Friday, November 26, 2010

Cranberry Pear Tart or Gratin

So, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I had posted this recipe beforehand, showing the gratin but not the tart, which I planned on making for Thanksgiving.  I did go ahead and make this as a tart, which you can see came out beautiful!  And so tasty - everyone loved it.  As per my original assessment, I did add a little thickener so it would work better in the tart, but I also found that I didn't use all of the streusel, so I've adjusted the amounts below, and I didn't use all of the filling.  I'm not changing the filling, though, because you need that amount of liquid  to cook all of the pears.  Just save the extra as cranberrysauce, and that will be delicious, too.

Whether you make it as a tart or a gratin, the flavor is intense, but not as bitter as many cranberry desserts.  It seems to be adored by both those who love cranberries and those who usually don't like them, so give it a try!

For the crust   you can use either the Press-In SablĂ© Crust, weighted and partially baked, or you can use Sweet Pastry Crust, which is a more traditional tart crust recipe.  For this crust, roll the dough into a 13-inch round, about 1/16-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it snugly into the bottom of the pan where it meets the edges and into the flutes of the tart pan. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to cut off the excess dough. Press up on the edges to thin them out and to raise the edges about 1/16-inch (for a photo description, see Pies and Tarts Part 3. ) Refrigerate or freeze the crust for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 weeks (for long storage, place the tart in a jumbo zip-top bag).  For either crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Press a piece of greased aluminum foil snugly on top of the dough. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil and beans and bake 5 minutes more, just  until the bottom crust is cooked but not brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Cranberry Pear Filling
3 cups fresh cranberries ( about 1 package)
3/4 cup sugar
2 McIntosh apples, peeled,halved and cored
3-4 firm pears, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice and tossed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice (using 4 pears will give a little more "tooth" to the filing)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Water, as needed

1 teaspoon tapioca starch or cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water

Streusel (Crumbs)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed, scooped and levelled into measuring cups
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Wash the cranberries and remove any soft or rotten berries. Measure out 3 cups and place in a saucepan with the sugar. Place the apples in a food processor and process as finely as possible. Add to the pot. Cook over medium-low heat until the berries release their juices, about 8 minutes. Add the pears, brown sugar, orange juice, raisins and cinnamon to the pot. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the pears are cooked, through but still firm, about 10-20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot. If the mixture does not seem to be saucy enough, add water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture seems thin enough for the pears to cook and for the mixture not to scorch. ( If your pears were very hard to begin with, they will take the longer amount of time to cook). During the last minute of cooking, place the starch in a small bowl and gradually add the 2 teaspoons of water to the starch. Stir this into the cranberry mixture and boil for about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use (can be made ahead).

For the Tart:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  For the streusel, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the butter and mix with your fingers to distribute the fat. Squeeze the mixture into crumbs.  Fill the tart with the cranberry filling.

Top with the streusel, and bake at 375 degrees F. until the crumbs are browned, about 15-25 minutes. Let the tart cool at least 30 minutes before serving. The tart can be made 8 hours ahead and stored, uncovered, or loosely covered, at room temperature.

VARIATION - Cranberry Pear Gratins

For 8 gratins, you probably need half of the filling and a full recipe of the Streusel.
To make gratins, leave the thickener (tapioca or cornstarch) out of the filling.  Place about 1/2 cup filling in each of 8 mini-gratin molds (you can also use ramekins, but you get more topping with the gratin molds which are shallow and long).  Sprinkle the crumbs over the gratins and set in the oven for 15-25 minutes, just until the crumbs are nicely browned.  Let the crisps cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  


Lori Lynn said...

Hi Penny! That does look perfect for Thanksgiving. Something we could make here for sure. Hope you are well!
P.S. Love the unique shaped dish too.

Dinetonite said...

wow, that was looking delicious

pranee halvorsen said...

Looks delish, I love cranberry.
So I have to try the recipe soon.

Vanessa LaBranche said...

This recipe for a cranberry tart using a sweet sable crust looks delicious! The addition of pears, apples and raisins I'm sure makes a great taste combination. Excellent visual presentation of the tart and recipe. Thanks!

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

Thanks all for the nice comments. I love seasonal foods that you have to wait for each year. It so heightens the experience!