Pies, Tarts, Crisps, and Cobblers

Custard Cranberry Tart

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As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been scrambling to find a dessert other than pumpkin pie that I can make. I’m the baker in the family, so it is generally my duty to make the desserts. To me, pumpkin pie is nasty stuff, though I’ll still make a couple for everyone else, who apparently love it. I’ve started to warm up to the flavor of pumpkin (see Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins and Pumpkin Pie Pancakes), but I just can’t get past the texture of it in pie form. Since cranberry is also typical of Thanksgiving, I settled on a cranberry tart and tried it this past weekend. It passed the test and will be on the Thanksgiving menu this year!

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Word of warning: There may be more custard than can fit in the tart shell. Especially if your crust shrinks as much as mine did. Also, be sure to not pour the custard to the brim. It will overflow. And spill all over the floor when you try and move it to the oven. It will also spill over in the oven. I speak from experience.


 

Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Tart Dough
1½ cups flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ tsp. salt
9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 egg
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

For the Filling 

1½ cups sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 Tbsp. Cognac or brandy
2 cups (10 oz.) cranberries
2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp. flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbsp. half and half
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add egg and vanilla and process in long pulses (about 5-7 seconds long) until the dough has started to clump.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and gently press the dough into a disk.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 9-inch tart pan.  Fit the dough into the pan, removing the overhang. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, or place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
 
3. Cover the tart dough with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on a rack to cool.  Move the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and maintain oven temperature.
 

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the orange juice and Cognac and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Add the cranberries; cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let the cranberries cool to room temperature.  Drain the cranberries well, reserving the cranberry syrup.

5. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Whisk in the half-and-half and vanilla extract.  Spread the cranberries in the tart shell and drizzle one tablespoon of the reserved syrup over them, then pour in the custard. Pour slowly, as not all custard may fit in the tart shell.


6. Bake the tart until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer the tart in the pan to a rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours.  Dust the tart with confectioner’s sugar.

(Recipe from The Galley Gourmet)
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