cranberry pecan frangipane tart – smitten kitchen

I am the first to admit that I do not create nearly enough of my *own* recipes. Oh, I tweak, I adapt. I skip some things and add others. But I don’t often enough decide that I want something enough to go out and find my own way to get there, which is a shame because when I do, it is never nearly the disaster I expect it to be.

cranberries, floating in frangipane sea

And when I do, it makes me so happy, so Deb (as I was the only person in this room) let this be a lesson to you: do this more often, okay? Case in point, vowing to give the fresh whole cranberry more of a spotlight this year, I had been trying to figure out what kind of tart could be made with it for weeks, (Yes, besides that one.) but kept coming back to the idea of burying them in some sort of custard or filling to offset how tart they’d be. I knew I liked the frangipane idea, but although I love almond paste tremendously, I’ve always thought plain ground almonds were rather dull.

out of the oven

And this, this is anything but. Ground pecans, a little orange zest, a nip of brandy and whole tart cranberries, cooked until they slump, all filling out The Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell and we cannot keep our forks out of it. (You know, cutting a little sliver. Determining it an uneven cut. Evening it out. Repeating this until the half you were saving for others looks sorrier and sorrier.) I don’t know if this tart will be half as much of a hit in your house as it has been in our penthouse (ha) but if you don’t like it, just call us. We’ll be right over, slivering knife in hand.

into my mouth

Two years ago: Miso Carrot Sauce With Ginger, Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets

Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart

The problem (as if there could be one) with finding a tart shell that doesn’t lose volume when baked is that you need to rejigger your fillings so they actually, well, fill things. I’ve scaled the recipe I used in the photos (which ended up only about 2/3 way full) to fill and even dome a little in the crust.

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 to 1 cup whole, fresh cranberries

1 Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell, baked and cooled
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For pecan filling: Finely grind pecans and flour in processor. Mix in sugar, then butter, orange zest and brandy (if using). Blend until smooth. Mix in egg and egg white. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread pecan filling evenly in baked tart crust. Arrange cranberries on top. Use the smaller amount for a sparsely cranberried tart like you see in these pictures. Use the larger amount if you, like us, really like things extra tart.

Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 44 to 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

Do ahead: Tart dough can be made, wrapped twice and kept in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a week or two. Baked pastry shell, once cool, can be covered in foil and kept at room temperature for up to two days. Frangipane can be made up to three days in advance, and kept in the fridge until ready to fill the shell. Cranberries keep well in the fridge, but even longer in the freezer. Tart can be made up to a day in advance and wrapped in the fridge (probably longer in the fridge, but you may risk losing some crispness) or at room temperature.

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