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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Andouille Onion Galette

It’s a fine skill to be able to plan a menu and execute it well. Lately, though, I’ve been taking pride in my new ability to cook on the fly, especially when it means making something out of nothing, as it did with this galette.

For at least two weeks, I’ve been trying to get by with what I have until one of my less car-deprived friends takes me to the grocery store. I was almost ready to give up and go to a restaurant yesterday, but then after reading MFK Fisher talk about onion tarts, I remembered that onions were just about the only vegetable I had, and hey, maybe I could make one of those galettes I always admire on the blogs.

So I found a recipe for a savory dough with flour and cornmeal, put that together in 10 minutes, then let it chill for an hour. In the meantime, I remembered a package of andouille sausage deep in my freezer. As for the onions, I started to cook them with a little salt and olive oil. We were out of butter so I used a splash of my roommate’s heavy whipping cream. I poured in some sherry and sprinkled in some herbs de Provence for added Frenchness. I assembled the galette, and it was ready shortly after my friends arrived.

I was nervous serving it, but they loved it (and so did I). My friend Amy just wanted to try it since she already ate, but then she went up for seconds. Between bites, Kat looked at me and shook her head, disbelieving or admiring or both.

The tart was rich and needed a side dish. I really wanted some salad greens with a light vinaigrette, but I was fresh out of anything green. I did have three carrots, though, so I shred those and tossed them with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds.

Voilà, another little something out of nothing.

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