Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chocolate, Orange, and Cranberry Tart

With people starting to make Valentine's plans already, I thought I would post this dessert recipe. I came up with this recipe for our date night. It is relatively easy, and it takes just a few minutes to whip together. As impressive as it looks, it is just as simple to make. The hardest part is the wait times. This dessert does need to be chilled so it takes time to make, but it could be made the day before the event and held in the refrigerator until needed.

Special Equipment:
~ 2 mini tart pans (4 inch diameter)
~ fine mesh strainer

  ~ 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  ~ 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  ~ 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  ~ 1/4 cup butter
  ~ a pinch of salt if you are using unsalted butter
  ~ 1 tsp vanilla extract

  ~ egg
  ~ 1/2 cup sour cream
  ~ 3 tbsp sugar
  ~ 1 tbsp flour
  ~ 1 tbsp milk
  ~ 1/2 tsp vanilla

  ~ 1/2 cup cranberries
  ~ 1/3 cup sugar
  ~ 1/4 tsp finely shredded orange peel
  ~ 1/4 cup orange juice
  ~ 1 medium orange peeled and segmented

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Using some extra butter, grease your two tart pans, making sure to get into all the tight corners. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Place the butter in a pan and heat gently until just melted, cool slightly. Add the vanilla extract to the cooled butter. Stir butter into the sifted dry ingredients and mix with a fork until it all comes together. Evenly divide mix between the two pans and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes.

After the shells cool, make the filling by slightly beating the egg with a fork. Stir in the sour cream, sugar, flour, milk, and vanilla. Pour an equal amount of the filling between the two shells. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the centers are set, and an knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool them on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill 4-24 hours.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, in a small saucepan combine the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle boil. Boil until just slightly thickened, around 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Push the sauce through the strainer gently to separate out the skin and seeds of the cranberries from the sauce. Add the shredded orange peel to the strained sauce. Cover and chill sauce 4-24 hours until well chilled. If the sauce is too thick to spread easily, gently warm the sauce a bit again and add a little water until it reaches a good spreading consistency.

To serve, pop the tarts out of their pans. Add a generous layer of the sauce over the top of the tart and arrange the segmented orange slices on top. Enjoy!

***  If you want to make one large tart for a dinner party of more than two, double the recipe in each section and use a 10 inch tart pan. ***

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