Cranberry Crumble Tart

While I made this stunning cranberry crumble tart for Thanksgiving, I think it's perfect any time cranberries are in season.

It's best served warm and bubbly with vanilla ice cream.

Cranberry Crumble Tart (adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking)
(Print this recipe)


Flaky Tart Dough
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

20 ounces (or 5 cups) fresh cranberries (I used 20 ounces, which ended up being a lot more than 5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
4 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Make the tart dough: Place butter pieces on a plate, and chill them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Pour the water in a small bowl or measuring cup, and keep it refrigerated until needed.

Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor, and process for 10 seconds, just until mixed.

Add frozen butter pieces, and pulse 6 to 10 times. The mixture will be clumpy.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon of water over the mixture, and stir it in by fluffing the mixture with a fork. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time and fluffing the mixture after each addition until you have added 3 tablespoons.

Take a handful of dough and squeeze it. If the dough is too dry, it will crumble and fall apart. Add another tablespoon of water, and fluff it in. If the dough is just right, it will hold together when you squeeze it.

Turn the dough out onto the counter, and knead it gently a few times. Flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour your countertop, and place the dough on it. Roll the dough out into a 14- or 15-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough circle on a sheet pan (fold it in quarters to make it easier to lift and move it), cover it with plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.

Press the dough into and up the sides of a tart pan. (The original recipe calls for a 9-inch tart pan, but I used an 11-inch pan.) Trim the dough so that it fits the tart pan, leaving a 1-inch overhang (reserve excess dough for patching). Dip your finger in cold water, and run it around the inside wall of the dough to moisten it. Fold down the overhang and press it against the dough on the inside edge of the pan to seal it. Cut away any overhanging dough. Return the tart to the fridge.

Pre-bake the tart shell: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once oven is preheated, retrieve the tart from the fridge. Line the chilled tart shell with foil, and fill it with pie weights, beans, or rice.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the foil can be lifted easily away from the dough (bake for 5 to 6 minutes longer if foil sticks to the dough). Remove the tart from the oven, lift out the foil and weights, and return the tart to the oven.

Continue baking for another 10 minutes. Check to see if any cracks have formed. If there are any, smear a little bit of the reserved dough in the cracks. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until tart is evenly golden brown. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Make the filling: Coarsely chop about half of the cranberries with a knife or in food processor. In a large bowl, combine the chopped and whole cranberries, sugar, orange zest, flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the filling into the cooled tart shell. (It may look like too much filling, but trust me -- it all fits and it didn't bubble over! And because my tart pan has a removable bottom, I placed it on a sheet pan just to be sure.)

Make the topping: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Add butter, and mix on medium-low until mixture forms lumps. Use your hands to crumble the topping over the filling.

Bake the tart: Reduce oven to 350 degrees, and bake tart for 40 to 45 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown. Carefully transfer the tart to a cooling rack.

You can serve it warm or let it cool completely and reheat it for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven when ready to serve.

The tart keeps for 1 day at room temp or up to 3 days wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Do you like cranberry desserts? What are your favorites?


Thanksgiving 2010 Wrap-Up

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was wonderful! I loved spending time with family, family-to-be, and friends. I also loved having four days in a row without work! I honestly don't get how with a seven-day week, five of those days are work days and only two are work-free. The normal work week should only be four days a week... life would be so much better that way. But I digress...

Thanksgiving No. 1

On Thursday, we went to Jeff's parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner. While all the guys watched football, the girls sat in the other room watching Love Actually -- one of my favorite movies, especially at this time of year. When the game ended, we sat down to an amazing dinner. The spread included challah, chicken soup, turkey, brisket, stuffing, potato kugel, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and warm popovers!

For dessert, Jeff's mother made an apple pie and a chocolate pudding pie. I made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting (a favorite of Jeff's father and a huge hit) and some caramel-pecan bars (which I made for my and Jeff's mini Thanksgiving dinner last year).

The bars went over well, and I definitely recommend trying them if you love pecan pie but want more of a caramel flavor to it.

Thanksgiving No. 2

On Saturday we went to the Cape to have a second dinner with my family. We met my mom, my two sisters, my little brother, and my uncle there. (Unfortunately my dad had to work.) I spent Friday making desserts for the dinner and brought all of those along with me.

We snacked on baked brie with local cranberry jam, cheese and crackers, pistachios, and homemade corn chowder around the fire pit in the back yard. I flipped through bridal magazines and teased my sisters about the dresses they'd have to wear in my wedding until it got too chilly and we all decided to head back inside.

My parents had hosted Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday back in CT, so my mom brought up leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turnip, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn, and broccolini. She also brought a huge bowl of turkey gravy -- my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. My dad makes the most amazing gravy. I usually just dunk chunks of bread in it and eat it.

