RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Senses

Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

With a Short ~ A Life Time Full of Senses

(Recipe follows my short)

It seems strange to me that something as simple as just the beginning notes of a song or the slight smell of something cooking how many memories can be nudged to the forefront of one’s mind.  Those things that happened in times past are brought to present time in a blink of an eye.   It does not take much to rattle ones thoughts through our senses.   The senses we each have (usually) of sight, touch, taste, smell, and what we hear are markers in memory from our everyday lives.   Senses are normal functions each a way of us processing information and each sense participates and operates in our perception and the storage of this information.

In addition to our traditionally recognized five senses we too have the ability to sense temperatures, too the sense in knowing where our limbs are oriented in space, we know when we have pain, our balance (inter ear,) and to know oneself and the emotions, that make knowing if we are happy, sad or even having a bad hair day.  We can perceive what time it is, how fast we are going, the direction in which we are going and so much more.  Each and all make up how we relate to everyone and everything in our lives.   What a wonder it would be if humans used all of their senses, I wonder how many we are not aware of?

It is amazing the wonder of smells and tastes of which both summons one for the other.  When you think about it our sense of taste is really about our sense of smell.  It would be hard with one and not the other and life would be rather dull without either, more so once I think about it.   When I am eating Shrimp Fettuccini in Alfredo Sauce one of my favorites the smell is delicious and too the taste is delicious, do they go hand in hand.  Does the smell dictate the taste or vice versa? Or do they work more independently?  If I like the smell will I like the taste or the possibility of me trying something new by smelling first, if it smells good will I at least take one bite just to see.  I do not think I have eaten something that smelled good and then tasted bad.   Although, that is not saying I would like the taste of perfume.

Then I have those times when I really need to “Come to my Senses!”   Each one of my senses is collecting information about everything that surrounds me from when I was just an infant to present-day and the data is stored and brought to the forefront each time I perceive or recognize a sense that uses anyone of my five plus senses.  They too collect and detect changes within my own body, how much of our knowledge comes from senses?

I remember as a very young girl taking my grandfather’s hand as we walked to the city park.  I remember how strong it felt, you could feel the muscles and the skin was taunt and thick and too he had callous on his hands from hard work.  His hand to me was very large. When he was in his nineties as I held his hand it was so much thinner, the muscles long gone the skin now relaxed and thinned and the callous were no more.  The size was not dramatic any more.  I had not forgotten his hand as I had felt it years ago and have not forgotten his hand of age years later.  Each was imprinted in my memory from touch.  Too, his smell that never changed of pipe tobacco and leather.  He has been long gone now for over thirty-five years and when I smell the same pipe tobacco as he smoked it makes me take the time to think of him.  It always will.

When one thinks of the past, it conjures up everything that makes up the full of what your life has been to date.  Your family, friends, your friends’ family, school, and people you knew, people who influenced your life in one way or another and too those that just passed through our lives each and all have contributed to the wholeness of whom we are at present.  Think of all the places you have visited and or lived and worked, and even those that you have dreamt about  (I can dream about a place from recall of a book or brochure and have a mind’s eye to what I ‘perceive’ the actual is until I see it in person, then  the realized is what clears the thoughts of what was perceived unless scents and such were used in description they would still be the same)  each and all contributes to your senses in memory that have made up your life to date. 

The loves in your life, your past loves and too those loved ones of today are each held in memory through one sense or another.  The loved one departed, some long ago others in the present, each and all loved and missed none the less.  The past also invokes so much through thoughts of the songs you sung or listened to or the song that you danced to and with whom. What you have physically and some mentally touched along the way you have hung on to, never to let go. 

I need not be standing by a rose-bush in full bloom to remember the silken feel of its petals, or to see the color of its faint veins nor does it need be in present form for me to remember its delicate scent.   Taking a rose scented bath makes me feel the rose-bush is right there with me.  Too, just in thought it can provoke the mind to remember the data left from my sense of sight and smell from long ago.

Since spring made her presence known this year the scents of her spring bulbs, flowering trees and shrubs have magnified what my mind has held on too for the length of my lifetime, each scent well-remembered, those new scents put to memory as soon as acknowledged through smell.  The scent of bread baking, chocolate tarts and the grill all recently lead me to ponder the thoughts of how incredible each of my senses are.  I have always been fascinated with ‘senses’ since I was just a child. 

