Cranberries steal the show in this festive tart. Their delightful tartness is a natural complement to the sweetness of fruits such as pears and apples. When fresh cranberries show up on supermarket shelves in early fall, stock up on a few bags. Fresh cranberries will last upwards of a month in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer.
From Fine Cooking Pies & Crisps, Taunton Press 2012, from the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking.
|1 large egg yolk||2 cups fresh cranberries, picked through, rinsed, and dried|
|1 tablespoon half-and-half||1 tablespoon brandy|
|3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract||1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom|
|11/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons plus 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour||1/2 teaspoon ground ginger|
|2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar||1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon|
|1/2 teaspoon table salt||1/8 teaspoon ground allspice|
|1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice||2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted|
|1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped||1/4 cup packed light brown sugar|
|3 large ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett|
Make the crust: Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, half-and-half, and vanilla (1/2 teaspoon). Put the flour (1 ½ cups), sugar (3 tablespoons), and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no longer visible. With the processor running, add the yolk mixture in a steady stream and then pulse until the moisture is fairly evenly dispersed, 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Using your hands, mix in the chopped walnuts to distribute them evenly. The dough will be a mealy, crumbly mass.
Pour the crumb mixture into a 91/2-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Starting with the sides of the pan, firmly press the crumbs against the pan to create a crust about 1/4 inch thick. Press the remaining crumbs evenly against the bottom of the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes. Bake until the sides just begin to darken and the bottom is set, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
Make the filling: Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, core, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries. In a medium bowl, mix the pears, cranberries, and brandy. In a small bowl, mix the sugar (2/3 cup), flour (2 teaspoons), cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (1/8 teaspoon); add to the cranberry-pear mixture, tossing to combine. Spoon the filling into the parbaked crust, leveling the filling and packing it down slightly with the back of a spoon.
Make the streusel and bake: In a small bowl, mix the flour (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon), brown sugar, and salt (1/8 teaspoon). Add the melted butter and vanilla (1/4 teaspoon). Combine with your fingers until the mixture begins to clump together in small pieces when pressed. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling, breaking it into smaller pieces if necessary.
Bake until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and the streusel and the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 50 minutes. If the tart begins to get overly brown at the edges, cover with foil. Let the tart cool on a rack until it’s just barely warm before serving.
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