I’m fighting a battle with my refrigerator. My cabinets are against me too. I think they’re all in cahoots together. I’m not sure who is winning. “Let’s shrink” they’ve plotted. “Let’s spit bottles of vinegar and frozen peas at her when she opens our doors!”
I don’t quite know how the state of my food storage got so out of hand. I know it’s a luxury problem. Too much food. I’m grateful for the predicament.
But it still leaves me struggling daily to rebuild the frozen mountain of junk that avalanches out of my freezer while simultaneously shutting the freezer door to keep it all contained.
Inspired by my friend Cate and her wonderful blog Refrigerator Spy, I took some pictures. I thought it might be fun to share. No. Sorry. I’m too embarrassed. There are boxes of salt balancing on top of honey bears. Rolled bags of unidentifiable flours on top of rolled bags of rice noodles on top of rolled bags of sugars. Potatoes trying to figure out how to grow potato babies without soil.
The plus side of the mess is the inspiration. Every week I study the contents of my freezer. I try to use the fruit that’s going bad. I find a reason to measure the dregs of the buttermilk. I look for the excess and try to whittle it down. True story: As I was thinking about what to make you this week, a bag of coconut tumbled out of the cabinet bonked me on the head. Then it hit me: chocolate macaroon tart.
I was thinking of my brother, who would have turned 41 this Saturday. I was imagining what I might have made him to celebrate. Mohan was the Samoa cookie’s number one fan. As kids we fought over them. Later in life, I would always buy him too many boxes from the girl scouts that set up camp in the lobby of my old office building. More than once he called me to tell me how he had polished off an entire box and felt sick.
At 41, I think perhaps his tastes would have evolved. I would have made him this tart. A more sophisticated adaptation of the beloved Samoa essence. He would have come over to eat it and I would have begged him to take all the leftovers…and some cans of beans, and that box of lentils, and some frozen corn…
Chocolate Macaroon Tart with Candied Almonds and Sea Salt
This tart is best eaten at room temperature. Top with the almonds and salt just before serving. PS. This little friend is naturally gluten free! Enjoy.
Coconut oil, for the pan
4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven 350°F. Generously grease a 8 1/2 x 12 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Add the coconut to the bowl of a food processor and blend until evenly ground. Tip the coconut into a bowl. Add the sugar, egg whites, and salt and stir to combine. Transfer the coconut mixture to the prepared pan and press it into the bottom and sides. Bake until the crust is set and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to 325°. Set the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust. Bake until the chocolate is just set with a slight jiggle in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to room temperature.
3. Either grease a rimmed baking sheet or set a silicone baking inside the sheet. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium-high until light-amber, swirling the pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the almonds and stir to coat. Cook the almonds and sugar until the sugar has turned medium amber, another 2 minutes. Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet. Let stand to until completely cool and hard. Transfer the almond brittle to a cutting board and chop coarsely.
4. To serve, top the tart with the almonds and sea salt.