Cranberry sauce is an absolutely must for me on Thanksgiving. Turkey just isn’t the same without it. And it can’t be the stuff from the can either, it has to be the real thing.
It’s interesting that this tart fruity sauce is so commonly associated with meats like turkey and is even delicious if it ends up mixing with your stuffing and gravy, but you don’t see it often (if ever, at least I haven’t) in dessert. Now why is that? I think cranberry sauce is overdue for some major props in the versatility department.
We’ll start with this cranberries and cream tart where it’s deservedly the star of the show.
It begins with a crust studded with pecans and a hint of spice. The cream mentioned in the title comes from a rich filling made of whipped creme fraiche, mascapone cheese, and whipped cream. It contrasts beautifully with the tart cranberry sauce topping. Altogether it’s a great way to end a heavy meal— rich enough so you still feel a bit indulgent, but light enough that it won’t push you over the edge.
If creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese are hard to find (try the specialty cheese section of your grocery store), they can be substituted for their American “equivalents”, sour cream and cream cheese, respectively. However, these equivalents generally have a lower fat content and therefore will produce a slightly less rich and creamy filling.
We all have tried and true favorites when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts, but it’s fun to mix things up and introduce something new to your friends and family. This is just the dessert to introduce. Or, if come Friday morning you have cranberry sauce leftover, here’s a way to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.
You may want to consider adding these pies or tarts to your Thanksgiving menu:
For the crust:
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (40 grams) powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup (110 grams) pecans, finely chopped
For the filling:
8 ounces (250 grams) creme fraiche, at room temperature
8 ounces (250 grams) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (120 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
12 ounces ( , 1 bag) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (50 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of one orange
Pinch of nutmeg
To make the dough, combine the butter, sugar, flour, nutmeg, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until ingredients come together into a ball of dough, about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg yolk and tablespoon of water. Add the pecans and mix until just incorporated into the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour.
Roll the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface into a roughly 13 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a 11 inch tart pan with removable bottom*. Prick with a fork and chill in the fridge for an hour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the tart crust tightly with greased aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pie weights and aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until crust just begins to turn brown. Cool completely.
To make the filling, combine the creme fraiche, mascarpone cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium high speed until smooth. Scoop mixture into a separate bowl. Clean the bowl of the stand mixer.
In the cleaned bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream with a whisk attachment on high speed to medium peaks. While mixing on medium low speed, gradually spoon in the creme fraiche and mascarpone mixture until combined and smooth. Spoon into the cooled tart crust.
To make the topping, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, sugar, orange juice and zest, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened. Cool completely. Spoon onto tart.
The tart crust and topping can be made in advance if desired. The filling is best spread directly into the crust after mixing. The cranberry topping, filled crust, and final assembled tart should be stored in the fridge.
*You may also use an 8 inch tart pan, though you will have tart dough leftover and tart filling will be deeper.
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