Monday, November 05, 2007

Cranberry-Almond Crostata

I can hardly describe what a relief it is to finally feel an oh-so-slight chill in the air when you live in Fort Lauderdale. We’ve been regularly having temperatures above 80 degrees, but yesterday that hint of coolness finally crept into the air. Of course, Mike and I still went to the beach on Sunday morning. It was nice enough to lay out in a bathing suit, but I did have my legs covered with a towel for most of the time.

The first weekend of November was a very appropriate time to get our first “cool snap”--it was the weekend when we set back the clocks bringing on shorter, darker days, AND it was the weekend I started rolling out the holiday recipes. There are so many wonderful things to cook and bake during the much-too-short holiday season, so I spread it out over a bunch of little feasts. Since we are going to spend Thanksgiving with the O’Hara side of Mike’s family in Connecticut (a fabulously fun T-Day tradition), I took this weekend to make some Thanksgiving favorites in my own kitchen, and try out a few new recipes from my many food magazines.

I almost never follow a recipe exactly, so when I do, it had better be perfect. Okay, I made a couple hardly-worth-mentioning tweaks to this Cranberry Crostata from November’s Gourmet and still it was flawless. Really just a cross between a pie and a tart, this dessert has incredibly vibrant flavor from the fresh cranberry filling and richness from the almond pastry, but none of it is too sweet or flabby to enjoy after a big holiday meal. I highly recommend it for a Thanksgiving dessert or an anytime holiday treat--it kind of reminds me of a big Linzer cookie now that I think about it!

Here are my tweaks: I used whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose. It’s a natural with the nutty crust, both for flavor and color. The recipe calls for 10 ounces of fresh cranberries, but as you may know, the standard bag of Ocean Spray cranberries in your neighborhood supermarket is 14 ounces. We picked out the smashed or dubious-looking berries, and used all that remained with no problems whatsoever. The dough is very soft and tender and doesn’t depend on being chilled during mixing. Follow Gourmet’s directions for rolling it out between parchment paper, and don’t worry about piecing it together in the pan. My lattice strips broke apart during transfer, but this didn’t matter much in the end. I also used turbinado sugar instead of granulated for sprinkling because I like the crunch. Click here for the recipe on Gourmet's website. What holiday recipes have you already tried?

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In case your cranberry appetite is never sated, here are some more mouth-watering cranberry desserts from blogs I love:

Cranberry Linzer Tart on Orangette
Maury Rubin's Cranberry, Caramel and Almond Tart on The Wednesday Chef
Cranberry-Orange Cookies (with pistachios!) on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Cinnamon Cranberry Rice Pudding on The Perfect Pantry
Cranberry-Raisin Pie on David Lebovitz
Cranberry Ribbon Cake on Coconut and Lime
Apple-Cranberry Pie on Simply Recipes
Cranberry Banana Bread on Chocolate & Zucchini

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Florida Avocado said...

I live in Tallahassee, and it's finally getting cold here, too. Of course, it will go between 60 degrees and 85 degrees for the next few weeks before the weather actually becomes permanently wintery, but now I can make soup and heat up pieces of pie in the miscrowave!

Ivonne said...

That's a beautiful tart, Julie!

Margaret said...

Hello Julie - thank you for visiting my foodblog.
I can see that you and your fellow foodbloggers have been putting cranberries to good use! The tart looks delicious.
I too love 'How to Eat' by Nigella Lawson.
Please don't tell anyone here in the UK that you have had 80 degrees of heat. We haven't had much of a summer here and now it's really cold. Our weather this year has been topsy turvy!

Julie said...

Hi Avocado: Thanks for stopping by my blog. I wish it would get wintry here, but it's just not gonna happen--our little chill is about all we've got! Enjoy your soups and pies!
Ivonne: Thanks--it's always nice when they look good AND taste amazing:)
Margaret: You blog is great! I'm sorry you haven't had much summer weather--London is so great when it's warm and sunny.

Kristen said...

Oh I would love the 80 degree beach weather any time of year, but especially now. It is starting to get too cold for my taste!
This pie looks incredible!

Rachel said...

This looks great! I like the sugar idea.