Sweet Pastry Crust:
In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt. Place the butter
in your electric mixer and beat until softened. Add the sugar and beat until
light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated.
Don't over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color. Add flour
mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Don't overwork or the
baked pastry will be tough. Flatten dough into disk,
cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
Have ready 8 - 4 inch (10 cm)
tart pans. Divide the pastry into 8 pieces and then, on a lightly floured surface, roll out
each piece of
pastry to fit the tart pans. To prevent the pastry from sticking to
the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the
pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry
outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is
the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out
pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.
When the pastry is rolled to
the desired size, place on top of the tart pan.
Never pull the pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too
much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and lightly press the pastry
onto the bottom and up the sides of
the pan. Roll
your rolling pin over the top of the pan to get rid of excess pastry. Cover and freeze for about 30
minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.
Preheat oven to
375 degrees F
(190 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Place the 8 unbaked tart
shells on a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until the crust is dry
and a light golden brown. If the bottoms of the pastry shells puff up during
baking, just lightly press the pastry back into shape. Remove from oven
and place on a wire rack to cool.
the cream and butter into a medium saucepan and warm over low heat
the sugar evenly onto the bottom of a 10 inch (25 cm) deep nonstick skillet. Place over
medium heat and heat until the sugar has completely melted and
turned a nutty brown color (about 10 minutes). As the sugar melts it will
first turn light brown, then gold, and finally to a dark nutty brown. At
this point slowly whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture. Be careful
as the cream will splatter. Continue to cook the caramel until any large
pieces of hard caramel have melted. Strain the caramel into a heatproof
bowl and allow to cool for about 15 - 25 minutes. Then, stir in the
cranberries and nuts until all are covered with caramel. Divide this
mixture evenly amongst the eight partially baked tart shells, mounding the
mixture in the center.
Bake for about 15 - 20
minutes or until the cranberries have puckered and the caramel is bubbling
around the edges of the tarts. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Remove
tarts from pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
These can be made
a day or two before serving. Just cover and place in the refrigerator but
bring the tarts to room temperature before serving.
Makes 8 - 4 inch
(10 cm) tarts.
Rubin, Maury. 'Book
of Tarts'. William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York: 1995.