In a world gone pumpkin crazy, this fall tart stands out
Everywhere you look, someone is coming at you with something pumpkin-spice flavored or scented. Pumpkin spice oil for your car, air freshener for your house or balm for your lips. Here’s a sweet antidote to a world gone pumpkin mad.
CARAMEL CRANBERRY-ALMOND TART
1 rolled out tart dough (recipe follows)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream
11⁄2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Pinch of salt
Place dough round in a 9-91⁄2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Pat firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset shrinkage during baking.
Refrigerate or freeze tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Partially bake the tart shell (at least 20 minutes, lined with foil and weights to prevent bubbling). Transfer to a cooling rack. Place oven rack in middle of the oven and reduce temperature to 325 F.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continue cooking, shaking or tilting the pan but not stirring — that would recrystallize the sugar — until the sugar dissolves and the syrup begins to turn golden. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until syrup is golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place a sieve over the top of the saucepan to prevent splattering and slowly pour in the cream: be careful not to let the hot syrup bubble up and splatter. When bubbling stops, whisk well. Add the cranberries, almonds and a pinch of salt, stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the partially baked tart shell.
Bake the tart until the cranberries have collapsed and the mixture is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove and slide onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.
BASIC TART DOUGH
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. The dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled for 30 minutes.
Roll out to 1⁄8-inch thickness.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.