Magazine article Sunset

Sweet Heat

Magazine article Sunset

Sweet Heat

Article excerpt

Mustard adds a hint of intrigue to familiar desserts

The chefs' competition at the annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival produces some ingenious dishes. As a past judge, I've tasted mustard in almost every possible application. In my book one of the most creative was apple pie: I loved the pungent kick under the sharp cheddar streusel.

Mustard and sweet foods-specially fruit-have actually enjoyed a long and synergetic relationship (although some notable fellow judges were slightly less enthusiastic about the pie than I was). If you like contrasts, you'll find these desserts downright intriguing. And if you're a mustard fan, check out the festival in Napa this year, from February 3 through March 31 (main event weekend March 9-11). Call (707) 938-1133 or go to www.mustardfestival.org.

Apple Tart with Mustard Custard and Cheese Streusel

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 2 hours, plus 1 1/2 hours to cool

NOTES: Pastry chef Les Carmona of the Lodge at Sonoma, in Sonoma, California, uses yellow hot dog mustard in this tart. Bake the pastry before making filling. If making tart up to 1 day ahead, cool, cover, and chill. Bring to room temperature or heat in a 350 deg oven for about 20 minutes before serving.

MAKES: 8 to 10 servings

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 tablespoons prepared mustard (see notes)

1 large egg

4 cups coarsely chopped peeled Golden Delicious apples (about 1 3/4 lb.)

Butter pastry (recipe follows)

Cheese streusel (recipe follows)

1. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter and stir often until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, flour, and dry mustard until well blended. Beat in prepared mustard and egg. Add hot butter in a thin, steady stream, beating until mixture is cool, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently stir in apples.

3. Spoon apple mixture into warm baked butter pastry and spread level. Sprinkle cheese streusel evenly over filling. Set tart on a foil-lined 12- by 15-- inch baking sheet.

4. Bake in a 350 deg regular or convection oven until streusel is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. If tart edges brown excessively, drape lightly with foil. Cool on a rack about 1 1/2 hours. Remove pan rim. Cut tart into wedges. …

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