Saturday, October 10, 2009

Great Dinner and a Yummy Tart!

Our dinner last night went really well! I made a Moroccan shepherd's pie loaded down with tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, fresh tomatoes, dried cherries, and pumpkin seeds, spiced with cumin and coriander, topped with orangey mashed sweet potatoes and mashed white potatoes marbled together in a pretty way. To go with it, I also made a fresh-picked tomato salad in a gingery dressing and some homemade refrigerator rolls, and my friend brought a delicious raw kale salad and an excellent pinot noir. And then we had dessert.

I'm still playing with my new tart pans, so I had to try a tart. After some brainstorming and one failed crust, here's what I came up with. It was delicious and perfect for an autumn evening with friends!

Tart Shell:
3/4 c hazelnuts
3/4 c rolled oats
3/4 c whole wheat flour
Cinnamon to taste
Pinch of salt
1/4 c canola oil
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

6 apples
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c apple cider
1 c cranberries
Allspice and cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a food processor, whiz up the hazelnuts, rolled oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt until it looks like a coarse meal. Whisk the oil and maple syrup together in a medium bowl, then stir in the dry mixture. Pat the mixture into four tartlet pans, then bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and transfer the shells from the pans to small plates once they're at room temperature.

Peel, core, and slice the apples, then toss in a big bowl with the lemon juice. Set aside until you're ready to make dessert.

For the filling, melt the butter in a heavy skillet, then stir in the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar begins to caramelize. Mix in the cider and continue cooking until it starts to thicken up. Add the apples and stir them up so they're coated with the caramel, and keep cooking until the apples are softening and the caramel gets thicker (about 10 minutes). Stir in the spices and cranberries, and keep cooking until the cranberries have popped and there's no more liquid. Spoon into the tart shells, let cool about 10 minutes, and serve.

Goes nicely with a little port, too!

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