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Cranberry tart brings meal to a sweet close - JSOnline


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Sandy D'Amato | The Kitchen Technician Cranberry tart brings meal to a sweet close
Posted: Nov. 21, 2008 Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. I think it's because it has such a great story of how food can bring together everyone from the most disparate enemies to loving families separated by work or geography. Everyone gathers around the table and passes dish after dish in a slightly excessive eating binge. In those moments of consumption, time stands still. When people's mouths are full, they are less likely to utter any negative feelings that would disturb this idyllic moment. Dinner is finished and everyone is loosening their proverbial belts. Welcome to the danger zone when negative marks may start to slip and unresolved issues rise to the surface. This is the time for a "closer" of a dessert - something to refocus the positive feelings and seal the deal for the rest of the night. I suggest my favorite native fruit, the cranberry, encased in a smooth almond batter poured into a fruitcake-like crust and baked to a golden turn. I would guess you're thinking, "Fruitcake-like crust?" or "Can't you think of anything more controversial?" Yes, fruitcake is the "ugly duckling" of the dessert world. Enough disdain has been leveled on these ersatz kiln-fired cobblestone fruit blocks to last a lifetime. My first vision of a delicious looking darkly brown glazed round with large pecans glistening on top was quickly crushed after my first dry coughing bite.

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12/3/2008 2:03 PM

Cranberry tart brings meal to a sweet close - JSOnline

I decided to encapsulate the flavor that I imagined in that vision into reality. This dessert will seduce you with its tart-sweet cranberry almond filling, and the crust will transform into a beautiful swan with nary a quack to be heard around the Thanksgiving table. Sanford S " andy"D'Amato, chef/co-owner of Sanford Restaurant, 1547 N. Jackson St., Coquette Cafe, 316 N. Milwaukee St., and Harlequin Bakery, is a James Beard Award winner. For more information, visit

Recipes: Cranberry Almond Tart with Fruitcake Crust Makes 8 to 10 servings

teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup mixed dried fruit (pears, apricots, apples, plums) cut in brunoise cup bourbon cup (3 ounces) packed brown sugar teaspoon ground cloves 1 egg, room temperature 1 cup (5 ounces) cake flour cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour

cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 sticks) butter, room temperature teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt Cranberry almond filling (see recipe) In bowl, mix dried fruit with bourbon. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature. In mixer bowl fitted with a paddle, place brown sugar, butter and spices. Cream until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed. Mix in egg. Scrape down bowl. Add dried fruit and mix. Sift flours with salt and baking powder and add to mixer. Mix on low speed until just blended; do not overmix. Scrape off paddle and place dough in refrigerator about 5 to 10 minutes to just slightly firm up. Place dough in an 11-inch round, 1-inch-high removable-bottom tart pan. Press dough to about 3/8-inch thickness all around and refrigerate half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare cranberry-almond filling. Remove tart crust from refrigerator, dock with a fork (pricking holes every 1 inch over the bottom), and place in a preheated 375-degree oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and press down crust in middle with a clean towel if it is rising. Place filling in crust and smooth out evenly to the edges. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden skewer comes out of center without any liquid batter sticking to it.

Cranberry almond filling:

Scant cup (4 ounces) almond paste, room 2 eggs, room temperature

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Cranberry tart brings meal to a sweet close - JSOnline

temperature cup (4 ounces) sugar cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup (2 ounces) flour 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries, rinsed and dried well

In food processor, process almond paste and sugar. Add butter and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and combine. Pulse in flour until just combined. Remove from food processor and fold in cranberries. Archives When in Rome, do as the taste buds would Hazelnuts roasting set the heart afire Hearts melt when cheese meets bread Squash dumplings fit the season and senses Bikers in Italy take to wheels of cheese 2,000 filets gave me the willies Follow taste buds, not chef Fishing for fond memories Shrimp dish good enough for jumbo billboard Right ranch can make salad, day perfect Dramatic service won't upstage veal piccata Yes, folks in Milwaukee want to eat good food Ring dinner bell for Asian chops Grill tuna for a quick dinner Guess who wins in showdown between chef and popular dish? Getting to the root of a good lunch in N.Y. Scratching that 11-year itch When it comes to chowder, I'll take Manhattan Cool gazpacho stretches out summer Young chef changes rooms and his perspective

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12/3/2008 2:03 PM