Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Plates I

I've been asked for ideas for Christmas plates for friends. Here's a few ideas.

Brownie Tart:

1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped into pieces (I used pecans)

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ounces semi-sweet or chocolate

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 ounces regular cream cheese, cut into pieces

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. They smell so good! Let cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Put muffin liners in muffin tin.

On stove, melt the butter and chopped chocolate. When the chocolate has melted transfer the mixture to a larger bowl.

Beat the cocoa, then the sugar, into the chocolate mixture, beating until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and then beat in the cream cheese, until small pieces remain. Add the flour and salt and mix by hand just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the nuts.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the batter has set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, with the end of a wooden spoon (1/2 inch diameter) (1.25 cm) that is well greased (I spray it with Pam), make holes (spacing them evenly about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart) into the top of the brownie tart. (We used toothpicks and made a bunch of holes in each cupcake.

As you insert the end of the wooden spoon into the tart twist the spoon to prevent the tart from tearing. You should have about 25-30 small holes. Then, with a small spoon fill the holes with the ganache. The ganache will sink as it cools so add more ganache, as needed. Let the tart cool completely and then cover and refrigerate. It is best to make this tart the day before serving to allow the flavors to blend. This tart will keep in the refrigerator for about two to three weeks.

While the tart is baking make the Ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Makes 1 - 9 inch tart or about 16 cupcakes. The ganache makes this so use it!

This recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible.

Then I realized with this recipe that the muffin tart thing has been done. Oh well.

Blueberry/Raspberry Cream Cheese Tarts

by Paula Deen


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese , softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs

12 vanilla wafers

1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling (I used raspberry)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.

Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.

We accidentally got the mini vanilla wafers and just put four of them on the bottom of each cup and it turned out great. Everyone asked me what the crust was and wouldn't believe me when I told them it was just a vanilla wafer. Definitely a great trick!

We made a chocolate pudding tart but the so called foil liners I bought weren't that sturdy and they didn't turn out great. We put a grasshopper cookie on the bottom for a crust and then froze it so it would be more solid.

Then we just made rice krispie treats and ginger snaps to put around the plate.

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