Ari’s Pick: Catalan Musician’s Tart

Fantastic new (old) sweet from Zingerman’s Southside

Back in the 90s, we used to make this old Catalan dessert at the Bakehouse each fall as part of our annual Fiesta de España promotion. For whatever reasons that I can no longer remember, it fell out of our rotations. I’m so happy it’s back! Many of our newer staff weren’t yet born when we used to make this tart each year, so for them, this is brand new! For me, though, it’s the exciting return of a really terrific old favorite!

Legend has it that in centuries past, traveling musicians in the Catalan countryside this time of year were paid with whatever local produce that was “left” by the time winter had rolled around—generally, that would mean an assortment of dried fruits and nuts, which could then be nibbled on with a glass of wine. At some point, a clever local baker transformed the “Postre de Musico” into a baked good—a lovely tart filled with the same dried fruit and nuts. 

overhead view of a Musician's Tart on a white plate on a white surface

If you like pecan pie, you will likely love the Catalan Musician’s Tart. For the filling, we cook down dried pears and dates with Muscovado sugar and pear nectar. Then we pour that into an all-butter, short-pastry crust and then beautifully topped with toasted almonds, pine nuts, and cashews. Not too sweet, but super flavorful! Small slivers are a great way to start the day or make a snack of it in the afternoon. Or you can serve the three-inch rounds whole for dessert as they are, or with vanilla gelato. The Musician’s Tart looks as good as it tastes. Stick one in your spouse’s lunch too for a beautiful and super tasty midday surprise!

If you like sweet and savory, they actually go well with firm sheep cheese like aged Manchego! Add a glass of muscatel like the musicians used to do! Super tasty, and to my taste not to be missed!

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Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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