It’s that time of year again where I get all excited about the return of fresh cranberries. Apparently I’ve created a reputation for myself as a truly cranberry obsessed food blogger, Claire from Foodie Quine told me the other day that every time she sees a punnet of cranberries she thinks of me. I think that’s a good thing…
… there’s certainly worse things to have a reputation for. I also know that Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen is another big cranberry fan so at least I’m not the only one!
I have to confess that I very nearly asked mum if I could order a whole case of fresh cranberries for myself when they first appeared on the order sheets at the end of October (big advantage of parents owning a greengrocers), then I realised that would be a bit silly, plus they wouldn’t all fit in the freezer. Instead I waited until other people actually wanted to buy cranberries so I could buy a few punnets when I needed them to bake with.
The first version of this cranberry tart with pecan pastry was made during the summer not long before we started getting properly organised for our house move. After conducting a thorough freezer audit, i.e. throwing out unidentifiable leftovers and working out what was still edible, I found a big bag of cranberries leftover from last year and decided to use them all up at once. It also gave me a good excuse to test out the new 30cm loose based tart tin that I’d bought for myself and fortunately I had just the right amount of cranberries to fill the tin.
Initially I tried making this by blind baking the pastry case first but found that the edges of the pastry started to burn before the lattice top was baked, so I skipped the blind baking stage for the final version of the recipe. As it’s a shallow tart with a filling that isn’t too wet I think you can easily get away without blind baking first and not end up with a soggy bottom. This also makes it a quicker dessert to prepare which is always a good thing at this time of year.
The filling is gently spiced with the festive flavours of cinnamon and cloves and is delicious served warm with custard or at room temperature with thick double cream. I haven’t tried it with brandy butter yet but I think that could work well too for a fruity alternative to Christmas pudding.
- 350g plain flour
- 175g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 75g icing sugar
- 75g pecans, very finely chopped in a food processor
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 450g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 250g light brown muscovado sugar
- 250ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- egg wash to glaze - made with 1 beaten egg and a splash of milk
- icing sugar to dust over - optional
- Put all of the filling ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have popped and you have a jammy consistency similar to cranberry sauce. Remove from the heat and leave to cool then remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Next make the pastry. If making by hand, add the flour, sugar, pecans and butter to a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until you get a breadcrumb texture. Then add the egg and the water and use a round bladed knife to mix everything together, finish off by bringing the dough together with your hands and shaping into a ball. If using a food processor, add everything except the egg and water, pulse a few times until you get a crumb texture, then add the egg and water and pulse again until the pastry starts coming together. Wrap the finished pastry in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, cut off one third and set aside. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 3-4mm thick and use to line a 30cm loose based tart tin. Trim the edges, leaving a small amount of pastry overhanging and use the offcuts to patch up any holes in the pastry. These seem to be inevitable when lining a tin this size.
- Roll out the reserved third of pastry into a rectangle approximately 25 x 35cm. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter if you have one to neaten up the edges and then cut out strips of pastry, you need about 16 strips in total. Use the offcuts of pastry to cut out decorations if you wish. I used a medium sized holly leaf plunger cutter to make mine.
- Spread the filling evenly over the pastry case then criss cross the pastry strips over the top to create a lattice pattern then finish with pastry decorations.
- Brush the pastry lattice all over with the egg wash and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling.
- Cool on a wire rack in the tin then transfer to a large plate dust with icing sugar when ready to serve.
- The tart is equally delicious served warm or at room temperature. Any leftovers can be covered with foil and stored in the kitchen if your kitchen is cool or in the fridge.
Hopefully this has whetted your appetite for festive pastries. I’m hosting The Pastry Challenge this month which I run with Lisa from United Cakedom and this month feel free to link up any pasty recipes you make. They don’t have to be Christmas themed but they do need to include pastry. A reminder of the challenge guidelines is below.
A few challenge guidelines
The Pastry Challenge will run from the 1st to the 28th of each month with a round up posted by the hosting blog at the end of each month.
You can link up an entry made with any kind of pastry each month and feel free to join in with other blog challenges too if your entry meets their criteria.
We’d like to see entries from new blog posts or republished posts with links and badge added please and you can enter more than one recipe if you like.
If you want to tweet your links you can tag us on @JensFood and @unitedcakedom using the hashtag #thepastrychallenge and we will retweet all entries that we see.
We’ll also be pinning all of the entries onto our new Pinterest board too as they come in.
If you make a recipe from a book/magazine/website etc please respect copyright and do not reproduce the recipe verbatim. Instead of copying out the recipe from the book, describe it in your own words and if it’s from an online source please link to the original content.