By J.M. HIRSCH
AP Food Editor
Sometimes fortune cookies just don’t cut it.
Since the prevailing New Year’s Eve trend is to do takeout, I decided to focus my end-of-year energy on a simple dessert that could be prepared earlier in the day, would work nicely with bubbly and is light enough not to weigh down any festivities.
I created this easy pine nut tart sweetened with honey and flavored with orange zest. We tend to think of pine nuts as a savory ingredient, but they show up frequently in Italian desserts, their creamy, nutty flavor and delicate texture working well with sweet treats. But if you prefer, chopped cashews, pistachios or even peanuts could be used instead.
PINE NUT TART
Start to finish: 50 minutes (15 minutes active), plus cooling
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
2/3 cup honey
7 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons heavy cream
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 1/2 cups lightly toasted pine nuts
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
To prepare the crust, in a food processor combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Pulse until the butter is worked into the graham cracker crumbs and the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to the prepared tart pan.
Use the bottom of a glass to gently press the crumb mixture evenly across and up the sides of the tart pan. Set aside.
To prepare the filling, in a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the honey, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs and orange zest. Whisk the warm honey mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the pine nuts. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and set. Cool before serving.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the new cookbook “High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking.” He can be e-mailed at jhirsch(at)ap.org.