Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a nice holiday 🙂 I’ve been home from college for the past 4 weeks, and while it was a little disorienting at first to be thrust into home life so quickly, it’s definitely been nice to relax and spend time with my family (and bake!). Overall, first semester was a blast. College is fun, crazy, hard work, long nights, and much more. It’s missing your dog but making friends with the security guard at your dorm. It’s making grilled cheese substituting kraft mac and cheese for the cheese at 1:30 A.M. It’s humbling yourself by asking more questions than you thought you would, but learning extensively from that. It’s making friends from across the country, and staying up until 4 A.M.  talking with them.

IMG_4913I’m going back to school tonight actually, and am very excited for the next semester. I like that college gives you new beginnings more frequently than high school did. My classes are going to be harder than they were last semester, but I’m excited to meet more people, try new clubs, and create more memories.

Okay, before I turn this post 100% cliché, here’s the recipe! This tart is delicious and a great winter dessert. Frangipane is a pastry cream typically made with almonds, but this recipe substitutes pecans. Both the tart and the frangipane can be made ahead and assembled when you’re ready to bake. I altered the recipe a bit by cooking my cranberries down with water and a tiny bit of sugar before plopping them onto my tart to give them a sweeter flavor.

IMG_4910While this tart was definitely delicious, it took much longer than I expected. If I had to do it again, I would probably make this extremely easy tart and substitute cooked cranberries for the fresh fruit. Regardless, enjoy it all!

One more thing! While I’ve been home, I had been going through old photos and found a bunch of recipes from this summer that I had never posted!! The ingredients (rhubarb, raspberries, etc.) are a bit out of season for where I live, but I think I’m going to post them over the next couple of weeks/months anyway. This way I can have a few recipes circulating while I’m still at school 🙂

Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen



  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (depending on amount of cranberries)
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup water (depending on amount of cranberries)

Tart Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg


Tart Dough

  1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.
  2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.
  3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
  4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Partially bake the crust by letting it bake for 5 more minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Note: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.


  1. Finely grind pecans and flour in processor. Mix in sugar, then butter, orange zest and brandy (if using). Blend until smooth. Mix in egg and egg white. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)
  2. Heat water and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of sugar (depending on amount of cranberries being used) in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries, and cover the pot for 3 minutes (or a little less), letting it cook. Keeping the liquid from the bottom of the pan, allow the cranberries to cool before placing on the tart.
  3. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread pecan filling evenly in baked tart crust. Arrange cooked cranberries on top. Use the smaller amount for a sparsely cranberried tart like you see in these pictures. Use the larger amount if you, like us, really like things extra tart.
  4. Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 44 to 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

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