As someone born in central Europe and currently residing in the Netherlands, I hardly have a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. However, that does not stop me from imagining what I would serve on this last Thursday of November, if I did celebrate it.
As a vegetarian I would forgo the turkey, and probably make a main course around mushrooms. The African pumpkin soup would make a great starter. There would be lots of pumpkin, Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes on the side (by the way, I still can’t believe that the combination of sweet potatoes ans marshmallows can make something edible, let alone delicious, but we learn every day, right?) and maybe some polenta too, to include corn and because it is my daughter’s favourite.
I have not completely figured the details out yet, but at least I know what the dessert would be. As there is no turkey to serve cranberry sauce with and because it would be a shame to omit them,and also because I’m still unconvinced about pumpkin in pies, I would make this cranberry lattice tart.
The recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks: Fields of Greens by Annie Sommerville, the chef of the celebrated vegetarian restaurant Greens in San Francisco. I have played with it a little, mainly tipping the pastry to filling ratio in the favour of cranberries. I found that the original amount of dough would make at least one and a half tarts. I also added a little cinnamon to the filling (so autumnal and it goes so well with the cranberries) and substituted the dried apricots for dried cranberries. Because of the high pectin content of the cranberries, the filling solidifies easily and does not sog the pastry. Nobody wants a soggy pastry. The lattice on top revealing the ruby coloured filling gives the tart a celebratory look and is not as difficult to make as it looks, so please, give it a go.
Cranberry Lattice Tart
Adopted from Fields of Greens by Annie Sommerville
250g all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
150g cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold cream
125 ml water
150 g sugar
50 g dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon powder
80 ml Amaretto or Grand Marnier liqueur (or just add more water)
Eggwash to brush:
1 egg yolk
2 tsp milk or cream
In a small saucepan, cook the cranberries together with the water, dried cranberries, sugar and cinnamon until they pop, about 10 min. Add the liqueur (if using) and cook for 10 min more. Let cool.
For the dough:
Combine the flour and sugar with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter in ½ cm cubes. Using 2 knives, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the yolk and cream together and add it to the mixture. With your hands, gather the dough into a ball. You may need to add up to 1 tbsp cream more for the dough to come together. Divide the dough in 2 pieces, in the ratio 2/3 and 1/3 and press both into a rough circle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll the larger piece into a circle of about 3 mm thick and 28 cm in diameter. Place the circle gently into a 22,5 cm spring tart pan. Fill the tart with the cranberries. Roll the rest of the dough into a circle of about 23 cm diameter and cut it into 10 strips.
Lay 4 or 5 strips over the filling, evenly spaced, and then weave the remaining strips diagonally into the first. Fold the edges over the lattice and brush the dough with the yolk-creammixture. Bake about 35 to 40 min, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.