make a cranberry apple walnut tart for the holidays
Tomorrow’s the big day! Like me, I’m sure you’re peeling and chopping, prepping and stirring. The kids are breaking apart a few loaves of bread to sit overnight and get stale for the stuffing. The turkey is brining. The rolls are rising and there’s probably a pumpkin or pecan pie in the oven. By the way — I’ll be right over (and I’ll bring the wine).
In the event that you’ve got any spare time, or have a self-proclaimed pumpkin-hater coming to dinner, I’m offering up this quick, simple and just-the-right-amount-of-sweet dessert. A tart of floral apples, with a liberal smear of cranberry sauce and a crunchy, cinnamon-y streusel topping in a flaky crust.
Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I give you permission to use a ready-made pie crust for expediting purposes. (Who am I kidding — I usually use a store-bought crust).
Fit the crust into a tart pan and trim the edges by running a rolling pin over the hanging edges.
Mix up the streusel.
And assemble the tart with dollops of cranberry sauce, apples and the walnut streusel. Bake. That’s it.
You can involve the kids with this one too. Let them spoon on the cranberries, or arrange the apples like pretty flower petals. You know they’ll want to sprinkle the streusel, too.
This isn’t the behemoth dessert everyone expects at Thanksgiving, but to me, that’s just as well. By the time dessert rolls around, I’m up to here (hand at my chin – marking the fullness meter) with turkey and stuffing — I suspect you are too. So a more manageable dessert like this one would be welcome. Besides – there’s still that pumpkin pie.
Other Thanksgiving specialties from around the web:
Mashed Potatoes from Platings & Pairings
Stuffing from Show Me the Yummy
Green Beans from Love, Laugh, Cook
Pumpkin Pie from Sweet, Salty, Tart
Pecan Pie from Port and Fin
- 1 9" pie pastry
- 6 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4" pieces (try gala, granny smith, honey crisp, golden delicious - or a mixture of them.)
- scant 1/4 cup white sugar
- scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup whole cranberry sauce (preferably homemade - try the one on this site)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 9" round tart pan with removable bottom
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out pastry to about 10" diameter. Fold pastry in half, then fold it again in half, so it's shaped like a wedge. Arrange pastry into one quarter of the tart pan and fold it out so that it covers the pan. Press the pastry into the corners and along the ridged edge so that the pastry conforms to the curves. Using your rolling pin to trim the excess crust by rolling over the edges of the tart pan. Discard the remnants. Refrigerate pastry until ready to assemble tart.
- In a heavy saucepan combine the apples, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the apples are tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape. Don't overcook, otherwise apples will fall apart. Remove from heat and transfer apples to a small bowl to cool.
- To make the streusel topping add the flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to a small bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles wet sand. Add chopped walnuts, toss to combine. Set aside.
- Remove tart pan from refrigerator. Cut a piece of parchment paper and lay it over a large baking sheet. Set the tart pan on top of the parchment paper. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the bottom of the tart pan.
- Drain excess juices from the apples. Arrange apples in concentric circles on top of the cranberry sauce.
- Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown and streusel has crisped. Cool to room temperature. Serve.
- (Don't turn the heat up to high to speed cook the apples -- they will fall apart)