FAIRYTALE FEASTS

BECAUSE ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD THE MOST AMAZING [INSERT FOOD HERE] …

November 23, 2010

Fairytale Thanksgiving Feasts: Dessert


I know Thanksgiving is traditionally associated with pumpkin pies, apple pies, pumpkin rolls, and other fall baked treats. But anyone that knows me knows that I don't (can't) bake. That doesn't mean I don't try though! 

When you fail at cooking, many times you can save your dish by fudging the recipe or adding more ingredients. But baking is so scientific and mathematical, it hinders my natural instinct to want to estimate the measurements of ingredients and add in my own flare to a recipe. So, I did what I do best for my Fairytale Thanksgiving Feast.  I made a rustic baked apple and cranberry crumble.  I also found a way to add in chocolate to this meal. Because for me, that is always the best part! This Fairytale Chocolate Pecan Tart, while technically a baked dessert, is so easy to make and CLEANUP IS EASY. I adopted this recipe from a Cooking Light recipe. The entire thing is prepared in a medium saucepan on the stovetop and thanks to the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust, it's almost idiot-proof. And the results are sooo worth it. Believe me, if you like brownies or anything chocolatey, like I do, then you will have to make this tart. I promise it will be a recipe you want to make over and over again!


Fairytale Chocolate Pecan Tart
(Serves 8)
Ingredients:
1 cup Nestle's semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs, beaten
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust half (the kind that unrolls!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an old-fashioned metal tart pan OR coat a removable-bottom tart pan with Pam baking spray. Lay the Pillsbury pie crust over the pan and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. (Don't force it into the crevices too much - you want to be able to get this tart out!)

Combine brown sugar, flour, salt and corn syrup in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and whisk together until well blended. Bring mixture to a boil while whisking. Remove from heat and immediately add the butter, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is smooth. Stir in the pecans. Let cool for a minute or two and add the egg.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust.  Back in the middle of the oven for a half hour. You can insert the toothpick into the center of the tart. It shouldn't be wet or clean but have somewhat of a fudgy texture. You don't want to overcook the tart.

When you remove the tart from the oven, if you are using a metal tart pan, let cool COMPLETELY for at least a half hour. Then gently press a large dish over the top of tart and turn over as you would a jello mold. Tap the tart gently on all sides and then left the metal tart pan away from the tart. It should be upside down on your dish. Invert the tart onto your serving platter.

Serve with a doll-up of cool whip or homemade whipped cream.
I baked! And I was so thrilled it came out to be so delicious! 
I also love to make this Baked Apple Cranberry Crumble. Like my summer specialty Fairytale Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, this is a rustic dish that is easy to make and it's fun because the measurements are really estimated. Usually I just throw in whatever I have or feel like using for the crumble topping. This dish screams AUTUMN and it's a sure crowd pleaser! It's also very portable. Hope you enjoy!

Fairytale Baked Apple Cranberry Crumble
Serves 8
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour 
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (divided)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
6-8 large baking apples (I like honeycrisp.) 
1 package of Ocean Spray Cranberries


Optional: Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for topping!


Directions: 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and slice all apples. Place in water with lemon so that the apples do not brown. 

In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (if using) and pinch of salt. Rub in chunks of butter with fingertips until it forms coarse crumbs.  Mix in oats and almonds. Set aside.


Spray a large 9 X 14 aluminum tray with Pam baking spray (or use Crisco or butter). Add the sliced apples and cranberries and mix well. Sprinkle crumble mixture on top. Spray with Pam baking spray or add some thin slices of butter over the crumble filling to get a golden brown topping.  Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

Bake until filling bubbles and topping is crisp and crunchy, 45 -60 min. The apples should be tender and soft and some of the cranberries will have burst open. Let cool for about 15 minutes.  Serve warm with cold vanilla ice cream on top.


Enjoy!

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