Cranberry Tart is a beautiful dessert that can be served year-round. But I thought it particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day…even though the only chocolate in it is the white chocolate I sprinkled on top (which doesn’t really count).
Making this tart was my excuse to finally purchase a tart pan. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it does make a pretty presentation with the fluted edges. However, a 9″ regular pie dish (like Pyrex) will work fine. By the way, I didn’t grease the pan and the tart still released perfectly.
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- 3 T granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour (1¼ oz – it’s always better to weigh, if you can)
- 10 T butter, soft
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
Toast almonds either in the oven or a dry skillet until lightly browned. Let cool.
Place almonds, sugar, flour, and salt in the food processor with the steel blade. (You can use the blender, but you’ll have to mix the rest by hand or with an electric mixer.) Pulse until the almonds are a fine crumb – about 8 pulses. Add in softened butter and almond extract. Pulse until mixture clumps together. Place a 9″ tart pan on a cookie sheet – this is important since tart pans have a removable bottom and you don’t want to accidentally push it up when you lift the filled tart. (You don’t need the cookie sheet if you’re using a regular pie plate.) Scatter pieces of the dough around the tart pan (or regular 9″ pie pan), putting more near the edges. With fingers, press down the dough starting with the sides so it evenly covers the sides all the way up the top, and the bottom of the pan. Pay special attention to the corners – push them in so you have a nice sharp inside edge with more room for the filling. Place a piece of waxed paper over crust and fill with pie weights, uncooked beans, or rice. Bake in preheated 375º F for 12 minutes. Remove waxed paper and weights by bringing corners together and carefully rocking it out – you don’t want the crust to stick to the paper. (If some of it does stick to the waxed paper, scrape it off and replace it in crust.)
Continue to bake the now-uncovered crust for another 5 minutes or so until lightly browned. Carry the cookie sheet with the tart pan on top to a rack and completely cool.
NOTE: As Queen of Freeze, I encourage you to freeze the unused egg whites from the required egg yolks in the filling for future use. Waste not, want not!!!
SECOND NOTE: I wanted a deeper red color but don’t like to use commercial food colorings. So I made my own red coloring using a red beet. It’s quick to do and doesn’t affect the flavor of the curd. But, you don’t need to color the filling – it’s a pretty pink on its own – or you can use purchased coloring, if you want.
- optional for deeper red color: 1 red beet
- 12 oz cranberries (either fresh or frozen), rinsed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice (I use Pom)
- 2 T lemon zest
- optional: 2 tsp beet juice extracted from the beet
- 8 T butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 2 eggs, whole
- 2 yolks
Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
If you want to make a deeper red colored tart: wash, peel, and roughly chop beet. Place in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup of water. Bring to boil and cook, uncovered, until water (which is now red) boils down to about 2 teaspoons. Let cool. In another saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, salt, pomegranate juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and cook until the cranberries start to pop – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Note: Possible suggestion (although I haven’t tried this): To eliminate the above step of separately boiling the beet, try quartering the peeled beet (so you can find them easier), and add them to the cranberries before boiling. Then remove the 4 beet pieces before running the cranberries through the food mill.
Place butter in a medium sized bowl. Set food mill or strainer on top of bowl and pour cranberry mixture through the food mill or strainer. Extract as much liquid as you can. The hot liquid will melt the butter and cool down the liquid. Beat the whole eggs and yolks together in a small bowl, then slowly whisk into the cranberry mixture. Add beet juice (if using). Clean out the saucepan you used for cooking the cranberries. Pour the filling through a strainer (to remove any bits from the egg and/or cranberries) into the empty saucepan. This takes some time since it’s thick! You don’t HAVE to do this step, but the curd is silkier if you remove the bits. You can see what would have been left in the curd if I hadn’t strained.Over medium heat, cook until thickened, stirring often – about 5 minutes. When oven is preheated, pour filling into cooled crust. (Make sure tart pan is still sitting on a cookie sheet – you really don’t want to chance pushing up on the bottom!)
Bake at 350º F about 8 minutes, until center 3″ is still jiggly but sides are firm. Don’t wait until center is firm or it’ll be overcooked. Remove from oven. While tart is still hot, remove tart pan side by very carefully scooting the tart pan from the cookie sheet onto a wide can or bowl. (Make sure the diameter of the bowl is smaller than the tart pan opening.) Gently press down on tart pan edge and it should fall right down. Don’t move the tart yet – let it completely cool before moving it. Once tart is completely cooled, remove tart pan base – it may crack if it’s still warm. To remove base, run a thin, long implement (or maybe unflavored dental floss – I haven’t tried that, though) between crust and tart pan bottom. Carefully, nudge tart onto a serving plate.
Chill at least 6 hours. Making it the day ahead is best.