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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the printer-friendly, copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:
Ingredients for one 9-inch diameter tart (8 servings or more)
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
(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. Let the caramel cool for 20 minutes. 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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