Fresh fruit, brandy and chocolate go hand-in-hand in this quick and easy no-bake dessert recipe from Mark Bittman, who is featured in our March/April 09 issue. Enjoy with a snifter of cognac.
4 cups fresh fruit, trimmed, cored, peeled and sliced as needed
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup brandy, dessert wine or champagne (optional)
1 cup almonds (or use pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts)
¾ cup pitted and packed dried fruit, like dates, raisins, dried cherries, figs or apricots
4 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)
1. Put the fruit in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, and the alcohol if you’re using it. Toss gently to coat and refrigerate while you prepare the crust.
2. Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse until ground, being careful not to over-process. Transfer to a bowl, then put the dried fruit in the food processor along with a teaspoon or so of water. Pulse until finely chopped and sticky enough to adhere to the nuts (some fruit will require more water than others). Use your hands or a rubber spatula to combine the nuts and fruit in the bowl until they become a “dough.” (At this point, you can form the mixture into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate or freeze until about 30 minutes before you’re ready to use it; defrost if necessary and proceed with the recipe.)
3. Divide the dough into eight pieces and press into three-inch round disks on a piece of wax paper or parchment; they should be about 1/4 inch thick. Brush each disk with the melted chocolate in a thin, even layer if you like, and top with the fruit and any accumulated juices. Serve immediately.
Makes eight individual tarts.
Mark Bittman, from Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating (Simon and Schuster 2008)