I wanted to share this recipe for a scrumptious tart that I made this past thanksgiving. Not a traditional turkey day pie, so I think it would be grand for the Christmas table as well. Previous years I had dabbled in rum raisin custard and other interesting cream pies but my French tart pans had yet to grace the table and I wanted to create something new. In a sea of brown apple and orange pumpkin I thought how wonderful to offer something with a reddish hue. As the great poetess of tarts Tamasin Day-Lewis has said the holidays call for something, “scarlet and latticed… distinctly elevating to the spirits”. Scarlet, Yes I would make a scarlet jam tart. And this, the word scarlet, is what brought me to thoughts of Hester Prynne. It seems du rigueur these days to have some sort of wild inspiration for your dishes with all the reality cooking competitions, “that panna cotta is so Carrie Bradshaw season three” or “I see the fall of Rome in that souffle.” So I had found mine in Hester Prynne. What sort of dessert would she bring to supper, what would Prynne’s offering be? Living amongst puritans with that pesky “pleasure is sin” belief I am sure that one was expected to bring something proper and prim, prim and proper. But this I know. The cooking always reveals something about the cook. So I imagine that our dear Hester couldn’t help herself. The tart would be humble in appearance; one might fear the noose turning up with Nipples of Venus or some other overtly provocative thing but be sure there would be a hidden surprise, wild fruits or exotic spice. Subtlety lost not on Tinsdale, he would get her message, something unbridled within. So Voluptuaries this is one for the recipe box, jam made with wild ligonberries and star anise draped in a crisp linzer crust, Puritans proceed with caution sinful pleasure contained within.
Adapted from the Linzertorte recipe in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
one 11x18 inch tart
2 1/2 cups
Wild Ligonberry Sauce
Long Strips of Clementine or Orange Zest
Vanilla Bean, scraped
Star Anise, whole
hazelnuts, toasted ** (Purchase the blond hazelnuts without the brown papery skin)
1 1/3 cups
all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
spieze forti **(can substitute a combo of 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves)
Combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt in a sauce pan.
Cook to a vigorous bubble over medium heat 5-7 minutes.
Once the berries have given up their juices strain the mixture through a chinos or a fine mesh sieve into a new saucepan.
Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking 10-15 minutes until the mixture gives up a gorgeous perfume and coats the back of a spoon, “nappant” as the French say.
Allow the jam to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse the toasted hazelnuts and almonds in the food processor until ground fine.
In another bowl combine the dry ingredients flour, baking powder, spieze forti, and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar in another bowl until pale and airy. (Best to use kitchen aid) Add the egg yolk and beat to combine, tip in orange zest.
Then dump in dry ingredients and nuts. Mix just until incorporated and then divide dough in half.
Take an 11 x 8 inch tart pan with a pop out bottom and press one half of dough into pan and up the sides.
. Chill dough in tart pan 30 minutes.
Meanwhile roll out 11 x 8 inch rectangle of dough on parchment and chill 30 minutes.
Spread scarlet jam on chilled tart pan dough. Cut dough on parchment sheet into strips and do lattice work. It would also be cool to cut this dough into shapes stars, or leaves and top the tart with those. Freeze 30 minutes.
Bake the tart 40 minutes until brown and toasty. Turn the pan halfway through cooking to ensure even browning of the tart.
When ready to serve, whip some cream with powdered sugar and vanilla and sprinkle the tart with icing sugar.
**A famed Tuscan Aphrodisiac~ Spieze Forti spice blend can be ordered on the web at http://www.republicofbeans.com/