Thanksgiving is less than 24 hours away, and if you have still not decided what will go on your dessert menu, try these rustic Cranberry tarts which have an old-world charm to them, and with cute individual-sized portions, each guest can have their own personal pies, without having to horde around one big plate! Homemade pie dough can be made overnight and refrigerated, and you can also make the cranberry filling ahead of time. Add some holiday flavor by sprinkling dashes of fall flavors like nutmeg, some raisins and chopped pecans. Orange zest and Grand Mariner take it up one notch higher, making it a memorable feast for your friends and family. Recipe by Karen Baker, via Fine Cooking magazine; photo by Scott Phillips.
For the dough:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
6 oz. (12 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cold water
For the filling:
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup granulated sugar; more to taste
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/8 tsp table salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts
For Base & Garnish
3 Tbsp gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about 6 cookies)
Granulated sugar for sprinkling
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
Making the dough
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and press it into a cohesive ball. Divide it into six equal balls and put each on a sheet of plastic. Press the balls into disks and wrap well with the plastic. Refrigerate the dough until firm, 1 hour (or hold in the refrigerator for up to two days).
Making the Filling
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the cranberries with the raisins, sugar, maple syrup, orange liqueur, orange zest and juice, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, the cranberries have popped open, and the mixture is quite thick and syrupy, about 6 minutes. Taste the mixture. If it seems too tart, add more sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 cup cranberries, nutmeg and chopped pecans. Let the filling cool to room temperature (it will thicken to a jam-like consistency). Once cool, the filling can be refrigerated for up to two days.
Baking the Tarts
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. About 15 minutes before rolling the dough, take it out of the refrigerator so that it becomes malleable.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk of dough into a 5-1/2- to 6-inch round.
Transfer three rounds to each baking sheet and sprinkle the gingersnap crumbs evenly over the surface of each round, leaving a scant 1-inch border. Dollop the cooled filling into the center of each dough round. Use the back of a spoon to spread the filling evenly, leaving a 1-inch border.
Gently fold the border over the filling, pleating as you go, to partially enclose the filling. Lightly press the pleats together to seal. Sprinkle the crust with sugar. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream on the side.
Tart Recipe Variations
Feel free to adapt the recipe for the filling by using seasonal fruits. Apples, Pears, Peaches, Plums are all great fruit tart flavors. the basic recipe for the dough and the shell remains the same. You can freeze the tart dough for upto a month, so make the most of this recipe, and you can easily bake variations of the same, all through Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Traditional Bourbon Pecan Pie
Roasted Pumpkin & Onion Bisque
Upside Down Cranberry Cake