Cape Brandy Tart With Brandy Sauce

Cape Brandy Tart With Brandy Sauce

I can’t remember a Christmas back at home when we didn’t sit around the family table and enjoy my sister Anne’s wonderful tart at the end of a meal. It is heartwarming and incredibly convenient: it can be made days in advance and frozen, with no effect on the delicious result. For Christmastime, add ½ cup fo glacéed cherries to the batter; these holiday treats are the red and green cherries preserved in jars. 

  • 1 cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • Brandy sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 to 2 cups whipped cream, for topping
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1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.

2. Place the dates in a small bowl, pour 1 cup of boiling water over them, and add the baking soda. Let the dates stand for 10 minutes, or until soft.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the beaters attached, combine the butter and sugar, and beat until creamy. Beat in the egg. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the date mixture, including the water, and the pecans. Mix well.

4. Line a lightly oiled or buttered 9-inch aluminum pie plate with parchment paper. (Alternatively, use a 9-inch springform pan.) Pour the date and nut mixture into the prepared plate and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. To serve, remove from the pie plate, discard the parchment paper, allow to cool slightly, cut into wedges, and top with Brandy Sauce and whipped cream.

NOTE To store the tart, if made in advance: First, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then place it in a plastic freezer bag, expel the air, seal the bag, and place it in the freezer for up to one month. To reheat the tart, place it an a 250 °F oven until warm, about 45 minutes. 

Bandy Sauce:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brandy (or rum)

Combine the sugar with ¼ cup cold water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla, followed by the brandy.  

-Colin Cowie

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