Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Apple Cranberry Pecan Tart

This Apple Cranberry Pecan Tart is one of my contributions this year to the big family gathering that has become a Thanksgiving tradition.  For the last few years we've all come together for a pot luck, to share our Thanksgiving favorites with four generations of family.  Of course, there is the dish that I must make every year, it's a non negotiable, the candied yams.  But I do always like to try a new dish or two if I can.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Taste of Home's website.  I liked that it didn't call for any eggs, less trial and error.  The filling is made from apple juice, apples, fresh cranberries, sugar and flour.  I think this could easily be gluten free by replacing the wheat flour with your favorite gluten free flour combination.  The filling recipe is very good, only I would cut the cooking time down.  I felt that the apples and cranberries lost definition.  

The topping is also delicious, my only complaint was that there wasn't enough of it.  See all of that red filling showing through?  I've adapted the original recipe to increase the topping so that it covers more of the filling.  There just needs to be more of that wonderful crunchy brown sugar pecan business.

The original recipe didn't offer a crust recipe but I'll give you mine.  It's tender and flaky, even though it's not made with real butter.

I may try and make a pumpkin tart with the same pecan topping, nothing so delicious as brown sugar and pecans!

Apple Cranberry Pecan Tart
Makes one 10 inch tart - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
Adapted from a recipe by Jo Ann Fisher

For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Spectrum butter flavored shortening
1 stick Earth Balance butter substitute
4 tablespoons ice water

Put the shortening and butter in your freezer for at least 30 minutes, if you plan ahead, do it the night before.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces.
Add them to the flour mixture.
Process for 10 seconds.
Add the ice water a little at a time while you process in short pulses.
Stop with the dough just starts to come together.
Dump the dough out onto some plastic wrap and press it into a disk.
Wrap the dough up and chill for 1 hour.
Hit the dough with your rolling pin a few times to flatten it out before you unwrap it.  (this helps to relax the gluten)
Roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle.
Grease a 10 inch tart pan.
Line the pan with the dough pushing the dough into all the flutes.
Chill the dough in the pan for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450˚
Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the crust (to prevent bubbling)
Line the dough with some parchment paper and fill with pie weights.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Remove the parchment and weights and bake 8 minutes more.
Allow to cool.
Optional to keep crust from getting soggy: Sprinkle the bottom of the baked crust with a combination of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar.

For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice, divided
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 medium tart green apples, peeled and cubed
7.5 ounce package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup unbleached white flour

In a sauce pan, bring 3/4 cup of the apple juice and the sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the apples and cranberries and reduce the heat to medium.
Cook no more than 4 or 5 minutes.
While the fruit is cooking whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of apple juice.
Gently stir the flour and juice mixture into the fruit.
Let it cook for another minute or two until it thickens.
Remove from heat and let it cool for 30 minutes.
Put the filling into the cooked tart crust.

For the Topping:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter substitute
1 cup pecan halves

Mix the flour and sugar together
All the melted butter and stir to combine.
Add the pecan halves to the mixture and combine with your hands to coat the nuts.
Sprinkle the topping over the top of the filling.
Bake the tart at 375˚ for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool for an hour before cutting.  
Note: you can get fancy with the nuts and keep some aside to arrange on the top if you choose.

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