Rania’s Recipes: Thanksgiving Appetizer & Dessert

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(Photo Courtesy of Rania Harris)

(Photo Courtesy of Rania Harris)

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, Rania Harris stops by to show off a couple of more dishes that will be sure to impress your guests!

Herbed Brie and Walnut Tart

Pastry Crust

  • 1-3/4 cups pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter, well chilled, cut into 16 equal pieces
  • ¼ cup solid vegetable shortening, well chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 14 ounces Brie, well chilled
  • 14 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts (plus more for the top, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground dried rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the crust, put the flour, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse 10 times. Add the shortening and pulse 10 more times. With the machine running, pour in 4 tablespoons of ice water through the feed tube and immediately turn the machine off. Transfer the contents to a flat work surface and quickly form the dough into a round. If the dough is too dry, add the additional tablespoon of ice water drop by drop. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Roll out the dough and use it to line a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom with a fork. Freeze for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (removing the foil and weights halfway through the baking time), until golden brown. Let cool.

To make the filling, remove the crust from the Brie with a sharp knife moistened with water. Bring the Brie to room temperature. Combine well with the cream cheese in a mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend well. Stir in the walnuts, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Fill the chilled pastry shell with the cheese mixture, sprinkle with additional walnuts, if desired, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the nuts become too brown. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh rosemary and cut into thin wedges.

Makes one 12-inch tart.

Caramel Pumpkin Flan

  • 1-cup sugar
  • 1/3-cup water
  • 1 16-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Toasted pecan halves

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combined 1-cup sugar and 1/3-cup water in small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides and swirling pan, about 12 minutes. Immediately pour caramel into 10” round cake pan, tilting and rotating dish to coat bottom and 2 inches up sides thickly.

Place dish in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan.

Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, half and half, brown sugar and spices in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs and yolks, with vanilla. Pour custard into prepared dish. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come 1 ½ inches up sides of dish.

Bake flan until deep brown on top and firmly set in center and blade of small sharp knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove flan from water; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered until very cold, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. )

Cut around flan to loosen and place platter on flan dish. Holding platter and flan dish together, invert, allowing flan to settle onto platter. Scrape out any caramel syrup remaining in dish and drizzle over flan. Garnish with toasted pecan halves Cut flan into wedges and serve.

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