Just before dinner my mom roasted some green and white asparagus with garlic. Then she warmed up all the leftovers, and we set everything up buffet-style so we could fill our plates with everything we wanted. It was another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat! (Does anyone else have a family tradition of listening to Alice's Restaurant every year?)

Jeff and my sisters and I played a game of 9-5 (a version of setback) in between dinner and dessert. And then I warmed up my cranberry crumble tart and set out a cranberry maple pecan breakfast cake and some mini chocolate cupcakes. Somehow all of the cupcakes disappeared before it was even time to have dessert!

We had the warm cranberry tart with vanilla ice cream. It was sweet and tart and had a hint of citrus from some orange zest.

The cake came out so moist and was studded with cranberries and toasted pecans. True to the description that accompanies the recipe, it tastes like pancakes. My mom and I divided up the leftovers, and I ate more of it for breakfast this morning.

I have a post on the cranberry crumble tart coming soon.

The chocolate cupcake recipe is the one in the Flour cookbook (which you can find here), and the dark chocolate frosting is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes (available here).

The cranberry maple pecan breakfast cake can also be found in the Flour cookbook. It's supposed to be baked in a loaf pan, but I used an 8" x 8" x 2" square pan instead -- just because I wanted it to look like a cake instead of a loaf.

What did you make for Thanksgiving this year?


Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes With Spiced Caramel Sauce And Gingerbread Croutons

I know many of you have been waiting for this recipe, and I don't blame you. Everyone who tried this dessert loved it. It's definitely perfect for fall. While ice cream isn't a typical fall treat, pumpkin ice cream paired with a warm, spicy caramel sauce can fit in that category pretty easily. The gingerbread croutons just put this over the top.

The idea for this sundae comes straight out of The Craft of Baking. This is one of my favorite baking books. The recipes are approachable, and until now, they have always worked out perfectly for me. That said, the recipes for all three components of this sundae were a bit troublesome. Luckily, for you, I've already tested and made all of them, and now I can give you better instructions.

I started by making the gingerbread. The batter was easy enough, and the recipe instructed to pour it into an 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. I poured the batter in, noticed it went nearly all the way to the top of the loaf pan and thought to myself that it looked like way too much batter for the pan. 

I double-checked the recipe, and I had done exactly as it said, so I figured maybe the loaf didn't rise all that much. I stuck the loaf in the oven, set the timer, and didn't think of it again until I smelled something burning. I opened the oven to find gingerbread batter dripping everywhere and realized I should have followed my instinct. Jeff and I spent the next 5 to 10 minutes cleaning up the oven, and I slipped a pan under the gingerbread so I could finish baking it. My advice to you: Divide the batter between two loaf pans if you don't want to end up with this!

I was so relieved that I was merely cutting this loaf into cubes rather than trying to serve it as a whole. It was entirely unpresentable by the time I cut away the excess and coaxed it out of the pan.

Next, I made the caramel sauce. Now, this is partly the recipe's fault and party my own, but I didn't let the caramel darken enough and ended up with a very white caramel sauce. The recipe said to cook the sauce until it was a deep caramel color, about 8 minutes. Well, I cooked my sauce for about 18 minutes and still only saw the vaguest hint of amber color. The caramel was getting thicker and it was already at softball stage. I didn't want to take it farther and risk it hardening up on me. In retrospect, I probably could have kept cooking it because there seemed to be enough butter, cream, and creme fraiche added in to prevent the sauce from hardening. Instead I took the sauce off the heat at softball stage, still pale in color, and added in the remaining ingredients. I let the sauce cool and steep in the fridge overnight, and in the morning I reheated the sauce and made a small batch of caramel. When the caramel got to a deep amber color, I poured my light caramel sauce into it, and got the whole thing a few shades darker. Nothing that couldn't be fixed, but it was still frustrating. My advice to you: Cook the caramel as long as you need to in order to get a deep caramel color. Pay no attention to that 8 minute suggestion.

On Saturday night, I made the custard for the pumpkin ice cream. This was the most bizarre custard recipe I've ever seen. After heating up the milk and tempering it into the egg yolks and sugar, I was instructed to put the custard in the fridge overnight. I've never made an ice cream custard that didn't need to be returned to the stove to cook. The next morning, I pulled out the bowl of custard, and it had completely separated and curdled. I whisked it back together, whisked in the pumpkin puree, and strained it. It seemed fine, and I churned it in the ice cream maker. The final product came out okay, but I was nervous about it the whole time. My advice to you: Use David Lebovitz's version of this recipe instead. His method makes much more sense to me.

