This is the year that I’m letting go. Next week, when my family and I sit down out for Thanksgiving dinner – a meal we’ll share with friends, as we had for years in the Before Times – someone else will be bringing the pumpkin and pecan pies. Me? I’m coming with an Apple Galette and a Cocoa-Cranberry Linzer Tart, both recipes from BAKING WITH DORIE. Neither is truly traditional, but neither is really rogue.
Galette is the French word for what the Italians might call a crostata and what many of us might think of as a rustic tart. Mostly I think of it as easy and naturally beautiful. It’s dough rolled into a circle with fruit piled on, but not all the way to the edges – the bare edges are folded up against the fruit, inevitably pleating and ruffling all around. A galette is the perfect “pie” for first-timers because it’s not fitted into a pie pan and there’s no reason to be exact. In fact, there’s every reason not to be: It’s meant to look higgledy-piggledy and handmade. And I love my galette dough – it’s a cinch to make (you do it in a food processor); it’s sturdy, so that it’s easy to work with; and it’s really tasty.
For this galette, I make a caramel applesauce to swipe over the dough. Essentially tarte Tatin apples mashed into sauce, the applesauce is a tad bitter and totally surprising.
How come Thanksgiving is never about chocolate? Shouldn’t it be? And where does it say that it can’t be? If you want to ease chocolate into the meal, I think this is the dessert that can wiggle it’s way in most gracefully. The cranberry filling makes it almost traditional and the chocolate makes it what so many of us crave at the end of the feast. At its simplest, the tart is two rounds of cocoa-almond cookie dough sandwiching a cranberry-raspberry sauce. And, like the Galette, it’s an easy one for first-time piemakers – precision and practice not needed.
The dough is based on one of my favorite cookies, the Austrian classic called Linzer. Here, I spice it with cinnamon and ginger and make it with almonds, although you could use hazelnuts. I use almond flour , but you can use an equal weight (not volume) of almonds ground in a processor. And, because the dough needs a chill (or a freeze), it’s easy to fit this dessert into a busy schedule.
The filling is a puckery – and fabulous – cranberry sauce, made with raspberry jam. Recently, I’ve had trouble finding my favorite raspberry jam, Bonne Maman, in the supermarket, so I used cherry one time and last week I used Four Fruits. The filling is really flexible – you could even use apricot jam or orange marmalade. It’s good to make the cranberry filling ahead and chill it. Convenient too.
You build the tart by laying a round of dough into a buttered cake pan and slathering it with the jammy cranberry sauce. If you’d like – and I always do – you can top the cranberries with fresh raspberries. Then you drop the second round of dough on top, press it down ever so gently and slide the pan into the oven – or don’t. You can assemble the tart, cover the pan and bake it whenever you’ve got time. You can also freeze the baked tart. I love a dessert that’s scrumptious *and* make-aheadable.
Scroll down for the recipe.
I’ll be back on Friday with a recipe from beloved baker, Erin Jeanne McDowell – another terrific, but not totally traditional pie for Thanksgiving.
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Makes 8 servings
FOR THE CRUST
1 3⁄4 cups (6 1⁄4 ounces; 175 grams) almond flour, or an equal weight of almonds, finely ground in a food processor
1 1⁄3 cups (181 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2⁄3 cup (132 grams) sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces (57 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
FOR THE FILLING
About 2 cups (255 grams) cranberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) raspberry jam (with or without seeds – or other jam)
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water
3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
About 20 raspberries (optional)
Sanding or granulated sugar for sprinkling
TO MAKE THE CRUST: Whir both flours, the cocoa, cinnamon, ginger and salt together in a food processor just to blend. Turn the ingredients out onto a large piece of parchment (you’ll use the paper again to roll out the dough).
Put the butter and sugar in the processor and process until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla and process to incorporate. Use the parchment to funnel the dry ingredients into the processor and pulse until you have a bowl of moist curds (set the parchment aside). Scatter over the chocolate and pulse just to combine.
Turn the dough out and knead it gently into a ball, then cut it in half and flatten each piece into a disk.
Working with one half at a time, roll each piece of dough between sheets of parchment until you’ve got a circle that’s just large enough to allow you to cut a 9-inch round from it (you’ll do this later). Keeping them between the parchment, stack the rounds on a baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until you need them. (Once they are firm, you can wrap the rounds airtight and freeze for up to 2 months.)
TO MAKE THE FILLING: Place all the ingredients except the fresh raspberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the cranberries start to pop, then continue to cook and stir until the filling thickens a bit and your spatula leaves tracks, about 5 minutes. Scrape the jam into a bowl to cool to room temperature. The filling will thicken as it cools and is best if you refrigerate it. (You can pack the jam into a tightly covered jar and refrigerate it for up to 1 week.)
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE TART: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, preferably one that’s 2 inches high, and have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat at hand.
Using the bottom of the cake pan as a guide, trim each round of dough to the size of the pan. Fit one piece into the pan and spread the cranberry jam evenly over it; dot with the fresh raspberries, if you’re using them. Cut a small steam circle in the center of the second round of dough and set it over the filling, gently pressing the dough into place. You aren’t sealing the tart—the jam layer is meant to be exposed on the sides. (If you’d like, you can wrap the tart well and freeze it now – it will keep for up to 2 months – and bake it straight from the freezer. It might need a few more minutes in the oven.) Put the pan on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle the top with sanding or granulated sugar.
Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling; loosely tent the top with a piece of foil or parchment if you think it’s getting too dark, too fast. Transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 20 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides. Unmold the tart onto the rack and then turn it over onto another rack or a serving plate. (Once cooled, the tart can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.)
Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.
STORING: Any leftover tart can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Enjoy it cold, or let it come to room temperature.