Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Time is flying by....

Anyone else amazed it is the middle of December??!! Where has the time gone. The weather makes me feel like it is Fall but I have to keep reminding myself it is Winter!

It seems like time has come and gone and we are almost at the end of 2015. It feels like yesterday we were just looking forward to this year starting. As I get older, time goes by faster and faster. Is it me or does it feel like there are times you missed out on what is around you just because there is so much going on and so little time to enjoy it?

Some weeks I feel like I have to stop and remind myself to enjoy the leaves on the trees or a burning fireplace, to enjoy a conversation with friends or the scenery around me. There are so many moments we miss out on because we are so worried about what is around the next bend. Have you ever caught yourself not being present?! I think we all find times when we could be more present. 

Hopefully at least for me, in 2016, the goal will remind myself to be more present in day-to-day things. To enjoy life when I can and to remind myself there is more when I get distracted.  There are many new goals for 2016, for one I hope to be able to spend more time in the kitchen wandering through one of my many cookbooks or creating new treats to share with others.  

Today I am excited to share with you a wonderful treat I was able to create for family this holiday season - Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tart.  This is a special treat which is a nice change from the pecan and pumpkin desserts usually around for the holidays. Those who know me know I love shortbread crust. I have to say it is probably my favorite tart crust. In this recipe, I have combined it with cranberries, caramel and almonds. A nice mix of sweet and tart and perfect for the holiday season. I hope you enjoy and find time for yourself to enjoy every little moment!

Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tart


Caramel (recommend making ahead):
·       2 C Sugar
·       ¼ C Light Corn Syrup
·       1¼  C Whipping Cream
·       ½ C Water
·       10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
·       ½ C Sugar
·       ½  tsp Vanilla
·       1½ cup Unbleached Flour
·       Pinch of salt

·       7 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
·       1/3 C Almond Paste
·       ½ C Sugar
·       2 Large Eggs
·       1/3 C Cake Flour

Cranberry Almond Topping:
·       1 lb Cranberries, fresh
·       1 C Sliced Almonds

This tart will need to be made in steps. The caramel can be made a day ahead.

For Caramel:
In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Place over high heat and cook, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush dipped in ice water, until mixture is amber in color. (This will take a while 30-45 min) Remove from heat and slowly stir in cream. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

For Frangipane:
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and almond paste, combine. Add sugar. Add egg and beat, scrape down sides of bowl, until combined. Turn mixer to low, add cake flour, until well combined. Set aside.

For Crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F.

Using a fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to 10-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan until covered. Bake crust until golden, about 16 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.

Turn oven temperature down to 350°F

For Cranberry Almond Topping:
While tart crust is cooling, in a large bowl, combine cranberries, almonds, and enough caramel to hold cranberries and almonds together, about 1¼ C. Set Aside.

Once cooled time has completed on crust, spread frangipane across crust. Bake until frangipane springs back when touched with your fingertip, about 16 minutes. Transfer tart to rack and cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.

Once cooled time has completed on frangipane, spread cranberry mixture on top of frangipane. Place tart back in oven and bake until cranberries just begin to pop, about 8 minutes.

Tart can be made 1 day ahead and left covered once cooled at room temperature. Tart will become soft of made any earlier.