Intro

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While I technically did not finish off the month by posting everyday I still consider my crazy attempt a success.

In this current season of life my time is very limited and more structured then I ever would have wanted it to be. I have two little sweet boys who want my attention and continually need to be re-directed before they seriously injure themselves. They eat, three times a day, have pre-school and have many ideas of what they want to do with the day – often their ideas are much different than mine.

They also like to make a mess of their clothes. I think they just like to see how big the dirty clothes pile gets before mom goes crazy and does it all in one day leaving an even larger pile of clean clothes that, most likely, will never see hangers or drawers but will remain in a very large pile – perfect for wrestling in I might add.

This season is extremely demanding but the joy it brings is as abundant as our clothes piles. I am so incredibly thankful for my little testosterone filled blessings. Without them I wouldn’t laugh nearly as often and I would not know what it feels like to be  self-less – which is an ongoing process.

When the little crazies are snug in their bed and the legos have been picked up, this is the time I have to pursue the vast goals I have for myself. It is so easy for me to make excuses for this season of life, such as, there isn’t enough time to accomplish what I want to do.

Sure I am more tired than a teenager and coffee is often what is keeping me upright but I have become tired with the excuses. So I decided to see if I could blog everyday.

Before the challenge I could barely muster out two posts a week, most often it was one. This was a test in discipline and determination. I thought that if I was able to complete this challenge then I could no longer use the excuse that I simply don’t have enough time.

I became intentional with my time. I actually – eek – wrote a schedule most days. I would take great joy in planning out the recipes and even greater joy in creating on a whim. I viewed the world differently as I was constantly open to new ideas to share with you all. The greatest example of this sudden inspiration was the coffee series - which I adored both writing and tasting.

By posting everyday my passion grew and I fell more deeply in love with this blog and those of you who read and converse with me. I looked so forward to writing, photographing, cooking and sharing with all of you. I was inspired daily.

Near the end of the month my family and I visited friends in Portland, OR. I spent that weekend with a friend to celebrate her wedding this weekend. We spent the rest of the time catching up with our dear friends and enjoying one another’s company. While the blog is a big part of my life and a source of great joy I realize my priorities and felt it was vital to be present with my friends and not preoccupied with blogging.

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So that’s that. Tomorrow is December and I won’t be posting everyday  – I mean I really did enjoy it but I’m not THAT crazy. But now I have no excuses. Whatever the goal – if it’s given enough value I can and will find the time for it.

I have much I want to accomplish and I am so excited to see where my path will lead. In the mean time I will pursue them hard while the moon is up and the boys are resting quietly. These little boy days are so few and I don’t want to miss a moment.

Thanks again for always being here, commenting, reading and encouraging me along the way. I read every. single. comment and was filled with great joy from your words. Thank you. Thank you.

Please accept my gift of this intriguing and utterly delicious holiday tart.

The idea started with a recipe for Cranberry curd. I instantly creased the corner and put it on my list of recipes to blog during the month of November. My mind raced with ideas of uses for this magenta curd, but inspiration hit with the surplus of gingerbread dough.

A molasses flavored and spicy dough filled with a tangy and brilliantly colored curd. Then capped with a fluffy and sweet meringue. I’d consider that combination worthy of any holiday table.

Happy December!

Gingerbread Tart Crust

Same as the cookie recipe I posted last week. So don’t forget to save your scraps when you make cookies so you can make yourself a tart!

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough very thin (1/8″). Carefully place in a tart pan. If cracks or rips appear do not fear. Simply repair by smooshing scrap dough to cover the problem areas.

Bake in a pre-heated 350* oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp.

Let cool.

Cranberry Curd

adapted from Nigella Lawson

5 cups or 1 pound fresh cranberries

1 cup plus 2 tbl water

7 tbl butter

1 2/3 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

6 large eggs

In a medium saucepan, place the cranberries and water over low heat. Cook until the berries have *popped* and they are tender. Pass the cranberries through a fine sieve or food mill. Put the puree back into the pan. Add the butter, salt, vanilla and sugar. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl then add them to the cranberry mixture. Cook slowly stirring continuously so the eggs don’t curdle. Once thickened pass through a fine sieve to make sure there are no curdled egg remnants. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Cool.

