December 22, 2011

pumpkin cream tarts with candied cranberries

last weekend we had our friend christmas get together
and I was bringing a couple of different food items and a dessert

I really had an urge to do something different
and I believe I found a wonderful, wonderful recipe
I was beyond excited to make tarts
out of all the desserts I've made over the years I had never tried tarts
and besides I wanted something other than a chocolate dessert:)

So during my late night internet search a couple of weeks ago
I found the winning recipe I wanted to try

pumpkin cream tarts with candied cranberries
courtesy of country living

I thought I'd share the recipe with you all because I loved them so much

making the tarts was definitely more fun for me

 I felt a little like I was "creating" more in the kitchen
rather than going through ..."my routine of baking"

I did take pictures as I knew I wanted to get back to blogging
plus I am such a visual person with recipes
I love to see pictures of what I'm making
and thought you may appreciate them as well

As a side note before I get started
most of my ingredients came from trader joe's
I know...
I go on and on about Trader Joe's
but I really believe that 1/2 the time the ingredients from there make all the difference
especially their ginger snaps
so throughout the recipe...I'll make note of which ingredients I think are best from there

step one
make the tart shells

one of my favorite parts about making the tarts are the beautiful tart tins
and how pretty they looked stacked together
I know...not part of my recipe {smile}

Preheat your over to 350
Combine the gingersnaps cookies crumbs {3 cups} with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a large bowl...yes that much butter:)
so the gingersnaps are literally the best from Trader Joe's...I purchased the ones in the circular clear container because there was more in the container than the ones in the bag
I love their cinnamon as well
and absolutely love, love, love trader joe's butter....I like how their sticks are quartered size or you can use their awesome irish butter...make sure it's unsalted butter:)

Cover the bottoms and sides of eight 3 1/2-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms with the crumb mixture. Transfer the tartlet shells to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

They will look this color

step two

Make the cranberry topping: Bring 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the fresh cranberries {1 cup} and cook until they just begin to soften. Remove cranberries with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside.
Reserve cranberry syrup for another use.

I did use cranberries from trader joe's as well
and I added just a bit of orange juice to them as I cooked them

I couldn't help myself that I filled almost two ball jars up with the cranberry syrup
the color looked amazingly beautiful
and the syrup will be perfect for the pancakes I will make Christmas morning
or even for ice cream
***also when I made this recipe I doubled the recipe in order to make around 16 tarts so that's why I had so much syrup***

step three

Make the filling:
Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.

Place the milk {1/2 cup and yes I always stress milk is a must in my opinion} in a small bowl, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin {1 teaspoon} over it, and set aside.

Combine the pumpkin purée {1 cup}, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons brandy, 1 1/3 Tablespoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 4 large egg yolks in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and a thermometer reads 140 degrees F.

***again trader joe's has the best pumpkin puree...and talking with the check out person she told me that their pumpkin is fabulous for dog's coats...
so I've been adding a little to my sweet cadence's dish at night too***

Stir in the milk mixture, cook for 1 more minute, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and place over the prepared ice bath.

Stir occasionally, until cool — about 10 minutes.
Okay since I doubled the recipe it was taking longer than 10 minutes for me...I set it in the ice bath for about a 1/2 hour and it still wasn't cool so I resorted to the freezer for about 15 minutes 
 I was in a time crunch because the tarts still had to set for 6+ hours when finished

I got a little ahead of myself and started filling the tarts with the pumpkin mix after it was cooled and it looked like this

BUT...the recipe wanted me to fold the whipped cream I made into the chilled pumpkin mixture and THEN fill the prepared shells
so I literally had to scoop this mix out of 20 shells back into a bowl

and then I followed the directions which it said:

Fold the whipped cream into the chilled pumpkin mixture, fill the prepared shells, and smooth the tops.
GOT IT NOW!!! {smile}

so to make the whip need 1 cup of heavy cream whipped to soft peaks
I love to use my mixer because I can turn the setting on high and let it go
just to let you know
I added about 1 to 2 teaspoons {I can't remember how much} of my vanilla bean paste that I get from william sonoma... I love vanilla bean paste of vanilla extract because it looks prettier with the little flakes of the vanilla bean ~ love, love

pretty pretty!!!
but you have to do it quick or people like my husband keep trying my whip cream

Chill for 6 hours+ or overnight.

