This unique tart filled with homemade caramel, fresh cranberries, and whole hazelnuts is one of my favorites!
Back when I first started this blog over 8 (!!) years ago, not surprisingly my idol was Deb from Smitten Kitchen. She’s been a pro since the very beginning. I baked pretty much every recipe she shared and a few adaptations even ended up here (you can see examples— with horrid photos!— here, here and here).
A version of this tart was one such recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving in 2009 and fell head over heels in love, blogged about it, and then promptly forgot all about it. Until now! Not only have I updated the recipe, but this time I’ve made it my own. I swapped out the sliced almonds for whole hazelnuts, put more hazelnuts right in the crust, and added a little more depth to the caramel filling.
The result is a beautiful and incredible dessert that you and your friends and family won’t forget for a long time.
This tart starts with a sweet shortcrust dough (or pâte sucrée) that I’ve added a little extra hazelnut to and is filled with homemade caramel sauce, fresh cranberries, and whole hazelnuts. As the tart bakes, the caramel firms up and the cranberries slump a little. Each bite is a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and a little bit tart.
This is a fabulous nontraditional and unexpected dessert that’s perfect all fall and winter long.
baking tip:How to skin hazelnuts
The easiest way — Toast hazelnuts in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a tea towel and use the towel to rub the skins off (it will discolor the towel). Unfortunately, it’s hard to remove all of the skins with this method.
The best way — Bring a large pot filled halfway with water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Add hazelnuts and boil for 2-3 minutes until skins are loose (watch pot to make sure it doesn’t boil over). Rinse until cold water and rub skins off with your fingers. Blot dry with paper towels, then toast in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. While this method removes all of the skins, it is more time consuming.
Note: A version of this recipe first appeared on my website in 2009. Alterations to the recipe have been made and photos have been updated.
Cranberry, Caramel and Hazelnut Tart
- ½ cup chopped hazelnuts , see Notes (90 grams)
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (150 grams)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (57 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter , cold and cut into cubes (113 grams)
- 2 large egg yolks , lightly beaten
- 1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (310 ml)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup fresh cranberries (175 grams)
- 2 cups whole hazelnuts , skins removed (285 grams)
To make the crust:
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until they've been reduced to a coarse meal. Add flour, powdered sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Add cubed butter and pulse a few times to break the butter into pea-sized pieces. Pour the egg yolks over the top and pulse until the dough starts to come together, about 10 seconds.
- Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days (you can also store dough double-wrapped in the freezer for up to 2 months).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick and into a rough 12-inch circle. Transfer to a greased 11 inch tart pan (see Notes). Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line chilled tart crust with greased foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place on a sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until set and edges just begin to turn brown.
To prepare the filling:
- In a small saucepan set over medium low heat, warm cream and butter just until butter is melted. Set aside.
- Add sugar to a heavy bottom sauce pan and place over medium heat. Let sit until edges begin to melt and turn golden, do not stir. Continue to cook until all of sugar has caramelize, swirling the pan as needed to promote even browning. This whole process should take about 5-7 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.
- As soon as sugar is caramelized, remove from heat and slowly add warm cream mixture a little at a time while whisking constantly. Once all of the cream mixture has been added, return to medium heat and stir until any hardened clumps have melted and caramel is smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Stir in cranberries and hazelnuts. Pour mixture into the parbaked tart crust (crust should still be on sheet pan). Carefully transfer to oven and bake until caramel is bubbling at the edges, 20-25 minutes.
- Cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Serve immediately or store in the fridge and serve later. Tart will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.
- Feel free to swap hazelnuts for your favorite nut, both in the crust and the filling.
- I like to use chopped hazelnuts for the crust as they're cheaper than whole hazelnuts. You can also substitute for 1/3 cup (40 grams) of hazelnut flour/meal.
- If you don't have an 11-inch tart pan, you can use a 9-inch tart pan in a pinch. Reduce cranberries to a heaping 1 cup (100 grams) and whole hazelnuts to 1 1/2 cups (215 grams). You will have leftover tart dough and caramel filling.