So. This is likely to be my last post of the year. Sad face. But happy face because the reason why it’s my last post this year is because I’m flying back to Australia tonight! Yaay! As much as I love you all, we’re only in Australia for 12 days, so we have to make the most of it while we’re there.
I’ll stop by close to the end of the year to post the most popular recipes on Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind for 2014, but other than that, I’m going dark for a couple of weeks. Forgive me?
What is everyone up to for Christmas this year? Will it be a big family celebration or a small, quiet get together? My family and I will be spending the day sailing around Sydney Harbour, eating to our heart’s content. Jealous much?! If it’s any consolation, there’s a pretty high chance of rain on Christmas Day in Sydney, but I’m still excited.
I don’t know how much baking I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks, but if I were, these Cranberry Mascarpone Tarts would be on the list for sure. Actually, I’ve never seen fresh cranberries in Australia before, so maybe I wouldn’t be making these. But I’ll definitely be dreaming about them. They were tay-sty.
Before making these tarts, I had only ever had cranberry juice and dried cranberries, I’d never seen fresh cranberries or tried cranberry sauce. I have a big thing against fruit and meat being together in a meal, so I don’t think I could ever get on board with cranberry sauce and turkey, but I’m definitely a fan of using it in desserts. This version is full of citrus-y orange notes sitting atop a soft mountain of sweetened mascarpone and buttery pastry. The blend of tart and sweet are perfect. If you’re still looking for a dessert for Christmas or the holidays, look no further.
Cranberry Mascarpone Tarts
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 25 minutes to chill dough
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
2¼ cups plain flour
⅓ cup caster sugar
175g butter, cut into small cubes
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp ice water
500g fresh cranberries
1½ cups caster sugar
Zest of half an orange
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tsp cornflour
2 tbsp brown sugar
Whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. In a large bowl, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine flour, ⅓ cup caster sugar and butter, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and water and mix well to combine. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and freeze for 20 minutes.
- While dough is chilling, make cranberry sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add cranberries, 1½ cups caster sugar, zest and juice from the orange and cornflour. Stir to combine, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened to an almost jam-like consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
- Remove dough from freezer and hit it a few times with a rolling pin to soften slightly. Divide dough in two, and on a lightly floured surface, roll one portion out to about 4mm thick. Use a 10cm loose-based tart tin as a guide, trace a circle about 2-3cm wider than the tart tin with a sharp knife. Cut out two more circles, then press these circles into three tart tins and trim. Repeat with second portion of dough to make six tarts in total. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes, then remove and use a fork to prick holes in the base of each tart. Line each tart with baking paper, and ceramic baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove rice or beans and bake for another 15 minutes, until just golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, in tins, before serving.
- Once tart cases have cooled and you are ready to serve, combine mascarpone and brown sugar and divide evenly between tart shells. Divide cranberry sauce evenly between tarts and spread to cover mascarpone. Top with whipped cream if desired.
NOTE: Cranberry sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge until ready to use.