Each sense defines to the immeasurable amount of how we perceive and the ways in which we live our lives.  What are likes and dislikes are and what lulls us into bliss.   I have lived in more than six states, each place I have had roses, I plant my flower gardens to bring the scents that I love and too those that mean much to me or for just plain desire and pleasure.  The same with what we eat, or those of us who love to cook, I like to make bread not only to enjoy but to have the comforting smells of home-baked breads filling my home.   Our senses help to determine so many decisions, what we eat, where we go, what we read, what we listen to, physical love and so much more. 

Tomorrow I think I will listen to a long sonata while letting the sun heat my skin as I leisurely lounge  in the chase and  indulge myself with a chocolate caramel tart that I enjoyed baking, knowing full well how much I will truly take pleasure in each one.  All of my senses I will indeed be using, I will see, smell, taste, touch, and hear and so much more….

Here is the recipe for my Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tarts, enjoy….

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tarts

Adapted from smittenkitchen ~ Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

These Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Tarts waken up yours sense of smell while they are cooking, they too wake up your taste buds while you are eating, they look more than just inviting, the texture while you are savoring this stimulating (yes!) tart that is overwhelming and gratifying, and you will indeed hear ahhhh of delight from those that are eating. The tarts use each and every one of our senses to the highest degree!

This tart is more like a brownie, I agree with Deb the tart is almost like a crackly brownie and the center being more like a truffle.  I too loath ginger, so Deb and I are off to a good start… This Chocolate tart is very extreme in chocolate taste, it definitely is very rich and I could only eat a very small slice (per sitting!)

One thing I did different besides the Macadamia Nuts was I drizzled caramel sauce  on top of the filling once it was in the shell before I baked.  The sauce is the same caramel sauce that is used in my Brioche Bread Pudding recipe.  Then I scattered the nuts on top.

I used my regular tart pastry and am glad I did.  It is always very flakey; it is not overly rich and is perfect for this tart that has all the intensity of the rich dark chocolate filling you could want.  The pastry is very simple and seems to be full-proof.

So I used no ginger crust and no ginger seasoning of any kind in the filling.  I drizzled some of the caramel sauce on top of the filling and I did use Macadamia Nuts mixed in and scattered on top and what a wonderful mix.  It is melt in your mouth good, but remember this is a very rich, indulgent dessert and a little goes a long way.  My six-inch tarts were cut into fourths and were the perfect size and everyone enjoyed each and every bite.  They agree, per sitting a quarter is plenty of this decadent dessert, this is not saying that it does not call your name for a return the next day….

Deb made a large tart, I decided to make six 6 inch size tarts and the amount of filling was perfect.  You can go by smittenkitchen if you would like to do the ginger crust for this tart.

For my pastry recipe please click.   Follow recipe all the way through the pre-baking and sitting aside for when needed.  You will have more than enough pastry for a large tart or small tarts with some left over.  You can refrigerate for a few days or put in the freezer any leftover dough.

Chocolate Tart Filling:


  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I recommend using!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts, several tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts to scatter on top of each tart

Soft whipped cream, for serving.

Caramel Sauce dizzled on if it calls to you, like it did me!

Pastry for tarts.

To make Chocolate Tart Filling:

Combine the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a heavy medium saucepan.  Whisk on low heat until chocolate is melted, mixed and smooth.  Whisk the egg yolks, egg, sugar, flour, ground black pepper, salt and cinnamon in bowl just until blended.

Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until smooth and well blended. Mix in the chopped macadamia nuts.  Now pour the chocolate filling into the pre-cooked tart shell(s.) I fill to just below the rim so they do not run over while baking.  Scatter a few chopped Macadamia nuts over the top of each tart.

Bake the tarts (or large tart if that is what you are making) until the filling is slightly puffed from center to edge of tart(s), a soft center set, about 30 minutes.  Once the tart(s) are done transfer to rack and cool tart(s) in pan(s) for twenty minutes.   Gently remove the tart(s) from pan(s) and cool tart(s) completely.  It is about this time after smelling it cook that I want to go ahead and take a bite or two, no one would miss one of the tarts.  Better not!  Wait until you smell the deep chocolate scent filling your home as it bakes, it makes you so hungry…

Cut the tart(s) into thin wedges and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream for those pleasure-seeking souls, the mix is heavenly….

