Cranberry-Almond Tart

November 15, 2013

I LOVE CRANBERRIES. I love almonds. I love buttery, homemade caramel sauce. And yesterday, I baked these  ingredients in a tart. The result? Pure deliciousness! One bite and I wanted…more bites. Need a colorful dessert for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table? Baby, this tart is for you:

Here’s the photo-heavy, step-by-step recipe, followed by a photo-less copy-and-paste version:

Pour flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Process for a just a second to blend.

Then dice up a stick of butter, and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse 10-15 times, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Then whisk up an egg yolk, and pour it over the flour.

Finally, turn the machine on, tip 3 tablespoons of ice water through the processor’s feed-tube, and then immediately turn the machine off.

Now test the dough. If it holds together when pressed between your fingers, it’s good to go. If it’s too dry to hold together, process in more water, one tablespoon at a time.

And by the way, we are not alone in the kitchen. Lily the Beagle is watching our every move.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and then chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can chill the dough for up to 3 days, or freeze it for a month. Or a year. Or until hell freezes over.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle….

Gently fold the circle into a triangle…

And then unfold it onto a 9-inch diameter, 1-inch high, removable-base tart pan.

If you don’t have such a tart pan, get thee one. Right away.

Oh. You won’t have to grease the tart pan. There’s enough butter in this dough to prevent it from sticking.

Amen.

Fold the overlapping edges of the dough against the rim of the tart pan…

Use your thumbs to press the edge against the fluted side of the rim.

And please forgive the awful pictures in this recipe. I made this dough at 5:30 in the morning, when there was no natural light available. The overhead lighting in my kitchen isn’t conducive to photo-taking.

Prick the bottom (not the sides) of the tart all over with the tines of a fork.

To insure the shell holds its shape while baking, cover it with a big piece of aluminum foil. Press the foil into the contours of the pan.

Set the tart on a baking sheet, fill it with two pounds of dried beans (or use proper pie weights). Freeze the shell for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F., with the rack in the center position.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, and then remove the beans and foil. Continue to bake for 15 minutes more.

The crust is done when it colors slightly, and its bottom and sides feel dry to the touch.

Let the shell cool on a wire rack. It will keep perfectly well for 24 hours at room temperature. For longer storage, seal it in a plastic bag, and then pop it in the freezer.

Onto the filling!

Pour some sugar into a heavy, 10-inch skillet (I used a clean, dry, cast-iron skillet), set over a medium-low flame.

While the sugar melts, grab some cream…

And some butter, which you’ve cut into 8 pieces…

And heat them together in a saucepan over a low flame (or in a glass measuring cup that you can microwave) just until the butter melts.

Back to the sugar. In about 10 minutes, and with only infrequent stirring with a metal spoon (yes, I know that’s a wooden spoon up top; just pretend it’s metal) the sugar will liquify, and turn a beautiful shade of chestnut-brown.

Remove the sugar from the heat, and slowly stir in the hot cream mixture.

Note: If, after the cream is added, the sugar crystallizes and gums up the works (this can happen to the best of us), don’t despair! Just bring the sugar to an excited boil, stirring continuously until most — if not all — of the clumped-up crystals dissolve.

There. All’s well that ends well.

Strain the caramel through a wire-mesh sieve set over a bowl, and let it cool for 20-30 minutes.

Now grab some whole, frozen cranberries…

And some sliced almonds…

And pour them into the bowl of caramel. Stir with a blue spatula until every nut and berry is thoroughly coated.

Then scoop the works into the prepared tart shell.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350°F oven until the the caramel starts to bubble along the edge of the tart — 25-30 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour, and then chill in the fridge until the caramel sets — about 1 hour.

Then unmold the tart onto an attractive serving platter or cake-stand…

And dive right in.

Folks, this tart makes a beautiful presentation for the holiday table. And its tender but firm crust is as delicious as its caramel-bound, cranberry and almond filling. The only accompaniment it requires is champagne.

Yes! Bring on the champagne.

Does this tart look like something you’d like to try? You can let me know by leaving a comment below.

Here’s the printer-friendly, copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:

Cranberry-Almond Tart
Ingredients for one 9-inch diameter tart (8 servings or more)
The crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk, beaten
3 Tablespoons (or slightly more) ice water

The Filling
(Filling ingredients are loosely based on a recipe by Maury Rubin at City Bakery)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 slices
1 3/4 cups cranberries, frozen
2 cups sliced almonds

Special Equipment – a 9-inch diameter, 1-inch high, removable-base tart pan

Making the crust – Pour the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Process briefly just to combine. Add the diced, cold butter, and pulse the machine 10-15 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn the machine on, quickly add the egg yolk and the water, and then turn the machine off. Test the dough; if a small clump holds its shape when pressed with the fingers, it’s sufficiently mixed. If its too dry to hold a shape, simply process in more water, one tablespoon at a time.

Chilling the dough – Dump the dough onto your work station, and roughly pat it into a disc. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Or, you are in a hurry, you can freeze the dough for 10-15 minutes.

