Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Skip to Dessert: Cranberry Almond Tart

As I’ve said before, when I host my “House-Thanksgiving” for my friends, I don’t really stray from the classic dishes I’m used to. However, when it comes to dessert…I do what I want! :)

In the past I seem to trend towards mini-pies or other personal sized items (seen in years past), but not this time. There was a request for cheesecake, and I really wanted to make a tart of sorts.

I love making tarts…it’s way easier than making pie crust and it always looks so “fancy” that people think it took forever.

This was also the first year I had to do some do-over's of various pieces of this tart…starting with the crust.

Now this was my own damn fault. I was looking at like 5 different recipes to come up with what I wanted and along the way second-guessed myself which turned tart crust #1 into tart crust shortbread cookies :)

I knew I wanted to try my hand at making frangipane (basically an almond cream), and I wanted to use cranberries. I found many references for a Cranberry CARMEL Almond Tart and that sounded spectacular.

Martha’s Version

Smitten Kitchen’s Version

Ina’s Tart Crust can be found here

So here it is…Adventures in making my:

Cranberry Almond Tart


Very simple ingredient list IMG_6402

and BONUS it all goes into the mixer! No need for the pastry cutter this year :)IMG_6403 IMG_6404

The BEST part of this crust is that it is pressed into the shell. That means no rolling (or ripping) the dough!

The first part of the baking took place with weights in the form of dried beans over a piece of foil which had been lightly greased with butter.


After removing the foil + beans, it continued to bake and came out golden brown.


This is where things went awry. I was looking at yet another recipe which involved a frangipane tart where the tart was NOT baked first. So I thought this was a gonner as it was already baked…so I did this:


Delicious: yes! Unnecessary? YES! After all that, I deemed that, YES, I still need my tart shell baked first….ARG! Oh well.

So back at it, but this time using the dough recipe from Martha’s version.IMG_6447

If I did it again, I’d either make a bigger batch or use Ina’s recipe…this one felt a little sparse when placed into the tart pan.

In the meantime I prepped my cranberries and almonds


IMG_6451Later on, I got to work on my caramel.

This was another re-do. Again, all my fault, I read 1 1/4 cup cream but somehow turned that into 1 3/4 cup and my caramel was way too thin and was not thickening up!

Take 2:


This time I went with Smitten Kitchen’s version as I did not want to use Corn Syrup. I also only used about 1/3 of the butter as I’ve seen other caramel recipes that don’t use butter at all.

I am now kind of addicted to making caramel. I used to be so freaked out by the furry of bubbled created when you add the cream, but now I love it!!


Now here’s where the good pictures end. The last hour leading up to dinner for 13 people is a bit crazy and I managed to miss a LOT of photo opportunities for my food. Luckily there is always leftovers.


IMG_6510 IMG_6508

To recap my recipes:

  • Martha’s Dough, barely enough to fit my rectangular tart pan.
  • bake crust
  • make Frangipane. I used the recipe from my new Flour Bakery cookbook. This recipe was different from the Martha version, as it doesn't use Almond Paste, but rather Almond Flour. I also added 1/4 tsp Almond extract for more almond flavor :)IMG_6410
  • Lucky for you (and me) I can share the Frangipane recipe as it is on


Joanne Chang, from the Flour Cookbook

Yield: makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup blanched whole almonds, or 1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons unbleached all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until light. Add the ground almonds or almond flour and beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

2. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the egg, flour, vanilla, and salt.

NOTE: I added 1/4 tsp Almond Extract


  • I then poured the frangipane in the shell and baked for 15-17min at 350*.
  • Once cool, mix caramel with cranberries and almonds and place topping on top of frangipane. Bake for another 6-8 min just until cranberries begin to pop :)

Can’t wait to make more things with caramel…

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


  1. haha - I always seem to do the same thing with desserts too. I change my mind 20 times after looking at 100 recipes and realize I probably should have just gone with my first recipe :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Bummer about breaking up the tart beforehand! Your tart looks delicious though...and happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Bummer about breaking up the tart beforehand! Your tart looks delicious though...and happy Thanksgiving!

  4. i lvoe the flavors of cranberry and almond!! perfect sweet with a hint of salty combo!

    happy thanksgiving beautiful :)

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Bridget! This tart looks tasty. nice work!!

  6. The cranberry almond tart looks delicious! The fruit of the season, cranberries!

  7. Aw! That poor tart shell. At Flour, we did always spread the frangipane in the bottom of the unbaked shell though... if that makes you feel better. :)

    I just made a cranberry tart too. Hopefully I'll get to blogging about it next week.

    Yours looks so gorgeous with the almond slices.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. This looks awesome!! And I'm sure the tart shell was delicious on its own, too :) Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)


  9. Oh that's lovely - a tart which is also quite healthy - with all these berries and almonds! Looks perfect, and I love anything with caramel:)

  10. oh man, although you can't go wrong with shortbread crust :) crumbled in oatmeal? hehe. DELICIOUS looking tart!!

  11. That tart is one of my favorite desserts! (well, the SK version - but your frangipane twist sounds divine.) Everyone loves it too because it's "not too sweet", just a perfect balance of tart, nutty, adn sugary. I always go back and forth on my tart dough recipe though - I still can't say I've got it perfected! The filling though, is perfect :)

  12. Wow, a few do-overs but sounds like it was worth it. I'm sure my dad would LOVE it - I'm saving the recipe. Also... I want that rectangular tart pan. Looks so fancy!!