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« Thanksgiving Menu and Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup II | Main | Cranberry Sauce »

Cranberry White Chocolate Tarts

Chocolate White Chocolate Tart

It was a weekday and I awoke just like every other morning, groggy and wiping the sleep from my eyes. I followed my typical routine—getting dressed and eating breakfast—before walking out the door. But my morning's familiarity ended here. The first snow had fallen to the ground while I slept and, for once, the snowflakes gathered, leaving the homes and streets white and sparkling.

Yawning, I drove away, making the first tracks in the pristine snow.

Chocolate White Chocolate Tart Chocolate White Chocolate Tart

Working a baker's hours means I get to greet the morning long before it first hits light. As I walked the rest of the way to work under the falling snow, my feet left the first imprints on the day. The world was silent, still in bed, with the covers pulled up to its chin and dreams still filling its head. It felt surreal, surrounded by all this beauty, with no one to share in it but me.

I opened the shop and assembled the ingredients for the morning's pastries, the drifting snowflakes just visible through the storefront window. The music from the radio and the hum of the refrigerator harmonized, while the rotating blades of the stand mixer clashed, creating a familiar dissonance that has started to define my mornings. Once I get the first pastries in the oven, the smell of baking scones begins to fill the air. The scent slips out under the door and slowly drifts down the city streets.

The first customers of the day often tell me that the scents from the bakery lure them in, making the cold streets just a little bit warmer as they begin their day.

Chocolate White Chocolate Tart Chocolate White Chocolate Tart Chocolate White Chocolate Tart

Though I dread waking so early in the morning (and oh do I dread it), once I find myself in the comfort and warmth of the bakery the world seems to make just a little more sense. My hair may be disheveled and my apron covered with flour, with dried dough hidden on my forearms and cemented to my fingernails, but this is the reason it's worth it to wake up so early in the morning. This feeling.

And though I can't explain it, it just feels right.

Chocolate White Chocolate Tart

These Cranberry White Chocolate Tarts are fresh and colorful, with no shortage of flavor. Almond shortbread tart crusts are filled with a thin layer of white chocolate and topped with another layer of cranberries, combining three flavors I've grown to love together over the last month. I topped the tart with the simple homemade cranberry sauce I shared with you recently and it was a perfect match. If you are looking for last minute dessert ideas for the upcoming holidays, this is an easy and delicious choice. These are even perfect to make after the holiday, if you find yourself with some leftover cranberry sauce.

One Year Ago: Black Forest Cake

Cranberry White Chocolate Tarts

Yields 1 9-inch tart or 8 4-inch tarts

Almond Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
3 tablespoons ice water

In a food processor, blend together flour, sliced almonds, salt, and sugar. Add cubed butter and process until mixture resembles coarse sand. Blend in the egg and ice water and process until dough comes together. Refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up the dough (or freeze for 45 minutes to 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick (you may have to wait a few minutes for the dough to soften). Cut out rounds of dough to fit the tartlet pans (alternatively, if you are making a large, single tart, roll out the dough and cut a large circle to fit the tart pan). Press the dough carefully into the pans. Stab the bottom several times with a fork so the dough will bake evenly in the oven.

Bake the tart shells for 15-18 minutes, or until they are lightly colored and the shell feels dry to the touch (the larger tart may take slightly longer. Watch closely). Let cool completely before filling.

Cranberry White Chocolate Filling
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups homemade cranberry sauce
Orange zest, garnish

Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and fill tart shell(s) with a thin layer of white chocolate, spreading it up the sides of the tart shell (this will prevent the cranberry filling from making the tart shell soggy).

Fill tart shells with cranberry sauce and garnish with orange zest.

Keep tarts refrigerated until ready to serve.

Reader Comments (15)

I love cranberry sauce and feel like it doesn't get it's fair shake with all the other dishes at thanksgiving, but this really puts it in the lime light.
11.20.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
MMMMH I love these tarts ! The orange zest must give a really nice touch to the recipe ... thank you !
11.21.2011 | Unregistered Commenterargone
I loved reading this. Something about the morning, working in the kitchen, with baking smells surrounding you makes everything ok in the world. Great writing!

These tarts look fantastic. I would have never thought of using leftover cranberry sauce for something like this. Also--never would have thought of white chocolate as an accompaniment either. I have a bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge waiting for something exactly like this...
These look absolutely gorgeous. I often find white chocolate can be very sweet, so adding the sharpness of these cranberries and a little orange zest is perfect. I really want to try making some individual tarts soon but don't have the pans...reading this I think I might have to make the investment though!
11.21.2011 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
The way you worded this post was beautiful! I love waking up to fresh snow where there are no tire tracks or any sign of a disturbance. Everything just seems so quiet and magical. I love that feeling. Your tarts look amazing and very festive. I could totally imagine eating this by the fire.
11.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
These are gorgeous! Love the almond dough, too. What a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce (but honestly, I'd make it just for use in these tarts).
11.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFresh and Foodie
your photos are stunning... love the colors! and your post is beautiful too... such great writing! i love cranberries & white chocolate so i know this tart is nothing short of amazing. thanks for sharing :)
Suzanne-- I feel the same way! We need more cranberry love.

Argone-- I actually use an orange juice based cranberry sauce, so it really helped bring all the flavors together. :)

Laura-- Thank you so much for the kind words! White chocolate and cranberries are actually a perfect match. The overt sweetness of the white chocolate and the tartness of the cranberries blend beautifully together. You should give it a try!

thelittleloaf-- You can actually find individual tart pans relatively cheap! I picked up 8 mini-pans at my local kitchen supply store for $10 during a sale. Keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.

Becca-- Thank you! I love fresh snow. It's so white and pure and beautiful, before people, cars, and time get to it. Those feelings truly are magical.

Fresh and Foodie-- Cranberries, white chocolate, and almond are like a dream come true. Don't worry, I whipped up a batch of cranberry sauce just for these too. :)

Nicole-- Thank you so much! I just love the bright colors.
11.21.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Simply delicious! Cranberry pie is one of my favorites! The shots are wonderful!
11.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKurt Whitner
These look delicious--and so beautiful. I'm skipping the cranberry conserve this year and using my cranberries for these. Thank you!
11.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Wow, I just LOVE this post!! You wove such a beautiful story. And though I've never been particularly fond of cranberries, this recipe looks SO GOOD I might just have to try it.. :)

p.s. also your pictures are gorgeous. that is all.
11.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegly
Laura-- Sounds like a great plan!

Megly-- Thank you so much! I've never been a big cranberry fan, but these tarts have changed that for the good.
11.22.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
O how I love this! Love your writing too and the photos are stunning. Just discovered your blog through dishfolio. I saw those pretty cranberry tarts and I just had to come and take a closer look. Coincidence is that I have some cranberry sauce left in my fridge which is begging to be made into these little tarts. Perfect!
11.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSimone
Such a clever idea to combine the tart cranberries with the overly sweet white chocolate!
And, as always, beautiful pics.
11.25.2011 | Unregistered Commentergrowntocook
These looks absolutely delicious! Your photos are simply beautiful (I just discover your blog! I love it!)... the light, the colors are splendid!

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