Monday, January 24, 2011

Sangria Tarts

While I am a wine lover and, I daresay, a burgeoning connoisseur, there aren't many cocktails that tempt me anymore. One drink that I continue to develop a deeper love for each day, however, is sangria. What I love about this mixed drink is that there are really no rules to it. There are so many different ways and wines that can go into making this drink: choice of fruit; white, red, dry or sweet wine; type of additional hard alcohol used; type of juice (if any) mixed in, added sugar or fizz, etc.

Some restaurants and bars (I've had especially good luck at a couple of Spanish restaurants and Tapas bars in the LA area) nail it. While others have disappointed me with syrupy sweet, barely recognizable sangria. My usual recipe (first showed to me by my good friend Jessica) includes a good dry red wine (I usually use a Syrah or Cabernet), Triple Sec, oranges, berries, apples, orange juice or pomegranate juice, and a sparkling element (sometimes a sparkling JUICE, which takes care of the last two ingredients in one swoop).

I decided I wanted to make a tart that is infused with the flavors of sangria. And what better way to do this than start by mixing up an actual pitcher of it?

Because this drink IS so loose with its rules, the batch I created in conjunction with my tart was made with white wine and non-traditional hard alcohol. The white sangria turned out great, but I would still like to try making these tarts with a red wine based sangria.

My White Sangria recipe:

Liquid Components:
(1) bottle dry red wine (I used a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc)
4 oz Limoncello (leftover from our Italy honeymoon)
3 oz Vermouth (hence the non-traditional component)
Fresh squeezed juice from 1 large navel orange (strained of seeds/pulp)
2 oz grenadine syrup

Fruit Components:
(1) Large navel orange sliced in rings
(2) Nectarines, pitted and sliced into wedges
(2) Plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
(1) cup fresh blackberries

Beginning with the oranges, slice the fruit. Slice one of the oranges and set aside. Slice the other orange in half and squeeze into a separate container until all of the juice is extracted. Strain and then put into the glass pitcher. Slice the plums and nectarines, and along with the blackberries, place into the pitcher. Pour the vermouth and limoncello into the pitcher, followed by the whole bottle of wine. Stir very well and then put mixture in the fridge to chill and absorb the flavors of the fruit for AT LEAST two hours.

Tart Recipe:

Shortbread Cookie Crust:

(4) cups all purpose flour
(4) Sticks cold butter, cubed
(1 1/3) cup confectioner's sugar

(3) nectarines, pitted and sliced
(4) plums, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup, plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
about 1/2 cup reduced sangria

Sift together confectioner's sugar and flour by hand or in food processor. In an electric mixer (or food processor) fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar and flour with cubed butter, adding butter slowly. Once mixture begins clumping up, stop mixer. Using 6 mini tart pans with removable bottoms (or one large tart pan with removable bottom), separate dough into each one and press down so it is distributed evenly on the bottoms and sides. Once dough is in tart pans, put the pans in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Cut up the remaining 3 nectarines and 4 plums into small-medium sized wedges. Combine with blackberries into large mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar to the bowl and mix well.

After Sangria has been chilled for 2 hours, remove from fridge and take out 1 cup (8 oz) from the pitcher and add to the fruit and sugar mixture. Allow fruit to steep in mixture for an additional 1 1/2 hours, stirring fruit every so often.

Once fruit has steeped in sangria mixture for the appropriate amount of time, strain fruit and pour liquid into a small saucepan. Gently boil until mixture reduces to about 1/2 or 1/3 cup. In the meantime, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl.

Once sangria is reduced to about 1/2 cup, pour back onto fruit and add in cornstarch/sugar mixture and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Stir well.

Remove tart pan/s from refrigerator. Scoop fruit mixture and a couple spoonfuls of liquid into each tart shell so that each type of fruit is about equal and so that the fruit is fairly level in the tart (not too overflowing or poking out high from crust). Add a few crumbs of cold butter, evenly spaced to the top of each tart. Use additional crust dough to cut even sized strips for the lattice topped tarts.

NOTE: It's less time consuming and just as tasty to do a "cobbler" like topping instead. If you choose to go this route, only make half of the crust recipe listed above.

Serve tarts plain or with whipped cream or ice cream. Pair with a tall glass of white sangria.

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