Gingerbread Croutons (adapted from The Craft of Baking)


3/4 cup stout beer (I used Guinness)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
3/4 cup dark molasses (I used Grandma's)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 egg
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line the bottoms of two loaf pans with parchment paper and butter the pans.

Whisk together beer, coffee, and molasses in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and carefully whisk in baking soda. The mixture will bubble. Let cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, Demerara sugar, and grated fresh ginger. Whisk in the egg.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt. 

Add one-third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. Then add one-third of the beer mixture to the sugar mixture, and whisk to combine. Continue alternately adding the flour and beer mixtures, whisking after each addition, until smooth.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, rotating pans halfway through.

Place pans on wire rack and allow to cool completely. Remove loaves from pans. The loaves can be wrapped and stored overnight at this point.

When ready to bake the croutons, preheat oven to 300 F. Cut the loaves into cubes. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and allow cubes to cool completely. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temp. for up to two weeks.

Spiced Caramel Sauce (adapted from The Craft of Baking)


8 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, seeds and bean reserved
Zest of 1 orange, removed in strips
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, toast the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and black peppercorns until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean and seeds, orange zest, and 1/2 cup water. Whisk gently to wet all of the sugar but avoid sloshing any up on the sides of the pan.

Cook over high heat until the mixture turns a deep caramel color. This could take anywhere from 8 to 20 minutes (at least in my experience -- let me know how it goes for you). 

It helps to keep a white plate next to the stove and drizzle some of the caramel on it every so often to check the color. Get your cream, butter, and creme fraiche ready to add in while the caramel cooks.

Remove the pot from the heat, and whisk in the butter, cream, and creme fraiche. Then whisk in the ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt.

Refrigerate the sauce with all of the spices for at least several hours (and up to 2 weeks) in an airtight container. 

Before serving, rewarm the sauce over low heat. 

Strain it into a bowl. (Look at all those spices!)

And serve warm!

Pumpkin Ice Cream -- follow David Lebovitz's recipe.

When all of the components are ready, assemble your sundaes! 

I hope you enjoy this spicy fall treat!


Feta Tart (Alevropita)

One of the things I made for the potluck on Sunday was a feta tart. I discovered the tart a while back when I was flipping through the August/September issue of Saveur. This was Saveur's Greece issue, and I found myself dog-earing page after page. It didn't take me long to realize that I was dog-earing so many of the recipes because they featured feta in the ingredient list.

Feta is one of my favorite cheeses. I love its texture and its brininess. Something about salty cheese just seems perfect to me. I love just eating it by itself or in a salad with tons of tomatoes and now in this simple tart.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, this is no ordinary tart. There's no elaborate tart crust or fancy tart pan. Making this tart is actually a little more like making a giant pancake.

You'll need a large sheet pan. The recipe calls for 18" by 13" by 1" rimmed baking pan, but I used a 12" by 17" by 1" inch pan, and it worked just fine.  (I think the traditional 9" by 13" pan would be a little small though, and you might end up with too thick of a tart.)

Feta Tart, or Alevropita (adapted from Saveur, Special Issue: Greece)


1 1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons vodka (I used Grey Goose)
1 egg
1 cup water
10 ounces feta, crumbled or cubed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cubed


Preheat oven to 500 F. (Open windows and turn on hood fan if your oven is prone to setting off smoke detectors when set higher than 400 degrees like mine is.)

Place large rimmed baking sheet in oven, and heat for 10 minutes. (Choose a pan you don't like much. Mine seems to have picked up a little browning that doesn't want to go away now.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, vodka, egg, and water.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture, and whisk until smooth.

Remove hot pan from oven, and place on a cooling rack on the counter. Immediately brush the pan with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. (My pan buckled, and I worried about the oil pooling up in the corners, but as soon as I poured the batter in, the pan relaxed and the oil and batter evened out.)

Pour the batter into the pan, and spread it to the edges and smooth it with a rubber spatula. (Try to spread and smooth it as evenly as possible. See that thin edge below? It got a little too crispy and a little too brown.)

Scatter the cheese and butter over the batter.

Bake, rotating after 10 minutes, until tart is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Let cool slightly, and then cut and serve the tart. (I slid the whole thing onto a large cutting board to make it easy to cut and avoid scratching my pan.)

This quickly earned itself a spot on my party favorites list, and I'm sure it will make an appearance at future gatherings at my house. I don't consider it a dish you want to make and transport because it's best when it's still warm.

The tart is almost like a flatbread pizza, with a nice chewy crust. I think it would be really easy to change it up a bit and top it with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and goat cheese, for instance.

What's your go-to appetizer for a party you're hosting? What's your favorite recipe that uses feta?

Psst! King Arthur Flour is offering my readers up to 25% off a purchase made now through Friday. Just click here to go to the offer page.