Monday, January 31, 2011

Coriander and Chocolate Chips

In Bulgaria I dreamed of tart pans. And electric mixers. Cream of Tartar. Maple extract. Meanwhile, I learned to cook. Sometimes I didn't know exactly what I was making, like when I mixed up those caramel rolls with a jar of clear sticky liquid that looked like corn syrup.

They turned out.

Who would have guessed that a place where I couldn't read the labels on most foods would turn out to be the perfect place to get comfortable in the kitchen? It still seems a bit miraculous that I sounded out the Cyrilic world "kor-ee-aahn-der" and realized coriander was the same as cilantro. A Bulgarian vocabulary sheet on spices, a google image of a cilantro leaf, and an online spice dictionary all helped me in my pursuit of making pico de gallo.

All of which is to say that lacking a tart pan didn't hold me back much. But it's fun having one. So far I've made one lemon tart and one chocolate-chip pecan tart (see below). Why so few? Well, it's not my only new kitchen toy. I've also been busy with my new angel food cake pan, cherry pitter, zester, rice cooker and blender.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Tart
Lightly adapted from Mom's Book of Baking

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat to 325 F.
2. Gently lay the rolled out dough into the tart pan. Press firmly into the corners so the dough doesn't stretch as it bakes. Run a rolling pin across the top of the pan to cut off the excess. Prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork. Place the tart pan in the freezer while you mix the filling. (Or don't if you don't have room in your freezer, like me!).
3. Combine the sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. Stir in the butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
4. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.
5. Take the tart shell out of the freezer. Place it on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the crust.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the filling is just set. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving. Store at room temperature.

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