland and your eldertart looks delicious. I'm definitely putting it on my to-bake list 🙂
Unknown October 12, 2011 um 4:05 am
Beautiful blog – this tart looks amazing!