Top each tartlet with a spoonful of the candied cranberries and serve cold.
I personally thought it was pretty to drizzle a little bit of the cranberry syrup I had in the ball jars on the tarts after topping them with the cranberries:)

the recipe says it yields 8 tarts...
but I found it was probably more like 10 tarts
as I got 20 tarts from doubling the recipe

I hope you all enjoy
I'm actually going to be making more this weekend
just one batch this time:)
since Madison and Hayley weren't able to try one
plus I wanted to make some for my parents too

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays
Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2011


I probably have lost most of you by now...

Last night I actually did a quick blog visit looking for something on my blog
I wanted to find
and then I also found a post that i did 2 years ago this month of a video
when my youngest was 1 1/2
and I cried

that age is so sweet and I just miss it
even though I love the ages both of my girls are at right now too
it was just a reminder of how time just flies by
often before you want it to

I really miss posting on my blog
yes, I've said this before
but I really realized it more than ever last night

I miss reading my friend's blogs
I miss the connections I made with all of you
I miss many of things

but I just had to take a break from writing
I just needed to live life for my family

some things are hard to say...

this past year has been wonderful for so many of things
but it also has been an extremely difficult year for my family too
that's hard to say

not just my immediate family
but also in my extended family
 and if I would have written
it would have been painful for me

that's why I stepped away
and of course because lack of time as well
I've really been off the wall busy with my family, kiddos, my business, etc.
I just couldn't make my blog a priority
 I chose to focus on other things
and I am happy with that decision

I wanted to look at my life and still appreciate the wonderful blessings
that I have no matter what
because I have so many blessings
that I'm just so thankful for

I want to get back on track with sharing...

so as most of you know
Christmas is in my top 3 holidays of the year
the giving and celebrating family/friends is my favorite part of the year
and it also means that I have guaranteed time that my hubby is in town too:)

we have already had some wonderful christmas celebrations
a couple of weekends ago with my in-laws
this past weekend was Christmas with our friends
and i made pumpkin candied cranberry tarts
yes, I made tarts for the very first time
I loved it!
and I'm still pretty darn excited about it
although, it took me forever
I may just be going through a tart phase now
they are just so cute and pretty

obviously, I'm sidetracked with my tarts now
which I do plan on sharing the recipe because I loved it

both of the celebrations were wonderful

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays
it has been that way since I was a child
my sister and I always, always loved it

Miracle on 34th Street
and we would watch it almost on a daily basis
yes, I've talked about that movie a lot on this blog in the past
my sis and i would watch it so much when we were younger
that I think my parents had to buy us 2 vhs tapes:)
we would literally wear this movie out:)
yes, "I believe"
and that only makes sense if you have watched the movie

as I was going through my blog last night
I was reminded of my favorite quote in my very favorite Christmas movie
Miracle on 34th Street
I thought I would share it once again

 I took some Christmas photos of the girls yesterday afternoon
it was a blast
we had lots of fun
silly faces
dance moves to celebrate at the end of our little session
we all celebrated
the girls were great
actually fabulous
and wonderful
{that's because they were bribed with freezy ice pops}
we don't know how to get through a photo session without bribing in our family
just so you know...I am not above bribing to get photos :)

i almost put this picture on my virtual christmas card just to be reminded of all the silly things the girls and I do together

hopefully you will love this quote as much as I do
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

"Someday you are going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work, and when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles. You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile."

and I found that quote true so much of this past year
hold on to those intangibles

Thank you everyone for your patience
and thank you to my fabulous friends that over the past couple of months kept asking me when I was coming back with my blog
it was just nice to hear your sweet words to me
it didn't go unnoticed

Happy Holidays!!!

"Whatever is good,
whatever brings you joy...
May it be yours during
this magical season and the
throughout the coming year."