Cranberry walnut tart & simple cranberry sauce

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – If you thought no-stress November meant opening a can of cranberry sauce, think again! Make your own homemade cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving using fresh cranberries. Sandy D’Amato is from Good Stock Farm and he joins us with a delicious, colorful recipe.

For About 3 cups

½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
Pinch of kosher salt

Place the water and sugar in a small sauce pot. Bring up to a boil, covered. Uncover and add the cranberries and salt. Bring back to a boil and cook covered and tossing regularly until all of the cranberries just pop. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Serve chilled.

For 1 (11-inch) Tart

For the Tart Shell:
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 small egg, room temperature
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a medium bowl until light, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg, vanilla and salt to emulsify. Add the flour and beat until the dough just comes together – do not over-mix. Roll out the dough between sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of ¼ inch. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto an 11-inch diameter removable-bottom tart pan. Peel off the sheet of paper and press the dough evenly into the pan. Trim the edges and refrigerate until well-chilled, for about 1 hour.

For the Frangipan (or substitute Almond Filling):
2 ounces almond paste
2 ounces granulated sugar
2 ounces butter, room temperature
1 small egg, room temperature
1 ounce all-purpose flour

Process the almond paste with the sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until smooth. Add the egg and emulsify. Pulse in the flour until just combined – do not over-mix. Reserve in the refrigerator.

For the Cranberry Mix:
2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup currants, heated in a small sauce pan with 2 tablespoons brandy until plump, let cool
¼ cup granulated sugar

In a bowl and just before baking, combine all of the ingredients.

For the Toffee (or substitute Hershey’s Bits ‘o Brickle):
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Place a piece of parchment on a ½-size baking sheet with sides. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water. Stir to dissolve, bring up to a boil and cook to a dark caramel stage, for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, then carefully stir in the butter, cream and salt until the butter melts (be careful, this will create steam). Pour onto the baking sheet and freeze until it is firm. When it is firm, break the toffee into small pieces and coarsely chop in a food processor, pulsing. Freeze in an airtight container and reserve. (Caution: When working with caramel, use extreme caution as it can give you an extremely dangerous burn.)

To Finish the Tart:
Baked Tart Shell
Prepared Frangipan
Prepared Cranberry Mix
Prepared Toffee

Spread a thin layer of Frangipan (about ¼-inch) on the base of the Tart Shell. Fill the Tart Shell with the Cranberry Mix and bake at 350° until the crust is golden brown and the cranberries are slightly wilted, for about 14-18 minutes. Liberally sprinkle the Toffee on top of the tart upon removing from the oven. When the tart is room temperature, unmold it and serve.

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