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The Best Recipes From 2009

SavorSA wasn’t online for an entire year, but we have served enough pleasures to give you a year-end wrap-up of what we consider our best recipes.

They range from a hearty Parmesan bread made from leftovers to a complex recipe from Julia Child for her mouthwatering Boeuf Bourguignon. If you saw the movie “Julie & Julia,” you know just how seductive this recipe is from the visuals alone.

Some of the dishes are quite simple (a grilled cheese), others need a little time but are well worth the effort (a flourless chocolate cake).

Yet all of the recipes are keepers, ones that we return to and hope you will, too. Here, in no order, are the top recipes:

Pickle Recipe: Cucumber Apple Pickles

Pickle Recipe: Cucumber Apple Pickles

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp With Piri-Piri Sauce

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp With Piri-Piri Sauce

Recipe: Fruit Tart

Recipe: Fruit Tart

Recipe: Grilled Cheese With Tomato, Basil and Garlic

Recipe: Grilled Cheese With Tomato, Basil and Garlic

Herbed Buttermilk Parmesan Bread

Recipe: Herbed Buttermilk Parmesan Bread

Recipe: Julia Child's Boeuf

Recipe: Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon

Recipe: Beat-the-heat Gazpacho

Recipe: Beat-the-heat Gazpacho


Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cherry Hatch Cake

Recipe: Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Recipe: Rosario’s Shrimp Nachos

Recipe: Rosario’s Shrimp Nachos

Recipe: Tre Trattoria's Italian White Beans With Gremolata

Recipe: Tre Trattoria's Italian White Beans With Gremolata

Recipe: Pork Green Chile

Recipe: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe: Edith’s Gingerbread

What was the best recipe you made in 2009?

Please share it with us.

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Need a Quick Yet Elegant Dessert? Try Making a Tart


Making an elegant tart for the holidays can be easy, if you set your ingredients out beforehand. When you do that, it’s simply a matter of adding ingredients into your mixer. Your dough is ready in a matter of minutes, and your tart will be baking before you know it.

This is a variation of an Italian dessert called fregolotta. (For recipe, click here.) I first came across the recipe in one of pastry chef Cindy Mushet’s cookbooks, but I’ve tinkered with it so much that it has become my own. For example, I found the original recipe a little stingy on fruit. A friend who has copied the recipe found my version equally stingy, so feel free to add as much or as little as you would like.

The first step is to make sure your butter and your jam or jelly are both at room temperature before you start. This makes the process of assembling everything so much easier.


First, cream your butter for about 1 minute at a medium speed, then add the oil and whip for another minute. This allows air into the butter and it will make your tart lighter. Slowly add the sugar and salt. I like to use a coarse salt because the combined flavor of salt, butter and fruit when you bite into it is spectacular.

Now is the time to add the almond extract. If you are allergic to nuts or just don’t like the flavor or texture, you can substitute vanilla at this point and omit the almond slivers from the topping

Reduce the speed to its lowest level before adding the flour. This is a must to prevent flour from spraying back at you.TartHOWTO4TartHOWTO5

Once the flour has been incorporated and your dough has formed, remove 3/4 of a cup of dough and press it onto a plate. (If your dough has crumbled, which can happen because of the butter and the humidity of the day, just leave it in crumbles.) Place this in the freezer, so it’s good and cold when you place the tart in the oven.


Then press the dough in your tart pan or 9-inch baking pan (can be square or round). Cover with whatever amount of jam you wish (room temperature jam is easier to spread and won’t tear your dough). To me, the tart is about the flavor of butter, though who can resist fig, raspberry or apricot preserves in the mix? You aren’t limited in your choice of what to use. It could be cherry, a perfect partner with almond, or marmalade


Crumble the dough from the freezer on top. Sprinkle on your almonds and bake. The baking process depends on the type of oven you are using. An electric oven will usually bake the tart in half the time of a gas oven. You’ll know it’s done when the dough takes on a more golden glow


You can easily double this recipe. I’ve tried to triple it before, because I make about 100 of these as presents each year in various sizes, but my Kitchen Aid bowl is not big enough to hold all of the ingredients and mix them without flour flying everywhere.


If you want to add a snowy touch, sprinkle powdered sugar on top, but only before serving. The moisture of the tart will absorb much of the powdered sugar after awhile. This tart keeps unrefrigerated for several days.


