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Welcome Readers! My apologies for the brief hiatus! Did you miss me? Today's article will be the first of hopefully many to cover the topic of cooking with spirits. I say why let wine have all the fun!
The Old Hollywood Tart lives up to its name. You can almost imagine the living room this would be served in, and who would be serving it. Porcelain collectibles line the shelves of antique cabinets, sharing wall space with memorabilia from the golden age of the silver screen. Humphrey Bogart and Grace Kelly smile at you from smoke stained posters. You can almost feel the nicotine leeching from the walls. A single ceiling fan provides little respite from the hot, dry, LA air. A woman walks in, lit cigarette in one hand, pastry in the other. Her hair grayed long ago, hidden beneath a pristine beehive wig. Stumbling slightly in her sequined heels; like she surely did many times during her red carpet days; she places the tart in front of you. Grilled pineapple, smoky and sweet like your surroundings. Island spices and fresh mint remind you how close you are to the border. You notice a floral aroma, for a moment you think it's your gracious host’s perfume. But no, its lychee, soaked in passion fruit liqueur to round out this tropical dessert.
...Sorry, I got lost in Hollywood there for a second. You want to learn how to make this thing? Good! First a note about the featured spirit: The NVD Old Hollywood Cocktail
Our Old Hollywood Cocktail is a mix of our Old Hollywood Ginn; full of cinnamon and allspice notes; with pineapple gum syrup and sweet vermouth. This mix ages in a barrel for 10 weeks, lending it a subtle smoky note from the charred oak.
The Old Hollywood Tart
This easy to make desert is surprising complex, and intriguingly exotic. It may even deserve a leading role in your next Red Carpet event.
One large pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced, and grilled
Vegetable oil (for grilling)
Two Lychee in Passion Fruit Liqueur
.5 cup NVD Old Hollywood Cocktail
12 drops Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters (optional)
6 sprigs fresh mint
9 inch pie shell, uncooked
Step 1: The Pineapple
The most labor intensive part of this pie is prepping the pineapple, so it’s good you do it first! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then grab the pineapple, a cutting board, and a big, sharp knife. Cut off the ends first. Then stand the pineapple up on one of those cut ends, and cut off the peel. Rotating the fruit as you go along. You want to make sure all the little spines have been cut off the fruit. Those don't soften during cooking and aren't fun to eat. Once your pineapple is peeled, cut it in half long ways, splitting the core in 2. Cut a V shape out of each half to remove the core. Slice your pineapple into half inch slices and transfer to a baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil, making sure to evenly coat the fruit. Throw the fruit on a hot grill, until the pineapple is seared deep brown and caramelized, but not burnt. About 6 minutes a side.
Step 2: Mixing the Filling
Roughly chop the two lychee, and add to a medium sized mixing bowl with the grilled pineapple. Pour over the Old Hollywood Cocktail, and let the whole mix soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the excess liquid and reserve in a small bowl. Transfer the fruit into the pie crust, and drop Tiki bitters over the top, if using them. Evenly brush the crust with an egg wash if desired. Throw the tart into the middle rack of your oven, and set a timer for 30 min.
Step 3: The Syrup
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add the liquid you reserved from earlier. Stir frequently, letting the mixture reduce into a syrup. A good way to test when it is done is to drag the spatula across the pan, looking to see how long the liquid takes to fill the gap left by the spatula. The longer it holds its shape, the thicker it is. When the syrup is reduced and thick, remove from heat and transfer into a small bowl.
Step 4: Putting it Together
When the pie crust is golden brown and no longer soft, remove from the oven. Pour the syrup you made evenly over the pie. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, and you’re done!
Makes 1 9 inch tart, depending on the size of your pineapple
Prep Time:30 min
Bake Time: 35 min
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Signing off for this week,
Your ever humble, star struck mixologist,
I don't know about you, but I tend to have a lot of left over Guinness the day after St. Patrick's Day. Here is a way to use it up! This syrup is great in whiskey drinks, but is also fantastic in coffee, or on pancakes.
Guinness Simple Syrup
2 16 oz. cans Guinness Draught beer
1 cup dark brown sugar (The darkest you can find. I like dark muscovado sugar.)
3 cups organic cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (We carry a great one from De La Rosa)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Irish whiskey
.5 cup water
Pour beer in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugars, honey, vanilla, and water. Continue to heat on medium low until sugar dissolves. About 5 minutes, stirring gently but frequently to stop the sugar from scorching. When all sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, strain into a heat proof bowl, and add whiskey. Stir and let cool. Store in the fridge for 3-6 months. Makes approximately 3 cups syrup.
Your ever humble, lucky barman,