because there were so many friends from out of town for the holidays, we had a small cocktail party for new year’s eve. just a small gathering, since we’re old now, mainly so we could catch up with everyone. we had our guests bring their own stuff for drinks, which ended up working out perfectly. dirty martinis, side cars, tom collins, gin bucks, and many more choices in the alcohol department. we also had plenty of champagne for the midnight toast, which was extra cool because my mom had given me a jar of hibiscus flowers in sugar syrup to put in the flutes. they not only looked beautiful with bubbles dancing around the petals, but tasted delicious! (click here to see!) their flavor and texture is a little like fruit leather (or fruit roll ups, for you generation-x kids). just be sure to serve champagne with a generous side of ibuprofen…. ugh.
we had lots of hours d’evours to graze over. brian and i were busy making potato chips all day, to accompany our other foods: prosciutto wrapped sweet potatoes, dry roasted vegetables, goat cheese with walnuts and cranberries, marinated olives, locally raised italian sausage (arranged in the shape “2010″), tomato and mozzarella pesto salad, and a chocolate peanut butter tart. i would have loved to have hosted a sit-down dinner, but serving “finger foods” is a little more appropriate for guests arriving at different times, and easier to socialize and mingle.
earlier this year, i happened upon an article on peanut butter. i believe it was in bon appetit magazine, where the writer was proposing that peanut butter should be used as an elegant dessert, not just as a nostalgic novelty ingredient. many times, as a dessert ingredient, peanut butter is used as a playful addition to already candy-like sweets. peanut butter cups, peanut butter blondies, buckeyes, you get the idea. so i wanted to use peanut butter as a playful ingredient in an “elegant” dessert. i find tarts to be very elegant and fancy., like the adult version of pie. i loved the way this recipe read on elana’s pantry. it was very simple to make, tasted amazing, and less importantly it looked beautiful. the crust tastes like a peanut butter cookie, only it’s a tad more crumbly, like short crust. the filling is so delicious and creamy. it firms up perfectly, and isn’t too rich to eat a big slice. i love this tart, and will certainly make it again. i decided to double the crust, since my tart pan is closer to 10″, rather than 8″. i also spread a peanut butter and honey creation on the top. it would be fun to add a caramel filling under the chocolate next time. this is obviously grain free, and is also vegan/dairy free. it is high protein, and more importantly, very very yummy. eat it for breakfast? why not?
this is my version of the recipe. if your tart pan is 8″, you could cut the crust recipe in half. if you don’t have yacon syrup, i’m sure you could use molasses. it’s flavor and texture is very similar. if you don’t have stevia, you can use sugar, but you’ll have to use a few tablespoons. taste it filling and season accordingly.
for the shell:
3 cups roasted & salted peanuts
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp oil
4 tbsp yacon syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
method: preheat oven to 350f.
combine vanilla, oil and syrup in a bowl and set aside. grind peanuts in food processor until they make a crumbly meal. add in dry ingredients and pulse a few times. add wet ingredients, and mix in processor until thick dough forms. don’t over process, or it will turn into a liquidy peanut butter.
press dough into tart pan. bake for 8-10 minutes, until it smells like a giant amazing cookie. it should appear golden brown, not too dark, or it will taste burnt. cool for several hours before filling.
1 can coconut milk (14oz)
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
3 tbsp yacon syrup
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp dry stevia
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
method: in saucepan, heat coconut milk and salt over medium. once it comes to gentle boil, sift in arrowroot powder and whisk vigorously. it will thicken, and should be relatively smooth. whisk in agave, yacon, vanilla, and stevia. remove from heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
whisk in chocolate until it melts. whisk, whisk, whisk, then chill (pudding) for 5 minutes.
stir again, then pour into cooled pastry shell. chill for at least an hour. tart should become firm.
peanut butter and honey topping:
combine 1/2 cup natural (yes, the kind you have to stir) crunchy peanut butter and 1/2 cup honey. pour over top of cooled & set tart filling just before cutting to serve.
your friends are gonna like this, i promise. -unless they are allergic to peanuts, or are downers in general.