Forming and chilling the tart shell – On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle. Then center the dough on the tart pan. Fold the overhang inside the tart, pressing it with your thumbs against the rim of the pan. This way the sides of the tart will be thicker than the bottom. Prick the bottom (not the sides) all over with the tines of a fork. Place a big piece of aluminum foil over the tart, pressing it into the contours of the shell. Then fill with pie weights or beans. Freeze for 10-15 minutes.

Blind-baking the shell – While the foil-covered tart is still in the freezer, set the oven rack on the middle shelf; preheat oven to 425°F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or just until the crust is set. Transfer the tart to your work station, and remove the beans and foil. Then return the shell to the oven, and continue baking until the shell colors slightly, and feels dry to the touch — about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Making the caramel – Pour the granulated sugar into a 10-inch skillet set over a medium-low flame. Meanwhile, in a saucepan set over a low flame, or in a microwavable glass cup set in the microwave, heat the cream and butter just until the butter melts.

Adding the cream and butter to the liquified sugar – In about 10 minutes, and with only occasional stirring, the sugar will liquify and color to chestnut-brown. Remove from heat, and slowly stir in the cream mixture. If the sugar crystallizes, don’t panic! Just bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, until most if not all of the hardened clumps dissolve.

Straining the caramel, and adding the cranberries and almonds – Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the caramel through a wire-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Then add the cranberries and almonds. Stir the nuts and berries until they are thoroughly coated with the caramel.

Baking the tart – Pour the cranberry mixture into the tart shell. Bake until the caramel begins to bubble along the sides of the tart — 25-30 minutes.

Cooling and unmolding the tart – Let the tart cool on a wire rack for at least one hour. Then refrigerate for at least one hour. Or, cover the tart, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, unmold onto a serving platter.

Serving – Cranberry-Almond Tart is delicious cold or at room temperature, along with plentiful flutes of champagne.

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Related Posts:
Butternut Squash Pancakes
Chicken & Lemon Polpettine
Tuscan Perfection: Panna Cotta

Comments

  1. Yvonne Shelley says:

    that looks incredibly delicious!! I may just give it a try

  2. Kattrinka says:

    Oh my goodness!

  3. Deb J says:

    Oh my…it’s beautiful! Do you think the crust recipe could be formed into mini muffin tins to make mini tartlets instead of one large tart? I’m looking for finger-food recipes for holiday open houses…I like that part about freezing the dough until hell freezes over. That means I can make some of it in advance and avoid some of the last minute rush!

    Thanks Kevin…your site is my all-time favorite! I can’t tell you how many times I come here to look for ideas and inspiration.

  4. Cary Bradley says:

    Amazing! Simply beautiful tart. Kevin, you’ve done it once again. I was just given 3 pounds of beautiful fresh Cape Cod cranberries and have been wondering how to do them justice. This is the ticket! Thank you for sharing this gem!

  5. Brenda Johnson says:

    My new favorite Kevin!!!! This has bumped to the top of my “taste testing” list!!!! This pie is sensational!!! The sweet gooey caramel, the crunchy nutty almonds, the tart burst of the fresh cranberries (which in fact then makes this healthy right? Cranberries are a healthy thing!!!!) and oh that wonderful buttery crust….put all those elements together and you’ve got a slice of sinfully delicious heaven!!! THANK YOU Kevin!!!!

  6. Julie Cook says:

    …..and just where did I put that blue spatula :) Yum! And wouldn’t that caramel sauce be delicious in a granny smith apple crumb creation? Do you have a recipe something like that by any chance? Thanks for the inspiration Kevin.

  7. Hi Deb J – I don’t know how the dough would hold up in muffin tins, but it will certainly work with miniature, removable-bottom tart pans. Enjoy!

    Julie – Closest caramel apple recipe I have is this (absolutely delicious) Tarte Tatin.

    Brenda – Thanks for taste-testing!

  8. Paula says:

    Yum, but must the cranberries be frozen? Can I use fresh?

  9. Paula – Just throw a bag of fresh cranberries in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight). That’s what I did. Frozen berries are less likely to disintegrate during their sojourn in the oven.

  10. V Joanne Heyob. says:

    This sounds sumptuous Kevin. I think it will be on the Thanksgiving menu. Thanks for the post and for sharing.

  11. Anne says:

    I cannot wait to try this!!!!!!! Fabulous idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Gail says:

    This will definitely be on my Thanksgiving list!!!

  13. Margart says:

    This looks fabulous!! I will make this for Thanksgiving. I don’t know if my son and daughter-in-law like cranberries, but no matter, it will be made!! I may have to make this for the potluck at work on the 23rd!! We have a potluck every month to celebrate birthdays or anything else and this is so pretty I may have to make it for that!! Love you blog, you are such an inspiration to me!! Thanks for this recipe!!

  14. Michele Layne says:

    Looks and sounds absolutely heavenly. I’ll have to wait until after thanksgiving though. I have friends coming that don’t consume dairy but I will definetly give this a try Cristmas.

  15. Carol M says:

    This looks and sounds delicious! I am definitely going to try it.

