Thursday, November 25, 2010

Overlooked: Cranberry Tart

Cranberries are overlooked. Don't get me wrong, we use them all right. Cranberry juice is always a hit. Craisins reinvented dried fruit. And cranberry sauce is a staple at many Thanksgiving tables. No the cranberry dilemma is not for lack of products or volume. It is for lack of inclusion.

You see, fresh cranberries rarely make it to the dessert table. Apple crisps, blueberry crumbles, pumpkin pies all reign over the holiday, but cranberries are suspiciously missing in action. I think people are turned off by their tartness, and assume there is not much to be done with them. But I say if you can turn rhubarb into something special, cranberries pose no great challenge.

Here is a terrific, simple recipe that is sure to please. The sweet and sour of the cranberries and orange are complemented by a splash of Cointreau and lots of rich wonderful cream. The tart is deconstructed, which makes preparation easy and the overall effect visually stunning. The result is a fun, elegant dessert that provides a wonderful stage for the mighty cranberry.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy every bite.

Cranberry Tart

  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 12 - 16 oz cranberries
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 + 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp + 1/4 cup + 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine the cranberries, orange juice, and 2 tbsp sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter on low heat. Add orange zest (approx. 1 tbsp). Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Slowly pour the butter into the mixture; stir with a fork until blended.
  5. Press the dough into the tart pan. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Combine the remaining sugar, flour, eggs, Cointreau, and cream.
  8. Drain the cranberries and place in the tart pan. Pour the cream mixture over the top. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet: Cranberry Almond Bark

The Thanksgiving guest is always searching for the perfect gift. What if someone else (and they will) brings flowers and wine? How many sides and dessert are enough?

Here's a simple little hostess gift that takes less than 10 minutes to make and is sure to please. This recipe is a great choice because everyone has different preferences, there is always one person with some weird allergy to regular chocolate and can't partake in the standard offers, and the cranberries give it a nice, Thanksgiving feel. Enjoy every bite.

Cranberry Almond Bark
adapted from Jane Sharrock's Who Wants Candy

  • 16 oz of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

  1. In a double boiler, melt the chips
  2. Add the almonds and cranberries
  3. Pour onto a lined baking sheet (parchment paper is fine). Smooth into a thin layer.
  4. Cool in the fridge for 1 hour. Break into pieces and serve.