As Deb said you can make the chocolate tart(s) ahead of time, 1 day ahead. Cover tart and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.  Thanks for the wonderful recipe Deb!  It sure was a hit….


© 2009 ….RaeDi

A few days ago, I was sitting on our back deck.  I had taken a book with me to read.  The songs of nature kept calling to me.  So, I finally put down my book.  I closed my eyes and just listened.  It really feeds my soul.  I am not only hearing multitudes of different bird songs and calls, but also I see such a diverse gathering of birds all in varying sizes and feathers of all colors.  It is almost as if you drink in the sounds and sights.  I know what things look like and am able to name the noise; but that is because I have lived my life with sight and sound.  If  blind and deaf now could I remember what the word stood for be it color,  hearing the color would I see it or  the shape, texture, music, name and so much more could I still hear the source with thought .  When I think of this quote from Helen Keller, the meaning in the quote has only intensified my need to take that special time and become one with my spirit, one with my maker and one with all the wondrous things that surround me.    To me, it makes me whole.  It makes me want to know as much as possible about all of nature.

 “Make the most of every sense, glory in all of the pleasures and beauty which the world reveals to you”….Helen Keller

This is something I have kept in my wood box for over a ‘few’ decades.  The first time I read this it gave me much pause to think what this truly meant.  I had always been fascinated with Helen Keller. As an infant, she contracted an illness that caused her to become deaf and blind; she could no longer see the world or her family, nor could she hear the words being spoken, there would be no more sounds of laughter.   

The senses she had left compensated for her loss of sight and sound.  The other senses became aware and bonded to interchange.  Helen Keller learned how to use each of her senses that she had left.  I sometimes wonder if she gained more than a disability.  She saw things that most do not even notice.  She heard things that most of us are not even aware.  How many times have I not heard the songbird or did not see all the colors that surrounded me for one reason or another, being too busy?  She was deaf and blind, and she missed nothing.  It also brings to my mind taking the time to smell the roses along the way.   

The gifts we are each borne with should never be wasted.   I find taking some time each day, wherever it may be, in my woods, at our beach, in one of my gardens, on one of our decks or even our balcony or  just sitting at a window because of cold and rain to  just relax and let go.  I ask in prayer for the world to be put in the palm of my hand, to let me experience what my maker has given us in sight and sound.   I put a little time aside to take in all that surrounds me.  I watch for natures calling cards.  It does not take long and nature will put on a show for me.   I have learned to hear without sound, and to see without sight, I open up my spirit and take in all of what nature has to give me. 

I cannot imagine not hearing anything, no songbirds, music, conversation, laughter and so much more.  I close my eyes and cannot imagine not seeing all that surrounds me.  I can picture it in my mind, but I wonder for how long?  When you are born deaf and/or blind, you have no memory of such.  Those that lose their hearing and sight as young children how long after losing hearing will the memory of words being spoken, the rain on a tin roof, our four-legged friends and our friends with feathers how long before they fade away?  No songs to be heard, no animal sounds, not seeing what family and friends look like, the sunups and sunsets, children at play.

Being deaf and blind can be a disability, but I have seen that they can be equal in sight and sound by matching other senses to compensate for the different.  The variable being we are blessed with many kinds of senses.   They may not have sight or cannot hear anymore, but they seem to hear and see so much more than some people without the same deficits.  They are very much aware of what is going on around them.  How many of us go through life where we choose to hear no sounds, and are blind to so much around us.  To some it makes it easier.  Don’t see, don’t hear, and so don’t have to deal with it.   They bury their head in the sand.    I am so blessed to have all my senses.  I choose to use all of them to the fullest.   I always have, that is where my inquisitive mind comes into play.  I needed to see the minute details; I wanted to be aware of the slightest of notes.  Each and all gave me color in my life, allowed me to study the masterpieces and to hear the faintest of sonatas.  All this from smelling my rosebuds, as I was gathering a few from the different rose plants in my rose garden.  Helen Keller words reminded me enjoy all that surrounds me; let nothing not be found as a pleasure of one kind or another.  

I know she saw and heard things that neither you nor I have yet ascertained there are so many things yet to discover.   What path lies ahead that will teach us a new color or new note, think of all the souls that we meet and can share all of our combined knowledge. I am waiting to hear and see what discoveries each and all have made.  Open my eyes and let me hear….

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