People always seem to come up with a reason why they think they wouldn’t like this tart. I don’t like pecans. Dulce de leche is too sweet. Cranberries aren’t my thing. But somehow, everything comes together in a way that just works. The cranberries and dulce de leche balance each other out, and the whole thing is so delicious the pecans probably won’t even bother you…unless you’re prone to anaphylactic shock upon contact with them.
Anyway, this is a dessert I’ve made several times since I saw cranberry caramel almond tartelettes on Smitten Kitchen years ago. I go to Argentina often so I always think of dulce de leche instead of caramel. And since my sister is allergic to almonds, I’ve started to use pecans instead. I also make one big tart instead of several smaller ones like Deb did.
What is amazing about this recipe besides the trifecta of nuts, cranberries and dulce de leche is the rich crust that tastes like a shortbread cookie. The dough comes from chef/owner of City Bakery, Mary Rubin, and it’s…divine is the word that comes to mind, even though I’m not the type of person who normally says divine.
But this tart is, whether you follow the original City Bakery recipe or try my version. I’d say Valentine’s Day would be a prime time to get one in the oven. It makes a nice holiday tart — I made it for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve — but, hey, any day ending in Y is occasion enough.
Cranberry Pecan and Dulce de Leche Tart
Adapted from City Bakery’s Cranberry Caramel Almond Tart recipe
- 13 tablespoons (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350. Let the butter soften to room temperature.
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment or food processor with the dough blade attached, add powdered sugar and the pieces of butter. (Of course this can be done by hand with some extra effort.) Toss to coat, then combine the sugar and butter at medium speed, until the sugar is no longer visible.
Add the egg yolk and combine.
Scrape the butter off the sides of the bowl. Add half of the flour, then begin mixing again until the dough is crumbly. Add the remaining flour and then the cream and mix until the dough forms a somewhat sticky mass.
Flatten the dough into a thick pancake, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours before preparing to roll out the dough.
Lightly butter a 9-inch pastry ring or fluted tart pan and place it on a baking sheet.
When the dough is chilled, sprinkle your work surface with a thin layer of flour. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces then knead together and reform a flattened ball. (I seem to have forgotten about this step until I looked at the recipe just now. Skipping it might be the reason my dough never rolls out nice and pretty.)
Flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough into a circle large enough to cover the tart pan.
Transfer the dough into the ring or tart pan by rolling about a third of it around your rolling pin, lifting it and placing it into the ring. Gently pat the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the ring. (I always have some trouble with this, so I usually end up pressing the dough evenly across the bottom and sides.) Prick the dough all over with a fork. Trim the edges so that they are even with the top. Put the pan into the freezer for one hour.
Then bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before filling.
- 1 3/4 cups frozen cranberries (buy fresh cranberries then freeze them so they don’t turn to total mush when you put them in the oven)
- 2 cups pecans (almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts or cashews would work. I’ve done pecans and almonds each twice)
- 4 – 6 oz. dulce de leche, at room temperature (I’ve never measured, just scooped out about half a jar of dulce de leche, enough to coat the cranberries and nuts)
In a medium bowl, evenly mix cranberries, nuts and dulce de leche with a silicone spatula. Scrape mixture into slightly cooled tart dough. Even it out, then bake for about 20-25 minutes still at 350. Cranberries and dulce de leche should be bubbling slowly around the edges.
Allow to cool before serving. (My crust is always crumbly so I leave it in the tart ring.) The tart is great cold as well. Keeps several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.