Use in tarts, pies, trifles and more. Also makes a fantastic holiday gift when packaged in sweet little jars. Keep in the fridge.

Makes about 5 cups.

Spoon about 2 cups of the curd into the cooled gingerbread tart shell. Top with Meringue

Swiss Meringue

adapted from martha stewart living dec. ‘03

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

pinch cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a medium size pot filled with simmering water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are warm.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer. Add the cream of tartar. Start the mixer on low then gradually increase to high. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks appear – about 10 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Pre-heat your oven broil.

With a large rubber spatula top the tart with meringue. Place in the oven and watch carefully. Remove when the tips are deep golden brown.

If you have leftover meringue make mushrooms.

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44 Responses to “Gingerbread Tart with Cranberry Curd”

  1. Lorna

    It looks lovely, and I imagine it tastes just as good! Thanks for letting us take a peek into your hectic life. I always enjoy your posts, Ashley.

    Reply
  2. eM

    this post made me laugh out loud! I love ginger bread (ginger anything) as well as cranberries. My husband, Adam, doesn’t share my fondness for either of these things. When I showed him this he said “It’s no cherry cheese pie, that’s for sure”! So you see what I’m dealing with. ;-) I call it the anti-Adam tart, and I am tempted to make it just because I know it would be ALL FOR ME! ( except I have never made a tart before – altho I did make my first lemon curd last week).

    Reply
  3. Tea

    Congrats. Ashley! I’m so impressed with your month of blogging (hey, I got 8 posts in the month of Nov, and I’m impressed with that!). Good on you!

    And this tart—I believe I will dream about this tart…

    Reply
  4. D. @ Outside Oslo

    Hi Ashley, I can totally identify with your struggles and discoveries about time. Blogging is such a great creative outlet for those of us who love good food, skilled photography, and the exercise of creative writing. But you’re right, each one of us has our priorities, and the in the big picture, our time spent with loved ones and dear friends is what wins out. Thanks for sharing your journey this past month with us. You’ve done a fantastic job, and you should feel great about it.

    Reply
  5. Romy

    Cranberry curd? Sounds wonderful, and with meringue on top too. I really enjoy your posts and your beautiful photos.

    Reply
  6. alana

    I have loved your daily posting, and as another blogging mama of two littles I think you had a spectacular month of writing. So thank you for that. Happy December, and this tart is definitely after my own loves- I will make it straight away.

    Reply
  7. Thea

    Rumors of this tart reached me via Amy. It sounds (and looks!) delicious, and the color of that curd is incredible! Yum.

    Reply
  8. Anne

    Ashley, congratulations on making that commitment and then fulfilling it with such grace and beauty!

    I want to thank you for delighting me with your beautiful daily posts and for inspiring me to participate in NaBloWriMo too. On that first day, if you hadn’t written it as an invitation to us who read your blog , it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to do it w/ mine, too. Reading your posts along the way kept me from feeling too alone in my venture, and the quality of your posts encouraged me to do my best with the extremely limited time at hand (as you know I speak the language of active toddler too). This month was a challenging and priceless experience. Thank you, Ashley. You inspired me to make this happen.

    Anne

    Reply
  9. Amanda

    Ashley, your enthusiasm for baking and your boys comes through with every post. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for this blog. It’s nice to know that everyone struggles to balance everything, but somehow, in the end, it all works out. Happy December!

    Reply
  10. Jessi

    Thanks for all the wonderful posts Ashley! Your blog has sent me into a fury of my own. I spent the majority of this month in our kitchen trying to produce something beautiful and delicious, often inspired by one of your posts. Thanks for giving me the motivation I needed to get cooking!

    Reply
  11. Sara

    I am so impressed at how many posts you fit in while raising two adorable boys. Cheers to you. If I may say so, to add to your list of what youve learned here, your writing has improved bajillions. I mean, you were always good, but there is a fluidity that has come now that you’ve been challenged with it. Does that make sense? You’re writing is excellent and I love seeing your creations! Tart looks great.