  16. Brenda says:

    …and once again your site has made me laugh, reminded my how the chilled champagne I always have in the second refrigerator is really a good thing and gave me a lip smacking (hip packing) new recipe using the humble cranberry! I needed something different for the garden club’s luncheon Wednesday at which members bring an autumn vegetable/fruit creation w/recipe and explanation of the ‘benefits’ of it. Cranberries are good, right? I am also making a sweet potato casserole with cranberries and pecan brickle topping.

    Always a treat visiting your site…many thanks…my husband says…Beefeater or Tanqueray and two olives please and only stirred!

  17. Kathy says:

    Kevin, I found you earlier this fall and I think I am in love. Thank you for your generous soul. I will definitely be trying this.

  18. Diane says:

    I wonder if I could use your caramel sauce recipe for other desserts-or even ice cream? The tart looks delicious but I am the only person in my family that likes cranberries, bummer.

  19. Hilary says:

    Visiting your site is like a vacation. All the fun and none of the work. Thanks so much for your inspiring ideas, creative solutions and beautiful eye candy–not to mention the tasty treats. Since I have a cranberry bog in my back yard and have +/- 14 pounds of cranberries in my freezer I will have to make this. I thought I had made every conceivable cranberry recipe and you have shown me how mistaken I was. Thank you Kevin.

  20. Cynthia says:

    Fabulous, I am going to make this for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Beautiful!

  21. marion says:

    Is it possible te use dried cranberries?

  22. Milly says:

    Definitely going to try this one! Looks excellent and so colourful!!

  23. Hi Marion – Only fresh (and then frozen) cranberries will do. Dried cranberries won’t offer any juice.

  24. Susi says:

    Kevin, my food processor is on the fritz ( need new blade and have to order one). Can I use my mixer? This looks so delectable!

  25. Hi Susi – An electric mixer won’t help, but you can certainly make the pastry dough by hand, just as I used to do. A pastry-blending gadget (available in most supermarkets and all kitchen-supply stores) will help you to cut the butter into the flour. Otherwise, you can use your fingers. If the butter starts to soften as you work, just pop the bowl in the freezer for 2 minutes, and then continue. And have fun!

  26. Susi says:

    Thanks, Kevin, I’ll give it a try!

  27. Meryl Oliver says:

    Do you think any nut other than almonds would work here? My husband is allergic to them but this recipe looks heavenly!

  28. Kate says:

    Sounds like another delicious recipe! Thanks Kevin!

  29. becky says:

    Thank you Kevin for this beautiful tart. I’m making it because its so pretty! It seems simple enough that I won’t screw it up

  30. Sheila says:

    Question: I purchased a tart pan but the only size I could find was a 11″x1″. And, it is a darker colored pan–says that it distributes heat evenly, but I’ve had one of these before when I made a lime curd tart and I wasn’t happy with the way it cooked the crust. The only other pan I have is too shallow for this tart. So, do you think I need to increase the recipe filling a bit? I want to try this for thanksgiving as an additional dessert.

  31. Hi Sheila – I’m sure there is an exact way to increase the ingredients to accommodate the larger tart pan you have. But on a Monday I simply can’t do that math! Now, were I confronted with your 11×1 tart pan, I’d simply increase the dough and filling ingredients by a couple of tablespoons. In essence, it’s better to have too much material than not enough. And I suspect your tart will work out just fine.

  32. Sheila says:

    Thanks…for the input. You’ve had a busy weekend brining, an all. Turkey looked good.

  33. Roberta says:

    Kevin I always get a good laugh when I read your recipe directions. Cant wait for the cookbook. And this recipe sounds heavenly.

  34. Margaret says:

    Can’t wait to make this for family Christmas party. I just ordered
    6 lowbush, self pollinating, prolific cranberry plants from our
    local Raintree nursery. I used to live in Alaska where the lowbush
    cranberries were abundant and free.

  35. Melissa H. says:

    Cannot wait to make this for Christmas with my new tart pan!!! Thank you Kevin.

  36. ppbrownlee says:

    I’m not sure Kevin, if you ever get a chance to read all these comments–but here’s another one from an appreciative follower of your work! Your humor accompanying your wonderful recipes and gardening activities makes yours an E-mail I always open at first appearance in my In-Box! Something I rarely do with some of the other activity E-mails!! So please keep up this good work!

    We had a place up in the Berkshires for 20 years, so I well know the challenges of Zone 5 gardening. However, my veggies there were really terrific. So it can be done–even when, in one year, I had frost June 6 and 8, and then again September 4 or so! Phew, that was a short season that year.

    Wishing you all the joys of this Holiday Season and plenty of good eating! Paula PB

  37. Hi Paul PB – Yes, I read every comment I receive, although I can’t always respond. Thanks for sending yours, and best of holidays to you!

  38. Linda Noblin says:

    I plan to give this a go. However, I don’t have a blue spatula. I’ll make do. Linda

  39. Lori says:

    Amen, indeed. So when does the cookbook come out? I want to order right away!

  40. Carolyn says:

    I am making this tonight for tomorrow’s Christmas Eve celebration. I can hardly wait to try it.

  41. Phyllis says:

    Absolutely fabulous. Everyone loved it. Great directions.

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