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