    Reply
  12. Cristen

    what a great idea…cranberry curd! i guess there are endless varieties of curd to be made, not just lemon. looks delicious!

    Reply
  13. Shannon

    You have been such an inspiration to me with your pursuit to post everyday this past month. But more importantly, not seeing your daily posts meant to me that you were pursuing something immeasurably more..the affection of your family and the daily demands that involves. So to me that is a greater success. Well done!

    Reply
  14. Julia

    I don’t know how you do it! Did it! Keep doing it! I took your lead and did the month of November, and it was tiring, but inspiring. Good practice. I assume what jogging would be like, if I jogged ever. Checking in over here always kept me on track, so to speak. Your writing is heartfelt, your creations heavenly, photography incredible, and to think you do this with all the rest of life, two little boys included! I salute you.

    Reply
  15. Brandi Bailey

    Nice work Ash! Loved reading your posts! You’re so talented… :) I can’t wait to see ya in a few weeks and catch up in person! Love u!

    Reply
  16. Annalisa

    Thanks for posting this month–I’ve read every one and even went out and bought snowflake cookie cutters after your gingerbread cookie entry. (Waiting for the scraps from a gingerbread house next week…) They were so beautiful! I have a 2 year old boy and completely understood the swirling matrix of personal ambition and passion combined with determined and joyful self-sacrifice. Vampires are not the only ones waiting for the night!=)

    Also wanted to say hi b/c of the cranberry curd tart–I made a tart last year using cranberry curd and it was so good and festive. I made a plain tart crust, then a thin frangipane/marzipan layer topped with the curd. Planning on making it again this year, although I’m tempted to try the gingerbread crust; the color combination is so gorgeous. Thanks again!

    Reply
  17. steve moore

    Hi Ashley,
    Although I never comment (this is actually my first blog comment in my entire life), I read your blog all the time. You inspire me to be creative, follow my dreams and to keep pressing on. Thanks for allowing your passions, writings and photography to do that for me. I have no doubt your future holds something amazing.

    Reply
  18. Jen

    Wow, wow. This is gorgeous. I’m always tempted to keep searching for new ways to use cranberries because they are so festive. I’m definitely going to try this for the holidays!

    Congratulations on making it through your goal of blogging every day, wish I could do it.

    Reply
  19. Camille

    I’ve been reading you for almost a year now, and I rarely leave comments, but I just had to tell you I feel exactly the same way about the blogging/spending time with loved ones issue. Sometimes I will go a week without posting anything, and I feel so guilty! I just need to remind myself to take a step back an appreciate the world around me. Friends and family (and good food!) will always be more important than a computer screen. Thank you for articulating something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    Reply
  20. Brenda

    Sometimes I think that bloggers are super-human and can keep up with daily life alongside maintaining a popular blog without a single headache or dirty dish left unattended. Thanks for being open and honest and revealing that yes, it really is family and friends that matter most. Blogging is a way to tell of those relationships we nurture.

    Reply
  21. Rob

    Very interesting. I’ve done meringue and lemon curd, but never with cranberries. I’ll have to try it. Thanks!

    Reply
  22. molly

    Ah, cranberry curd! I’d made Nigella’s version years ago, and forgotten all about it. So good, and so festive to boot. Thanks for the reminder! Cheers, Molly

    Reply
  23. Luisa

    I made this ( the crust in the freezer, prebaked, the curd in the fridge)for Christmas but we had too many desserts so I held it over for New Year’s. Excellent! My new favorite. Added plus of having a wonderful dessert-in-waiting. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  24. Nicole

    Your desserts are always amazingly gorgeous and this is no exception. If someone brought this to our Thanksgiving table I would definitely be doing a happy dance. I might have to be that person :)

    Reply
  25. Joanna

    This looked beautiful. Gingerbread has a nice spice to it. Had left overs to make a small batch of cookies.
    BUT, the curd never thickened. Consistency was like a thick soup. Trying to research other curd recipes and not finding any luck on where I went wrong. Any suggestions?

    Reply

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