This tart ticks a lot of boxes. A chocolate-based dessert for the festive season, as well as one that’s pretty enough to take centre stage, but not so rich that you can manage only one slice. Puddles of spiced cranberry sauce are baked into the chocolate frangipane for a pairing that puts any surfeit of cranberries to good use. Get ahead by making the sauce and pastry beforehand, then finish it all off on the day you serve.
Spiced cranberry and chocolate tart
Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
For the cranberry sauce
300g fresh cranberries, or frozen and defrosted
100g caster sugar
Juice of ½ orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
½ tsp ground ginger
For the pastry
175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
30g cocoa powder
40g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
¼ tsp salt
130g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk
For the frangipane
130g softened unsalted butter
130g caster sugar
Zest of 1 small orange
2 large eggs
35g cocoa powder
130g ground almonds
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp cacao nibs
Cream, to serve
Put all the ingredients for the cranberry sauce in a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook for five to seven minutes, until the cranberries are soft and syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.
To make the pastry, put the flour, cocoa, icing sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and blitz to a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the egg yolk and a teaspoon of water, and pulse until the mix starts to clump; if it still looks a bit dry, add another teaspoon of water.
Turn out on to a clean work surface and use your hands to knead it gently. Bring it all together, pat into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for two hours, or until firm.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use it to line a 23cm tart tin with a 1cm overhang all around the rim, then put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess pastry, then line the tart with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Fill with baking beans or uncooked rice, then blind bake for 25 minutes. Lift out the paper and the beans or rice, bake for a further 10 minutes, then take out of the oven and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in a bowl until smooth, then beat in the eggs. Pour in the cocoa, almonds, spices and salt, and stir well to combine. Spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry shell.
Use the back of a spoon to make some dips in the surface of the filling, and fill them with about half the cranberry sauce in total. Scatter over the cacao nibs, then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until there’s no wobble in the middle. Leave the tart to cool completely, then release from the tin and dust with icing sugar, if you like. Serve with more cranberry sauce and a splash of cold cream.
Fiona Beckett’s drink pairing I’d be tempted by a chilled shot of Sainsbury’s wickedly good Cocktail Collection Cherry Liqueur (£8.50 for 350ml, 15%).