As much as I love to bake I rarely make full fledge desserts unless it is for a special occasion. And when I do make fancier desserts, I have a tendency to fall into a baking rut; I find something I like and something that works and repeat it over and over again whenever we have different guests coming to dinner. And this intriguing dessert from The Splendid Table has become my go-to dessert over the past few months.
This dessert is simultaneously complex yet simple. It is a cookie in pie form while being a fruit dessert and meringue. The crust is essentially a giant shortbread cookie; it is rich and buttery and since it is a pressed dough with no rolling or fussing required, it is a snap to make. The filling is a simple sugar and egg white meringue. But unlike so many meringues which are cloying sweet, this one is tempered by the tartness of cranberries. Simply put, I think this dessert is awesome and once you try it, I’m sure you will think so to.
CRANBERRY CRACKLE TART
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
- Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend.
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely.
- Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and stir until they just begin to break up.
- Gradually add the egg yolks to the flour mixture and process in long pulses until the dough is smooth.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and give the dough a few kneads, ensuring that the butter is fully incorporated.
- Butter a 9 inch tart pan and press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Press the pieces of dough in so that they cling to one another and will knit together when baked, but don’t use a lot of force–working lightly will preserve the crust’s shortbready texture.
- Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line the crust with buttered foil and weigh it down with pie weights, dried beans or rice.
- Bake for 15 minutes then carefully remove the weights and foil.
- Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, taking care that the crust does not burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
For the filling:
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Spoon the jam into the crust and smooth it evenly over the bottom.
- Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip and beat on medium speed until they just turn opaque.
- With the mixer going, gradually add in the sugar in a steady stream.
- Continue beating until the egg whites are shiny and smooth and form droopy peaks.
- Pour the cranberries into the egg whites and just fold until combined. Do not over mix as you do not want to deflate the meringue.
- Scoop the meringue into the prepared pie shell and evenly distribute the mixture throughout the shell.
- Bake for 1 hour until light beige and cracked on top.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.