The Christmas feel good movies and the festive music have all suddenly been replaced with countdowns of the Best and Worst of 2010. Perhaps I should do a reflective post of my own, and focus on what has been a year of tremendous change, but I am not in the right frame of mind for it. Really what I should do is dress up, make-up and go out this evening with the masses and welcome the New Year in the big city, but the slushy grey mush left behind by the snow is just so uninviting.
Instead we choose to stay home like lovebirds. This is not new to us, the past few years has seen us actually quite content to stay at home and see in the New Year, but this New Years Eve we are both seriously lacking cheer and sense of direction, so to lift our mood a little. D has picked up a bottle of bubbly and I have made this very adult dessert which we have already greedily tucked into.
I actually made use of my under-utilised Magimix blender to make the dough. I also used my American cups to make this tart. I thought it made sense this time as this was a very American recipe.
I really enjoyed biting into the almond pastry though it was a pain to roll out as it stuck to the marbled board. I also enjoyed the oozy tartness and zingy flavours of the bursting fresh cranberries, but the final drizzling of the melted dark chocolate was a different matter. The chocolate was just too intense. Even D who adores his chocolate said it was too dominant. Once the melted chocolate had set, I was able to peel it off the tart. In fact I think white chocolate would work better here.
This berry jewelled rich cranberry and chocolate tart needs something to cut through the sharp and intense flavours. I would recommend perhaps some whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.
For now though, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy New Year and may your 2011 be a good one filled with memories to treasure! I am trying to remain optimistic about 2011 and what it may bring for us.
Cranberry chocolate tart
For the pastry base
1 ½ cups plain white flour
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
1 medium egg yolk
Grating of nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped flaked almonds
1 – 2 tablespoons cold water
For the cranberry filling
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in ¼ cup of water
Optional: ½ cup of dark or white chocolate
Combine the flour, sugar, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Beat together the egg yolk, nutmeg and vanilla in a cup and pour it into the dough; pulse briefly. Add the almonds and pulse again. Add enough cold water to combine and make a firm dough . Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile cook the cranberries on medium heat, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the sugar and simmer until is has dissolved and the berries are juicy. Pour in the cornflour mixture and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat.
Preheat oven to gas mark 6.
Roll out the chilled dough to line a 10 inch tart tin, pressing about an inch of the pastry up the sides and folding over the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to gas mark 4 and bake for 15 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and firm. Set aside to cool for about an hour.
When the crust is cool, melt the chocolate. Drizzle half of it onto the crust and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Evenly spoon over the cranberry filling, then drizzle the rest of the chocolate here and there, so that the cranberry filling shines through. Allow the chocolate to firm up before serving the tart. Slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates from The Mossewood Collective.