I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving quickly crept up on me this year. I feel that was 2016 in general as everything flew by so quickly; birthdays, the seasons, holidays. It makes me somewhat sad, but happy at the same time. I would say Thanksgiving is somewhat bittersweet for me. I love the food and family time(even though it can be a bit crazy at times), but it pains me to say goodbye to autumn and hello to winter, which happens to be my least favorite time of the year due to the cold.
Anyway, this recipe was sort of a last minute idea and something I wanted to post before I hop on a plane and head south for Thanksgiving. It’s a deliciously tart, cranberry tart with the addition of citrus and bittersweet chocolate- two, very complementary flavors to cranberry if I do say so. It reminded me so much of my favorite chocolate bar: dark, not-so-sweet, with crunchy pieces of dried orange peel speckled throughout each bite. The crust is crumbly with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. It almost reminds me of cherry pie.
I will say I’ve never once liked cranberries. Well, until recently. The only time we’d eat them would be at Thanksgiving and they were in the form of the ever so popular canned cranberry sauce. Incredibly sweet stuff and not at all of my liking. But, like most things, you have to start with fresh ingredients and see if you truly like or dislike them. I despise most anything that comes in a can now, so it’s my motto to always use fresh when possible. I try to bake by the seasons. And so, I found my love for cranberries when I decided to use them fresh. The filling for this tart I could eat by the spoonful as it’s just so delicious! While simmering away in the saucepan with the citrus, cloves, and cinnamon it lets out the most amazing scent as it floats about the house.
Speaking of cloves, be sure to remove all of them before pouring the filling into the tart shell. I accidently left two or three pieces inside and they made their way into my mouth. Biting into cloves isn’t very appetizing, as they’re a bit potent, to say the least.
CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY ORANGE TART
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup super-fine almond flour
4-ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg (+ 2 tablespoons of a smaller, slightly beaten egg), room temp.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 orange slices
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8-ounces bittersweet chocolate; chopped finely
4-ounces heavy cream
sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- With an electric standing mixer, add the softened butter, vanilla, and salt. Cream till smooth and just combined. Add the confectioner’s sugar and almond flour and mix on medium until just combined. Add the flour and large egg, mix until it comes together, and add the two tablespoons of the beaten egg. Mix on medium until the dough comes together(don’t over beat). It should be a very soft dough. Once finished, tightly wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours(until firm). Once firm, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle or circle(depending on the tart pan you’re using). Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place into the tart pan. carefully press the dough into the pan till it’s fitted, then using a fork, poke holes all around the bottom. Place in the refrigerator until firm again; while it’s doing so, preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Once preheated, brush the tart with egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten) and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges shine and are slightly golden and the bottom is cooked through. Cool completely.
- Bump the oven heat up to 375° F.
- In a medium sized saucepan, add the freshly squeezed orange juice, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, and then the cranberries. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have popped; remove the orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. In a small bowl add two teaspoons of water to the cornstarch and stir until combined. Add this mixture to the cranberries and cook, stirring over medium heat until somewhat thickened. Pour the cranberries into the cooled tart shell and evenly spread around. Sprinkle the orange zest over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely. Once cooled, remove from tart pan.
- Chop the chocolate finely and place in a bowl that holds heat well. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it begins to steam. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread around the top of the tart and let it harden. Garnish the top with flaked sea salt or orange zest and serve.