Caramel, Chocolate and Salted Almond Tart

I got inspired for this recipe when I was looking through “The Art and Soul of Baking,” by Cindy Mushet. I came across this insanely gorgeous “Baci Tart with Frangelico Cream” which, the photo itself is stunning and the ingredients were delectable. So I had to take on this recipe… with a few changes I came up with this decadent Chocolate, Caramel and Salted Almond Tart.

Ingredients

Chocolate Dough Recipe

1/2 Cup Organic Heavy Cream

1/2 Stick Organic Butter

1/4 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Almond Flavored Syrup or 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Cup Salted Almonds, chopped

2 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped

Coarse Sea Salt for garnish

Chocolate Dough Recipe Ingredients

1 stick Organic Butter

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg Yolk

1 Cup Organic AP Flour

2 1/2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Valhorna is what I use)

Directions:

1: Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the egg yolk and beat well.

2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Blend just until the dough comes together.

3: Scrape the dough in a tart pan. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and up the side of the pan. Press from the center of the pan outward, building up some extra dough where the bottom meets the side. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use

1: BAKE THE SHELL– (You can use a tart pan or 6 small tart pans)Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Bake the tart shell(s) for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. You may leave the oven on.

2: MAKE THE FILLING– Combine the cream, butter and chocolate in small saucepan and heat just until the cream begins to simmer and the butter and chocolate is fully melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit while you make the caramel.

3: Combine the water and syrup in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and almond syrup over the top. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof silicone spatula, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Turn the heat to high and boil rapidly, swilring the pan occcasionally (do not stir) to cook the sugar evenly, until it turns a golden honey color. Then remove from the heat and immediately add the warm cream and butter mixture. Be careful!

4: Stir with a spatula to blend the caramel and cream. If there are any bits of hardened caramel, put the pan over the lowest possible heat and stir gently until the caramel melts. Add the almonds to the caramel and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel turns a light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately pour the filling into the cooled tart shells.

5: Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Then sprinkle with the coarse sea salt for garnish.

… and oh my goodness!

Arugula, Apple and Date Salad with Pistachios

This salad is one that I make at least 3 times a week. I just love the combination of spicy Arugula, sweet Dates, crunchy Apples and salty Pistachios. A dish this easy to make, its the perfect light dinner or appetizer for any night of the week.

*Ingredients

*Amount depends how many your are serving, so with this recipe figure the amount that suites you.

Arugula (about 1 cup per person)

Dates, sliced

Apple, sliced into strips

Pistachios, chopped

Feta Cheese, optional

Vinaigrette (recipe below)

 

Homemade Vinaigrette

1/4 cup Walnut or Olive Oil

3-4 Tablespoons Sherry, Red or Balsamic Vinager

2 teaspoons Whole Grain Mustard

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with lid and shake shake shake! This recipe makes many servings, so keep it in the fridge for quick and easy dressing to any salad you make.

ENJOY!

Almond Truffle Bark with Lemon and Smoked Flake Sea Salt

The other day I experienced a complete “Julie and Julia” moment, when I was gifted two unique culinary items from a kind and dear women. The gifts were two different flavors of Flake Sea Salts; Lemon and Smoked. I was contemplating what to do with these ingredients, and I knew it had to be a something special… Therefore, there is nothing more special to me than of course, CHOCOLATE. So, a crunch from Almonds, melt in your mouth chocolate combined with these amazingly delicious smokey and citrus salts…

I have for you one word for you: SEXY

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Almonds, Toasted

1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon Organic Butter, Unsalted

1/2-1 teaspoon of each Flake Sea Salt

Directions

First toast the almonds in a pan for about 4 minutes on medium heat. As soon as they begin to brown and you can smell them, they are done and set aside. In another pan melt together the chocolate chips and butter. Prepare a piece of parchment paper by placing it on a baking pan. Place the almonds on the paper, and pour the melted chocolate over the almonds and lastly put the Lemon Salt on half of the almond chocolate bark and the Smoked Salt on the other half. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours. When you are ready to enjoy, break the truffles into pieces and enjoy each elegant bite.

Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets Goat Cheese and Pistachios


Arugula is such a fun leafy vegetable.. Its Beautiful and Peppery, therefore it complements many differnt flavor combinations. This salad is so easy to prepare and perfect for a gathering or a lovely first course to any dinner.

Ingredients

2-6 Cups (Depending how many you are serving) Organic Arugula

8 oz Goat Cheese

1-2 pounds Gold or Red Organic Beets

1/4 Cup Pistachios

Sherry Dressing

2 teaspoons Grain Mustard

1-2 teaspoons Sherry Vinagar

1/3 Cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon Pepper, Fresh Ground

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and rinse the Beets then place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender. Set aside.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients and whisk until the dressing is completely emulsified.

Into a salad bowl, add in the Arugula and a few tablespoons of the dressing and stir until the Arugula is coated well. Then add about 1 cup of the salad to your serving plates and top off with the Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Pistachios. You may add more Dressing if you wish.

Simply Beautiful!

Parmesan and Ricotta Cheese Pizza with Pistachios Bacon and Micro Greens

I adore making pizza at home… I seem to be making it more and more these days, because it is so versatile. Whatever flavors you crave you can turn it into a pizza! I chose to combine salty Parmesan with crunchy Pistachios and sweet Applewood Smoked Bacon topped with Beautiful peppery Micro Greens.

Ingredients

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe

1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Pepper, Fresh Ground

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 Cup Pistachios, Chopped

4 Strips Applewood Smoked Bacon, Sliced into 1-2″ strips

1/2 Cup Micro Greens

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Prepare the dough and sprinkle a small amount of corn meal on a pizza stone or baking pizza pan to prevent the pizza from sticking. In a bowl combine together the Ricotta, Parmesan, Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Pepper, mix well then place the mixture atop of the prepared pizza dough. Then layer with the Bacon and half of the Pistachios.

Bake the Pizza for 14-18 minutes until the dough is browned and the bacon is crispy.

Before serving garnish with the remaining Pistachios and  the Micro Greens.

This pizza can be served as an appetizer, an elegant lunch or simple dinner. It also pairs nicely with a glass of Malbec!  Specifically my new favorite “Tilia Merlot 2008,” A gorgeous Syrah and Malbec blend.

Bon Appetit!