I took last Friday off, not specifically to make the cranberry-chocolate tart featured in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appètit, but to…celebrate Columbus Day…yeah, that’s it. Figured I had the whole day, so I’d wake up, make a tart, and have the rest of the afternoon for napping.
I’m in the largest grocery store in Wilmington bright and early, before most people are at their desk jobs, and the stock boys are still in the grocery aisles, only I can’t find a plain chocolate cookie. I stood their about to cry, because I couldn’t find a non-marshmallowed-chocolate chunked-dipped-filled plain chocolate cookie. Thank goodness for those stockers still in the aisles. Turns out they hide those plain cookies in tiny, unassuming boxes two feet above my head.
Oh, the cranberry-chocolate tart calls for gelatin, which everyone knows is made of collagen from horse hooves, bones and whatnot. I try to avoid gelatin because it is the most disgusting product ever. Do this little experiment and I promise you’ll never think of gelatin the same: rehydrate an unflavored package of gelatin and smell it – smells like filed fingernail dust. Nothing you want to eat.
Thought I’d pick up agar agar, a thickener derived from seaweed that’s commonly used as a gelatin substitute. I called five health food stores closest to me to locate this stuff, and ended up driving thirty minutes out of town to the one store with agar agar. Then it turns out that after the tart was all done, I don’t think the thickening agent was necessary.
Did your elementary school teacher give you that exercise on following directions where they hand you a sheet of paper with instructions on cutting out a snowflake, and the first instruction is to read all of the instructions first, the rest are how to cut the paper with the instructions printed on it to make a pretty snowflake, and the veeeery last instruction is to disregard all of the above instructions? I did. And half way through my merry snowflake-making way, I discovered that my teacher was a bitch.
I never learned my lesson, and I’m still generally a bitter person. “Do Ahead” in bold print embedded in the middle of a recipe’s instructions is not helpful, Bon Appètit. The cranberry topping needed to be chilled at least eight hours, and I was planning on eating the tart for lunch that same day.
Beautiful, defined berries on the left, and my cranberry mush on the right.
If my family served this cranberry-chocolate tart to me for Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie or pecan pie (Bon Appètit does have suped-up recipes for these classics in the Thanksgiving issue), I’d throw a temper tantrum. But if cheesecake-type desserts are a family tradition for you, you just might like this tart. Go get the magazine, or hit up Epicurious for the recipe. I’m not reprinting it.
The tart tasted fine (with the exception that the crust was too hard), but the end results were not worth the my effort. Maybe if you read directions thoroughly, shop ahead of time, and are organized. But, really, who is this good?
Basically, I'm upset that my first experience with my new magazine was difficult, I STILL don't read directions, and my tart was ugly.