Cranberry, Pecan and Dulce de Leche Tart


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People always seem to come up with a reason why they think they wouldn't like this tart. I don't like pecans. Dulce de leche is too sweet. Cranberries aren't my thing. But somehow, everything comes together in a way that just works. The cranberries and dulce de leche balance each other out, and the whole thing is so delicious the pecans probably won't even bother you…unless you're prone to anaphylactic shock upon contact with them.

Anyway, this is a dessert I've made several times since I saw cranberry caramel almond tartelettes on Smitten Kitchen years ago. I go to Argentina often so I always think of dulce de leche instead of caramel. And since my sister is allergic to almonds, I've started to use pecans instead. I also make one big tart instead of several smaller ones like Deb did.

What is amazing about this recipe besides the trifecta of nuts, cranberries and dulce de leche is the rich crust that tastes like a shortbread cookie. The dough comes from chef/owner of City Bakery, Mary Rubin, and it's…divine is the word that comes to mind, even though I'm not the type of person who normally says divine.

But this tart is, whether you follow the original City Bakery recipe or try my version. I'd say Valentine's Day would be a prime time to get one in the oven. It makes a nice holiday tart — I made it for Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve — but, hey, any day ending in Y is occasion enough.

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Curried Couscous with Cranberries

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The best part about couscous is that it cooks in five minutes. And it soaks up flavors so well. And it’s light and fluffy. And, oh yeah, you could be eating it less than 10 minutes from now.

This recipe involves slightly more prep, but it’s still absurdly easy. We ate this as a side with a goat rack rubbed with ras el hanout. It works hot or cold, and is great with tzaziki.

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Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

cranberry-cornmeal-cake1Dessert recipes usually aren’t as forgiving as savory dishes, but I still can’t ever seem to follow the rules. I had a big bag of cornmeal and frozen cranberries — the main ingredients — but didn’t want to go to the store for anything else. I swapped plain yogurt for ricotta, honey for maple syrup, dried orange rind for fresh zest and some margarine since we only had one stick of butter.

cranberry-cornmeal-cake2No one had any complaints about the result. The cake is a nice, not-too-sweet dessert. And on Day 2, it’s more moist, and the cranberries are a little less tart. I have a lot of hungry friends, though, so it didn’t make it to Day 3.

cranberry-cornmeal-cake3I can only imagine how great it would be with ricotta and maple syrup. Yogurt was a good substitute though, and I would always choose pure honey if your only other option is fake maple-and-butter-flavored corn syrup.

This would also be great with an orange glaze, as Kat suggested.

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