Food, Beer & Buffoonery - Hops

Cheeseburger Tart?

The other day, I had a very nice slice of Olallieberry tart from Kelly’s French Bakery. As I like to cook and bake, this inspired me to go buy a tart pan last night so that I could prepare my own something-or-other-berry-tart today.

This morning, preparing to wash the pan, I removed the outer cardboard that was affixed to the pan with that ultra sticky rubber cement type stuff so often used on bakeware today. Though I had a recipe in mind from a French cookbook that I inherited from my grandfather, I do know that oft times bakeware comes with a recipe or two printed on the packaging. So I flipped the cardboard over, and there staring at me in the face, printed on this French Tart Pan, was the unlikeliest of all recipes — the Cheeseburger Tart.


Of course, tarts are not always sweet things. One might use a tart pan to make a quiche or a Clafoutian aux Légumes. But a Cheeseburger Tart? Could you possible print a more un-French recipe on the packaging? Who would actually bake such a thing?

I mean, really, what person in this company’s marketing department (because in the past several years, at my place of employment, I’ve become convinced that it’s always someone in marketing responsible for such follies) would be scanning the vast World Encyclopedia of Food for that perfect recipe to accompany their product, and then suddenly, in a moment of pure brilliance, puts away all the cookbooks they’ve been researching through and scribbles down the recipe for a Cheeseburger tart.

And there’s another side to all of this. As with so many products these days, my tart pan was made in China. Do we really want the Chinese thinking that out of all the fine foods that can be made in a tart pan, what the Americans really want is a Cheeseburger Tart?

Or perhaps I’ve got it all backwards. Perhaps it was someone in China who created this recipe based on internet searches and the preconceived notion (or stereotype) that, when it comes down to it, all that American’s really want is a nice Cheeseburger, so let’s give it to them in tart form. If this is the case, someone please send some new Ambassadors to China!

I might expect a recipe like this on the packaging of a casserole dish sold at Wal-Mart, but a French Tart pan from Bed Bath and Beyond? Not that BB&B is some high class joint, but still. I don’t think the marketers of this pan knew who they were selling to. Did they really expect some person to arrive home with their new tart pan and burst with excitement on discovering that they had purchased, not just the tart pan, but a recipe for a Cheeseburger Tart? These two words should not even be used in the same sentence, let alone used to describe one single dish.

There’s no copyright listed anywhere near the recipe, nor can I imagine anyone wanting to claim a “right” to such a recipe. So, in keeping with two themes of my blog, Food and Buffoonery, I’ll now present you with, the Cheeseburger Tart:

Cheeseburger Tart

One 9-inch round refrigerated pie crust (notice it calls for a pie crust and not a tart shell ?!?!?)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder and seasoned salt
1/2 tsp salt (as if the seasoned salt weren’t enough)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can (15.5oz) Sloppy Joe mix (it just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?)
1 can (8.67oz) corn, drained (8.67???)
1/4 cup sliced black olives (I love olives, but now my stomach is really starting to turn)
8 slices medium sharp cheddar cheese
Red and yellow bell peppers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom of tart pan (finally, it’s now a tart and not a pie) with vegetable pan spray. Roll out pie crust to 12-inches (oops, it’s been demoted to a pie again). Press crust into bottom and sides of tart pan; trim edges. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

In medium skillet, brown ground beef with onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain fat. Add seasonings, sauce, corn and olives to ground beef mixture. Place four slices of cheese on bottom of baked crust. Add filling and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Garnish with slices of red and yellow pepper or whole petite peppers, if desired. (Note, the only remotely elegant thing about this dish is “optional”).

Serves 6-8

By the way, while I was typing this up, the Cheeseburger Tart recipe was sitting next to my French cookbook and in a moment of eerie coincidence, the ultra-sticky-rubber-cement-type-stuff that was still all over the packaging on which the Cheeseburger Tart recipe was printed affixed itself to the French cookbook, right to the page listing the recipe for Tarte aux Myrtilles, a Blueberry tart. Was the Cheeseburger Tart recipe trying to tell me something? Was the Cheeseburger tart striving for acceptance? Or was it crying for help, wishing it were a “real” tart filled with elegance and glamour — jealous in the realization that it would never make it to the refrigerated display case at Kelly’s French Bakery. Fortunately I was able to detach the conjoined recipes without ripping the cookbook.

UPDATE: I discovered that if you type “Cheeseburger Tart” into Google, the top hit is my blog posting here. I’m debating on whether that’s a good thing or not.

Schwarzbier and Sticke Alt

So, I’m finally making a post on my blog. I thought I’d just reminisce on my latest brews.

Currently in the fermentor I have a German Schwarzbier (black beer). It’s probably in my top 3 favorite beer styles and the one I made last winter turned out great. It’s fermenting in the shed we have out back where it’s staying a cool 55°F. Last week it was down to 50°F in there. Next week it’ll be time to keg it and stick it in the fridge to lager for a month. I haven’t brewed since we moved and my keg fridge has been unplugged the whole time. Needless to say it’s very, very stinky (to put it mildly) in there. I think I’ll have to make use of some old clothes and bleach before putting any precious beer in there!

I was reading my book on German Alt beers today and read a section on a special type of Alt, called a Sticke Alt, meaning “secret” Alt in the local Düsseldorf dialect. Apparently the Alt breweries in Düsseldorf (the home of Altbier) brew a special Alt beer once a year and call it Sticke Alt. It’s a chance for the brewers to play around, so the recipes differ from year to year, but there is almost some stylistic guideline that can be taken from these beers. Basically, they are an Alt beer made stronger, darker and hoppier. It’s almost a German stout, if you like. So, I formulated a recipe for one of these and I think this may be my next beer….or….one of my next anway. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Greg’s Sticke Alt

This is closely based on a recipe for a Sticke in my Alt book, though not exactly the same.

1.057 OG and 50.2 IBU
90 minute boil

5.3 lbs Pilsner malt
2.6 lbs Munich malt
2.5 lbs CaraAmber (or Crystal 60L)
13 oz CaraHell
0.25 lbs Black Malt

(I know, that’s a lot of Caramel/Crystal, but the guidelines say so. 😉 )

2.7 oz Spalt (4.8%) at 60 min
0.6 oz Spalt @ 5 min
1.2 oz Spalt steeped for 5 minutes after boil or dry hop in secondary

Then use a nice Alt yeast. A must! A protein rest is recommended.

Once brewed, I’ll let you know how it is….