Rachel Preston Prinz defies easy definition; she is an architectural historian, a designer, a writer, a film producer and a compassionate advocate for making the world a better place.
Rachel believes that the natural and built environments surrounding us play an integral part in the formation of our lives. Her work investigates traditional and modern approaches to architecture, agriculture, culture, and landscape to address how we might not only survive, but also thrive, and to do so, sustainably.
For our Art+Tea conversation and in the spirit of natural living, Rachel took us into the earth of an ancient underground dwelling called a ‘pit-house’. These simple and efficient homes found throughout the southwest were built and inhabited by native americans who lived here almost a thousand years ago.
Listen to the podcast:
The pit-house provided a unique location for our Art+Tea conversation. We were enveloped in an earthy aroma seemly secluded from the world above. Enjoy learning more about Rachel by listening to our conversation on the podcast. Thanks to Rachel for sharing her experiences with us!
Cranberry, Almond, & Caramel Tarts
Recipe and Commentary
By David Costanza
It’s Holiday-Time & that means my local grocery store stocks up on fresh cranberries, mmmm. My best (found) recipe (I don’t make up anything!) for fresh cranberries is a Cranberry, Caramel & Almond Tart from Maury Rubin’s City Bakery, a detailed recipe is in his Book of Tarts. Buy it tart lovers, & it will introduce you to a number of not-too-difficult, usable, tart recipes & the indispensable flan ring! Bake On!
First things first, we need to have tart dough & for this I have kicked Maury’s recipe to the curb & instead reached for my TARTINE cookbook, sorry Maury! I like the super-basic, bullet-proof varieties. In our first episode we made the ‘flaky tart’ dough, today we make ‘sweet tart’ dough, the cookie-style version (or pâte sablée.)
Quick & easy, the only problem being you will wish you made it yesterday if you want to make these tarts today: “what’s done is done?” is “what’s not done” is something better left to ponder while these are in the oven.
Sweet Tart Dough
Cream 1 cup + 2 TBS room-temp. butter with 1 cup sugar & 1/4 tsp salt
add: 2 large eggs (also room-temp) & 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
I mix all of this with the paddle attachment in a kitchen-aid mixer at medium speed until just combined & the dough comes off the sides of the bowl. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours.)
I rolled out the dough & lined 6 3” flan-rings & par-baked them at 350º, about 8 minutes. until they looked like the photo below.
Then I got started on the caramel:
1 cup sugar in a pan with a decent weight bottom at medium heat.
At the same time I took 5/8 cup heavy cream & heated that up–
Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over like mine did:
I include this to show how something can always go wrong! (right?) I just guessed that I lost a 1/4 cup & replaced it & then kept the temperature extra low! You will want the cream to be heated before you add it to the sugar so the sugar doesn’t crystalize & get a bunch of hard chunks.
This is the sugar melting. Slow & steady! & when it gets as thick as maple syrup it is ready for the cream. This will boil up quite a bit, it is good to have a pan with some room for expansion. Lower the temperature to ‘almost off.’
After a few minutes the melted sugar/cream mixture will start to calm down. Stir until it is combined & looks like caramel, right!
Combine 1 bag of fresh cranberries & 6 oz sliced almonds.
Pour the finished caramel mixture over mixture & stir it up. Then put a scoop into each of the par-baked tart shells.
Bake these for 20 minutes at 350º until the cranberries pop & the tart is all juicy. I use a set of tongs & lift the flan rings off while the caramel is still molten & isn’t stuck to the tarts, This is a recipe where flan-rings are essential because the fluted style are really a pain to get apart at the end.
And here they are ready to eat in the pit-house. Good Luck!
Merry holidays and Happy New Year!
Featured photo by Rachel Preston Prinz of Acoma Pueblo.