Christmas was a quiet affair this year, without much of the usual hubbub or raucous festivities. This was partly a purposeful calm-down for me: while I usually revel in the holiday season, 2012 has been such a whirlwind that it felt good to just spend a day taking a deep breath, seeing close family and closer friends, and watching the rain pound down outside. No usual holiday dessert insanity for me this year, either. Just a simple, almost-rustic cranberry clove linzer torte: tart, buttery, spicy, sweet, and cakey, with a side of chocolate red tea that I got from a visit to the Netherlands a few years ago. The idea for a cranberry filling inside a linzer torte, which typically has a raspberry jam center, came from a colleague of mine (thanks, Beth!), and I actually like this cranberry version much better than the original. Because the cranberries are tarter, the torte isn't cloyingly sweet as it can sometimes be, and the contrast between the tart center and the sweeter, clove- and cinnamon-infused, nutty crust is such a perfect balance. The torte was so good that I made three of them, cutting large wedges as gifts to neighbors, friends, and family (and saving a fair portion for myself for breakfast this week! ;)).
What did you all have for Christmas dessert/breakfast this year?
[click on photo above for larger image]
Despite the quiet Christmas, I'm actually looking forward to a more lively New Year's this year. In years past, I've hosted a small game night on New Year's Eve for New Year's orphans (read: antisocial introverts like me who don't get invited to your stereotypical boisterous NYE extravaganzas), but this year, I have proper plans to attend a proper NYE party, which I'm properly excited about! :D My friend and I are going to make this gorgonzola and pear galette, which the host has eloquently renamed, "Galette de Poires à la Gorgonzola"--everything sounds way more festive in French, doesn't it!
Then, a few days after New Years, I'm off to Boston for a short business trip. It's been years since I've been to Boston last, but I'm excited to get to explore the city again. Please, please, please--if you have any recommendations for must-eat or must-see places in Boston, please leave them in a comment below!
I hope you all are having wonderful holidays, be it Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or Yay-no-work-or-school-for-a-couple-of-days-and-the-freeways-aren't-crowded-at-all Week! Happy Holidays!
Read on for recipe...