(Photos: John Griffin & Nicholas Mistry)

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A Fruit Tart That’s Good All Year Round

TartHOWTO10Fruit Tart

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup virgin or light olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour or 1 cup flour + 1/2 cup almond flour (see note)
Jam or jelly, at room temperature, to taste
Slivered almonds, to taste
Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Add olive oil and mix until well incorporated. Add sugar and salt, and cream for 1 more minute. Add almond extract.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour, mixing until dough forms. Remove 3/4 cup dough and press onto plate. Place in freezer until needed. Press remaining dough into 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 9-inch baking pan (square or round), creating an edge around the dough.

Spread as much jam or jelly as you’d like on top of dough. If you want a more buttery flavor, spread it in the center of the dough and only come to about 1 inch from edge of pan. If you want more fruit, spoon the jam up to about 1/2-inch deep and bring to height of crust.

Remove dough from freezer. Crumble on top. Sprinkle almonds over top. Bake for at least 15-18 minutes or until top has turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from tart pan.

Just before serving, sprinkle on powdered sugar, if desired.

Note: Almond flour can be found with the specialty flours in the baking section of your supermarket.

Makes 1 tart.

From John Griffin

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Apple-Brandy Tart Adds Rustic Touch to End of Meal

ApplesServed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, says Dan Lewis of San Antonio’s Plaza Club. Make the apples early in the day, but don’t bake the tart until after the big meal.

Apple-Brandy Tart

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
7 apples, peeled, cored and halved
2 tablespoons apple brandy or brandy
Pinch of salt
1 puff pastry sheet

Place the butter and sugar in a 9-inch oven-proof sauté pan and arrange the apple halves in the pan. Sauté the apples over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the sugar is caramelized and the apples are brown. Add the apple brandy, salt and cinnamon to taste and turn the apples in the pan until the brandy is incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside. Arrange one apple in the center of the pan, core-side up, and place the others in circles around it.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a 9-inch circle from the puff pastry. Cut the trimmed dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips and piece together a rim around the edge of the pastry. Place the pastry circle, rim side down, on top of the arranged apples and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan from oven and turn over onto a serving place. Cool slightly and cut into 8 pieces. Serve warm.

Beverage suggestion: Brandy

Makes 8 servings.

Adapted from “Discover Ironstone Vineyards” by Dan Lewis

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Tart Mixes Fennel, Taleggio Cheese and Cardamom

FennelFennel, Taleggio and Cardamom Tart

The cardamom underscores the fennel’s gentle anise flavor in this dreamy tart, while crème fraîche and Taleggio, a rich cow’s-milk cheese from northern Italy, offer tangy creaminess, further enriched by the cream and eggs. This recipe is adapted from Tamasin Day-Lewis’ book, “The Art of the Tart.”

For dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4-5 tablespoons ice water

For filling:
3 medium fennel bulbs (2 1/2 pounds total)
8 green cardamom pods
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche
3 ounces Taleggio cheese, chilled, rind discarded, cheese cut into 1/3-inch cubes

To make the dough: Blend together flour, butter and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 1/4 cup ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork, or pastry will be tough.

Turn dough out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute butter. Gather dough together and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

To make the filling: Remove fennel stalks and fronts. Quarter bulbs lengthwise. Cut out core and cut each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Crush cardamom pods with side of a large heavy knife. Remove black seeds and discard pods. Crush seeds as much as possible with side of knife, then finely chop.

Combine wine, water, oil, butter, cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet and bring to a simmer. Add fennel and cook, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.

To assemble and bake the tart: Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15-inch round. Fit into an 11- or 11 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Then run rolling pan over edge of pan to trim pastry flush with rim. Lightly prick bottom and sides of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Put on a baking sheet and bake until sides are set and edges are pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a rack.

Whisk together eggs and yolk in a large bowl until foamy. Whisk in milk, cream, crème fraîche, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

[amazon-product]0618610189[/amazon-product]Transfer fennel mixture to shell with a slotted spoon, spreading it evenly. Dot with cheese. Pour custard into shell.

Bake tart until set, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes and remove rim before serving.

Cook’s notes:

  • The tart shell can be baked up to 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.
  • The tart can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then refrigerate, loosely covered. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

From “Gourmet Today” edited by Ruth Reichl

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