Cranberry Almond Tart


There’s nothing in food magazines anymore. A glossy cover photo is tempting, but inside it’s all quick-mix stuff. If one’s not a cook-on-the-run willing to begin with prepared food items, the magazines are a waste of time. Many of my treasured holiday recipes came from the old Gourmet magazine, but this year’s December Bon Appetit didn’t tempt me with one.


I still bake the same three-day Dresden Stollen from Gourmet that I discovered 30 years ago, and my canon of Christmas cookies reflects Cuisine, Saveur and Cooks’ Illustrated. These classic holiday recipes need no updates.


Food magazines used to invite readers to travel abroad and go behind the scenes in great restaurants. Through their pages I sampled holiday breads from Vienna, chocolates from Paris and steamed puddings from London. I saved some of these magazines for years, poring over the holiday issues each winter.


Now the mags are all about young professionals throwing parties on rooftops or in trendy lofts. Like beautiful handwritten letters replaced by Twitter, vintage food magazines have become rags for foodie gossip and celebrity gawking. I leaf through colorful pages over a cup of tea and then recycle them.


In memory of good recipes from decades past, here’s a colorful cranberry tart that always pleases during winter holidays. It can be made ahead, cut into tiny pieces for finger food and it freezes well. It’s from the early years of Bon Appetit.


Cranberry Almond Tart


1 ½ oz. powdered sugar (6 tablespoons)


1/8 teaspoon salt


5 oz. all-purpose flour (1 scooped cup)

2 ½ oz. unsalted butter (1/2 stick + l tablespoon)

1 egg yolk

2 oz. all-purpose flour

4 ½ oz. sugar (2/3 cup)

pinch salt

2 oz. cold, unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

2 oz. blanched, slivered almonds (1/3 cup)

12 oz. bag fresh cranberries

3 tablespoons sugar

Make the pastry by creaming butter,sugar and egg yolk. Add salt, flour and work into a cookie-dough type dough. (May use mixer or food processor.) Shape into a flattened disc, wrap in plastic and set aside for an hour.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining the 2 oz. flour, 4 ½ oz. sugar and pinch of salt. Rub in the sliced cold butter to form a crumble. (May use food processor.) Mix in the slivered almonds. Set aside.

Roll the pastry to a thin circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off the top sheet, lift the pastry from underneath and gently slap it into the center of a 9-inch shallow tart tin with removable bottom or a 9-inch glass pie plate. Use the top sheet of plastic wrap to help press the pastry evenly up the sides. Remove wrap.  Trim pastry edges. Strew the cranberries in the bottom of the shell, removing any bad berries. Sprinkle over 3 tablespoons sugar. Dump the crumble topping in the center and carefully feather it out over the top.

Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 50 minutes or a 375º oven for 40 minutes. Cool thoroughly before cutting. Serves 6–8.

Mary Jo’s cookbook is available at


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