It seems that I've been blessed with really wonderful away-from-home Thanksgivings. There was two years ago at the Saltsman's in Maryland, all those spectacular Maine Thanksgivings, and this year's with Brent's family in Delaware.
We got in late Wednesday night, and after hanging out in the living room and a tour of Sandy & Dan's lovely antique-filled home, we quickly split into two groups. The ladies hung out in Jessie's red room, for girl talk--mostly family storytelling and remarks on how Neville Longbottom is kind of a babe now, while the guys, well I'm not sure what they were up to--probably drinking whiskey and watching the History Channel. In the morning we awoke to a beautiful unseasonably warm day along what I couldn't tell was there in the dark of night-- the Brandywine River.
After some online shopping, I joined Sandy in the kitchen to work on this Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust, which was, along with a Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie, my contribution to the feast. I'd made a version of this for Kickasserole last year, with a regular pie crust in rectangular tart pans, but I only got to try a sliver. This time I added an almond shortbread crust, spiked the cranberry-orange compote with Grand Marnier, and baked it in a full 11-inch tart shell.
I was really pleased with the result. The goat cheese filling is smooth and rich, similar to cheesecake but lighter (and with less lactose, which is good for a slightly dairy-intolerant like me), and the cranberry compote was perfectly sweet-tart.
Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread CrustFilling adapted from Maggie Foard's goatcheese; Compote adapted from Gourmet
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 c. almond meal (make your own by grinding almonds in the food processor)
3/4 c. confectioner's sugar
10 Tblsp. (1 stick +2 Tblsp.) butter
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 T. ice water
8 oz. fresh chevre
8 oz. ricotta (goat or cow)
4 large eggs
2/3 c. + 2 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 Tblsp. lemon zest
For cranberry-orange compote:
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
1 large navel orange, quartered and thinly sliced
1/4 c. fresh cranberries
1 Tblsp. Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur
1. Combine flour, almond meal, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add cold butter chunks to the almond mixture and process until mix is the size of small peas. Add egg yolks, extracts, and ice water and pulse just until dough begins to form. Remove pastry dough from the food processor and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour and up to 1 day.
2. After dough has chilled, lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 11-inch tart pan. Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper and transfer to the tart pan, forming the crust up the sides (dough will be crumbly, so you may have to piece it together). Fold dough over the sides to ensure that the tart will have a strong edge. Prick all over the bottom with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
1. Preheat over to 350. Blend chevre, eggs, 2/3 c. of sugar, and lemon juice. Zest the lemon and combine with the 2 Tblsp. of sugar. Combine the chevre & lemon mixtures until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into the tart shell, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is set (you may want to prepare the compote while the tart is baking). Let the tart cool on a cooling rack.
For compote and assembly:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slices and cranberries and simmer over low-medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mixture turns red, thick, and coats the back of a spoon, about 25-35 minutes. Add in the Grand Marnier and transfer the compote to a heatproof bowl. Let cool.
2. Once tart is baked and cooled, spoon the compote onto the tart and spread evenly with an offset or rubber spatula. Put in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. Keep tart chilled until about 15 minutes before serving. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Thanks so much to Sandy and Dan (and Jack!) for hosting, and Brent, Brian, Luigia, Jessie, and the rest of the family for welcoming me in their Thanksgiving feast.