Monday, April 2, 2012

Cork or screw, eggs and tart

Cranberry Almond Caramel Tart


Food Diary (April 01, 2012)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with banana, sunflower seeds and flax seeds
Lunch: Pasta
Dinner: Lentil and carrots, sourdough

After what I wrote yesterday about virgin boys eggs, each time I see or read about eggs I have bad associations. I did this to myself and I am sorry if you read that yesterday and got grossed out. I’ve consumed lot of things which normal people consider disgusting or unappealing such as fermented horse milk and horse intestine stuffed with fat and meat. But virgin boys eggs are at another level.

Moving onto a more delicious topic. The Cranberry Almond Caramel Tart seems like a very simple and straight forward recipe needing just a few ingredients. Unfortunately its not the case. In my first attempt the caramel mixture overflowed. In the second and final attempt the puff pastry ‘caved in’. The end result looked different from what I imagined but it tasted delicious. You can’t really go wrong with caramel, puff pastry, fruits and nuts.

I was wondering whether caramel and cranberry would enjoy each other’s company. Cranberries seem like fussy ingredients. For example they work with white but not dark chocolate. In this case cranberries worked well with caramel, the tartness balanced the sweetness.

I baked the tart with dried cranberries and then sprinkled with lots of chopped cranberries and almonds after baking, to cover up the mess. During baking the cranberries hydrated and become soft. If you don’t like dried fruits, don’t worry, after baking it will have a different texture.

If you are comfortable making tarts using puff pastry, then you will like this recipe. It is simple and produces a delicious outcome. However if you are not comfortable with puff pastry tarts, then this recipe may test your patience. It certainly tested mine, but I persevered and ended up with a dessert that didn’t look great but tasted good. And I learnt a lot more about making tarts using puff pastry. It wasn't as easy as it seemed. The recipe is available here, if you are still interested.

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Comowater
Neapolitan Mini cupcakes



Today’s Favourite Blog
Do you prefer screw or cork?

Wine bottles with screw caps seem less appealing. Apparently some wine drinkers  refuse to purchase wines sealed with screw caps because  it looks cheap and that it has caused the demise of tradition. However natural corks do pose the risk of tainting wine with fungi called TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) and TBA (2,4,6-tribromoanisole). TCA and TBA can travel through a cork's pores, leach out of the cork into the wine, and render it undrinkable, imparting foul aromas of wet cardboard, mold, band-aid or wet dog, and subduing the wine's native aromas. Screw caps completely eliminate the risk of TCA or TBA contamination, AKA "cork taint," which for wineries and consumers alike, can be a great thing.

Unlike natural corks, screw caps are sealed and prevent the flow of oxygen into a wine. For this reason, they are best reserved for wines that don't require aging and oxygenation, and that are meant to be drunk young and fresh within a few years of their vintage date. This holds true for whites, ros├ęs and reds alike. Wines that are built for cellaring should pretty much always be bottled under natural cork, not screw cap.

24 comments:

  1. A lot of winemakers that I meet really prefer screw caps for the reasons above-quite valid indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My preference from screw caps is because I am lazy and do not wish to fight with the cork screw;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the screw cap.
    Your cranberry tart looks so good!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The 2nd picture of your Cranberry Almond Caramel Tart is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What about a cork inside and place a screw on top, you get the benefits of both

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, that means we work twice as hard to get to the wine. That will taste more delicious

      Delete
  6. This tart looks fabulous! The colours and from what you say it would have a pleasant... tartness from cranberries too ;-)
    Puff pastry is not difficult to bake with, unless you have to blind-bake it, but tart with caramel is quite tricky (I know something about it...).
    I don't mind wines with screw top because I know I'm drinking a rather not expensive wine, i.e. not possible to age more than five years, but I admit there is something traditional and magical with the corkscrew use, the "pop" sound of the cork going out etc.. There is one Austrian wine I buy regularly with a screw trop, it's delicious for its moderate price and I find it perfect for an unfussy afternoon drink, a picnic etc.. I think everything is a question of habit.
    Some German producers (one makes extraordinary wines!) have a different method: they put glass corks, which can be taken out easily with one's hand and which are beautiful objects. Apparently glass corks allow the wine to age, but I suppose it must be expensive and tricky to make (it must perfectly fit the bottle while the cork expends). I have had these than 5 years old and quite expensive too and they were divine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Puff pastry and caramel is tricky, esp for first timer. I didn't realise that the mixture would rise and boil over. And I forgot the pastry would get really soft first and fall over Now I know.
      I have never seen those glass corks, it sounds interesting. Must be easier to close the bottle unlike with a regular cork. Its annoying when bits of cork get into the wine.
      One red wine I like comes with screw top (Bin 555). Not expensive, delicious and easy to open:)

      Delete
    2. I have just checked it. I have never seen it here. In fact there are very few non-European wines sold in Switzerland and France. I suppose it's like this in most wine-producing countries... There is a strong protection (and attachment) first of the national wines, and then to European wines in general.
      All we get here from the New World is really awful.
      I use old porto corks to close wine (they have a plastic cap at the top). Otherwise there are special corks to close wine or even the vacuum systems... but my porto corks are enough for the everyday wine.I also use my old glass corks of course. They are such beautiful objects.
      When I have a special, very good bottle, I never close it back. I drink it the same night.

      Delete
    3. Thats a pity, I was pleasantly surprised to find Bin 555 in Sweden. Swiss chocolates (toblerone, lindt etc) is sold worldwide, even in chocolate producing countries. In return Switzerland should sell non-EU wines:)
      Its a good idea to finish the bottle. Its a simpler solution.

      Delete
  7. Well, I do prefer a cork as I just love the sound of the cork being pulled from the bottle but if I'm at a BYO restaurant and the service is ordinary it's so handy to have brought a screw-top bottle so you don't have to die of thirst as you wait for the waitress to remember that you're there. Definitely, a cork makes me feel the wine must be superior! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if restaurants can charge corkage for screw top bottles:)

      Delete
  8. I really want that tart! I have next to no experience with puff pastry, but this seems like the perfect way to get some!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, all gone. Pictures is all I have now:)

      Delete
  9. I need that in my life! That tart looks incredible

    ReplyDelete
  10. I always learn something when I stop by...never knew about the cork fungus. And I'm not sure I want to know about virgin boys eggs :/ Off to see your berry tart~

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yup, still interested, going over to check it out shortly.
    Have you seen the plastic corks? The first time we saw it we were a little taken aback, poked at it and wondered if it was a natural cork gone bad ... duh. I guess that'll work for people afraid of fungus and the snobs who are against screw tops :P
    I'm ok any which way ... not fussy, very easy-going, simple person :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I've seen those, some of the bubbly has it.
      Same here, its the contents that matter to me, now how the bottle is sealed since we throw that away anyway. Like presents, I prefer whats inside rather than the type of wrapping paper used:)

      Delete