Thanksgiving the last several years have been very easy for me. With plenty of parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents around to do most of the legwork, I’m left with very little to do. I’m sure the time will come someday when everyone will descend upon my house and it will be my turn to roast the turkey and make food assignments. And when that happens I’ll happily accept the challenge, but for now it’s just Steve and I and we have family who are kind enough to just let us show up right when it’s time to eat. Regardless of any food assignment I’ve been given, I always have to bring a pie. It would be weird not to.

Caramel Cranberry Almond Tart 4

Last year it was an Apple Pear Cranberry Crumble Tart (try saying that five times fast). And this year I wanted to make something fitting for the season, but also unique. There’s always plenty of pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies, and I wanted to offer some variety. I did a lot of searching through recipes and when I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for a Cranberry, Caramel and Almond TartI was intrigued; I’d never heard of such a thing. I should probably rename this blog Annalise Bakes from the Smitten Kitchen because it seems like that’s all that I do, but it’s because she never fails me. Her stuff is awesome and this tart was no different.

Caramel Cranberry Almond Tart 3

With the exception of the tart crust, this recipe contains exactly five ingredients. The caramel can be a little tricky to make (I had no problem this time, but I have had past caramel disasters), but other than that it’s a sinch. And oh my, is it yummy. I think I had every family member from Thanksgiving dinner come up to me and compliment me on it. It is definitely unusual and the flavors are not ones that you’d think would meld well together, but they do. Until I find something even better, I think this is going to be my standard Thanksgiving pie dish. This would also be great for Christmas if you’re thinking you can’t wait a whole year to make it.

Caramel Cranberry Almond Tart 2

Cranberry, Caramel and Almond Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes one 9 inch tart

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor (You may also work the dough by hand with a bit of elbow grease). Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in and they resemble the size of peas. Lightly whisk the egg, just so it’s broken up, and pour over the dough mixture. Pulse in 10 second intervals until the dough comes together. After a few pulses the dough will change from dry and grainy, to one moist clump. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead lightly to incorporate any dry ingredients. Form the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Once properly chilled, roll the dough out on a floured surface into a circle about 12 inches round. Carefully transfer dough into a buttered 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim the crust to about a 1/2 inch overhang and fold it over on itself so that the crust walls are double thick. Pierce crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover the crust tightly with buttered aluminum foil. Parbake (partially bake) the crust in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. If any of the crust has puffed up during baking, gently press it down with the back of a spoon.

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup frozen cranberries
2 cups unblanched sliced almonds

Put the heavy cream and butter into a saucepan over low heat just until the butter is fully melted. Remove from heat. Pour the sugar evenly into a deep 10-inch skillet and place over medium-low heat. The sugar should turn a pale yellow, then gold, and then a deep caramel color. Do not stir the sugar, just leave it be. If it appears that it is unevenly browning, lift the pan and swirl the sugar around and adjust the heat as needed. This was one of the hardest parts for me, not stiring the sugar, but trust me, it will be alright.

Once the sugar has completely caramelized, slowly pour the cream and butter in, whisking continuously. At first I poured a tablespoon or two in at a time and whisked until it was fully incorporated, and then very gradually added more and more. Be cautious as the caramel is very hot and may splatter. And it will take several minutes and a lot of whisking; be patient.

When the caramel is complete, add the cranberries and almonds and stir until everything is coated. Pour the mixture into the parbaked tart shell. Place the tart shell on a sheet pan (this is in case the caramel overflows) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until the caramel is bubbling around the edges. Remove the tart from the oven and let stand for 1 hour.

Remove the tart sides from the bottom and serve warm or at room temperature.

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