Ah… the holidays. The time of year when social calendars overflow with opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Houses filled with laughter and so many people that the windows fog up on the inside. Expanded dining room tables, covered in special occasion linens, overflow with festive and decadent food. Diets be damned as out comes the paté, baked brie, and sweets.
But nothing adds an exclamation point to a party, signaling that it’s a real celebration, like the distinctive sound of a cork popping. Sparkling wine is the epitome of a perfect holiday date – fun, bubbly and gets along with almost anything at the table.
Like this Cranberry Ricotta Tart for instance. Repurpose that leftover holiday cranberry sauce to create this appetizer, or try the recipe below. Or top the ricotta with dark cherry or blackberry preserves. Have some fun with it and make it your own, but most importantly, make all the components ahead of time so that you won’t be stuck in the kitchen when you hear the distinctive pop of the party getting started.
- 2 cups fresh orange juice (from approximately 4 large oranges)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Zest from 2 oranges, divided
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Pie dough, your favorite recipe or store bought, enough for a single 9˝ crust
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Bring orange juice and sugar to a low boil and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Add cranberries, salt, thyme and cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries start to pop (about 15 minutes).
- Remove from heat and discard cinnamon sticks. Stir in zest from one orange and let cranberry sauce cool.
- Meanwhile, mix ricotta, honey and the remaining orange zest in another bowl. Set aside.
- Roll out pie dough and using a 2 1⁄2˝ round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 18 circles.
- Invert a mini muffin pan and drape the dough over the cups, pushing down around the sides to mold a cup. Give the bottom dough a couple pokes with a fork.
- Bake for 5 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. Let tarts cool and then remove from pan.
- To construct, place ricotta in the bottom of each tart cup and top with cranberries. Garnish with fresh thyme if desired. Serve immediately.