Apricot Frangipane Tartelettes are the perfect pairing with sparkling wine.
In the words of the singular Julia Child, “Wine is part of the food chain…there’s not anything evil about it. It’s part of the food.” There is a reason I love that woman!
We have a great group of friends we call our “wine group”. The group is comprised of 6 couples and each couple “officially” hosts once a year. (Of course there are plenty of non-official get-togethers.) The host couple sets the theme for the evening and provides the wine, while the rest of the group brings snacks. It’s always a fun evening!
I look forward to our annual hosting duty because I love the challenge of picking a theme, selecting the wines to go with the theme and researching the wines to share notes with the group.
The theme we chose for our latest get-together was “After Dinner”. No surprise there, I guess, since after-dinner (dessert) is my thing. Because I believe, as Julia does, that wine and food are inseparable I decided it would be fun to make a dessert to pair with each wine. This way we could enjoy the wines as a part of the total “after dinner” experience, or, as Julia would say, as a part of the “food chain”.
When pairing food and wine, experts advise that the the food and wine should match in body, acidity and complexity of flavor. An additional key piece of advice for pairing wine with dessert; the dessert should not be sweeter than the wine. You don’t want the wine to taste tart and thin when sipped with an overly sweet or overly rich dessert.
After a trip to the wine store we had our dessert wines selected; we’d start with Sant’Orsola Asti, an Italian sparkling wine (it’s always fun to start with something bubbly). Next we’d serve a French Sauternes (Château Guiraud 2009) followed by Legends Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine from the Niagara Peninsula in Canada. We’d finish with Port, which is a group favorite.
Once the wine menu was set I began planning the dessert menu. The only wine my husband and I tasted ahead of time was the Asti, which had lovely peach, apricot and honey flavors. It was a nice light wine, a little sweet, but the sweetness was balanced by the fruit flavors and acidity.
I knew right away that I would make a fruit-based dessert, probably with peach or apricot. Tarts are a nice match with dessert wines because short dough is not extremely sweet. I love buttery-almond “frangipane” filling and I thought it would be just rich enough to contrast with the fruit, but not so rich it would overwhelm the wine. Apricot Frangipane Tartelettes would be matched with the Asti.
Pairing #1 was a success. The apricot and honey flavors highlighted but didn’t overwhelm the fruit flavors in the wine, and the bubbles in the wine cut though the buttery filling perfectly.
I thought the Apricot Frangipane Tartelettes would also pair nicely with our second wine of the evening, the Sauternes. More on that in my next post.
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