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Holiday Desserts by Meg Galus of NoMi and a Table Set by the Founders of Dinner Party

SWEET SETTINGS: Pastry chef Meg Galus and vintage-tableware pros Tricia Hyland and Lisa Spagnolo make the past present with artful arrays of festive treats.

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Cranberry-almond tart; chocolate pudding tart; wedges of port-poached quince top a vanilla cream tart
Cranberry-almond tart; chocolate pudding tart; wedges of port-poached quince top a vanilla cream tart

Tart Dough

Makes one tart

1 stick unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 cups cake flour, sifted

Cream butter with salt and vanilla in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar and mix until just combined. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add flour and mix until just combined. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness, using a little flour to keep it from sticking. Lay the dough over a pie pan or tart ring and press it in, then freeze for 15 minutes. Bake at 300˚F. When making a tart that will be baked with its filling, bake only until the crust is dry but has not changed color. When making a tart that will have its filling added at the end, bake until golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely. (To make chocolate tart dough, substitute 1/3 cup of cocoa powder for 1/3 cup of flour.)


Cranberry-almond Tart

Makes one tart

1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¼ cups powdered sugar
1 cup almond meal or ground almonds
3 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup cranberries

Paddle butter, powdered sugar, and almond meal in a stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs slowly, mixing to combine. Add flour and mix to combine. Drizzle in heavy cream and mix well

Fill par-baked shells about three-quarters of the way with the almond cream. Sprinkle cranberries over the top and lightly push into filling. Return to oven and bake at 325˚F until almond cream is puffy and golden. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and pastry cutouts.


Chocolate Pudding Tart

Makes one tart

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup high-quality cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
⅔ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⅛ cups high-quality bittersweet chocolate

Whisk the dry ingredients together; add enough milk to make a paste. Whisk yolks into the paste. Combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Whisk a little into the egg mixture and return all to pot. Bring back to a full boil, whisking constantly. Cook until thick, about three to five minutes. Melt the bittersweet chocolate. Strain the egg mixture over the chocolate. Whisk until well combined, and finish with a hand mixer. Cover, with the plastic wrap touching the surface, and chill completely. Spread into the baked tart shell. Garnish with whipped cream, sprinkles, and dragées.


Vanilla Cream with Port-poached Quince Tart

Makes one tart

3 or 4 quinces, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
peel of 1 orange, cut into strips
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 bottle ruby port

Put the quince wedges, sugar, salt, orange peel, and vanilla in a pot and cover with port. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on top of the fruit to ensure it is covered by the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until fruit can be pierced easily with a knife. Cool completely in the liquid.

2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 teaspoon extract)
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
6 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine milk, vanilla bean, and half the sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Whisk together egg yolks, remaining sugar, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Pour a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk. Pour in the rest and whisk together. Pour back into the pot. Continue whisking while cooking over medium-high heat until boiling. Cook about 3 more minutes, until mixture is smooth and shiny. Take off heat, whisk in butter, and beat with hand mixer or food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl or casserole dish lined with plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Spoon completely chilled vanilla cream into the tart shell. Top with quince wedges.


Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa
Styling: Barri Leiner Grant


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