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Brown-Butter Cranberry Tart

Serves Makes 1 10-inch tart, serves about 8     adjust servings


Ingredients

For the tart shell

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste )
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups (one 12-ounce package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Make the tart shell first: Add the flour, sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine. (Or whisk it together in a bowl.) Add the butter and pulse about 4 or 5 one-second bursts until it is the size of small peas. (Use a pastry cutter if you don't have a food processor.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolk. Pour the cream mixture into the food processor all at once, and pulse in short bursts (again, about 4 or 5 one-second bursts) until moist crumbs form. (Or just use a spoon)
  3. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and pat into a disk. Do not knead, just get it into the disk and stop messing with it. There should be visible chunks of butter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.
  4. On a floured countertop, a floured silpat, or floured parchment paper, roll out the tart shell 1/8 inch thick. Fit the pastry into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom; trim the overhanging pastry. I highly recommend parchment paper; then you can just flip the whole thing over onto the tart pan.
  5. Patch any cracks with the pastry trimmings. Refrigerate the tart shell for about 30 minutes, or until it is chilled.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans, making sure that the crust is not covered. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until the rim is just barely turning golden. Take it out of the oven, remove the foil and weights. Bake for about 10 minutes longer, until lightly golden all over, or until it no longer looks doughy on top. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt the butter with the vanilla bean and seeds (or vanilla bean paste). Cook over medium heat until the butter starts to turn golden and smells nutty, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Here is a great tutorial if you've never browned butter before.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, as well as the lemon zest. Pour the brown butter into the egg mixture and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the flour and salt. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden and set. Err on the side of undercooking. If your tart crust looks like it's going to start burning a few minutes after the suggested bake time, just take it out. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 2 hours.
  9. In a medium pot, stir together 1 cup of sugar with the cranberries and water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the cranberries have just split and the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Scrape the cranberries into a bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, arrange the cranberries on the tart. (Save the liquid and put it on ice cream!) Cut and serve!

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