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I can’t say that I get that excited by cranberry sauce. The sweet note on my Christmas dinner plate comes from my spiced red cabbage with apple which I firmly believe pulls any roast dinner together like nothing else. I’m a recent convert so I’m especially evangelical.

At the moment there isn’t an organic cranberry to be had but years ago they used to be more plentiful and I was always left with a stockpile which I slung (if that’s the word) in the freezer. Like all berries they freeze really well but unlike all berries I hadn’t a clue what to do with them so I came up with this tart. It turned out to be a winner – a shortbread almondy  base topped with a jammy cranberry layer spiked with a little cinnamon and orange followed by a crumbly topping with almond nibs. It’s a riff on that mango and coconut one I blogged earlier this year after Lee was born. It’s best warm with some softly whipped (but hey, what dessert isn’t?) but it’s also great for eating straight up on the hoof with cups of tea and coffee as you go about your business over the next few days. And if you’re having one of those mornings where dessert for breakfast (without the cream)seems pretty right as we were last Sunday  it’s not the worst choice either…..

This is, by the way a fantastic gluten free desert and I often make it with rice flour. Another thing  I like is using coconut palm sugar instead of regular moscovado. This stuff is amazing and gives things a gorgeous butterscotch twist plus it’s way better for you. It can be tricky to track down so moscovado will work fine. I plan to start stocking it in the new year and  I’ll keep you posted when it comes in.

Cranberry and Cinnamon Almond Tart

You’ll need:

400gr cranberries

1 orange

8 heaped tablespoons coconut palm sugar – if you’re using regular brown or moscovado I’d use less so 6 should do it.

1 cinnamon stick

1 teasoon ground cinnamom

250gr regular white or rice flour

140gr ground almonds

230gr butter

250gr coconut palm or moscovado sugar

pinch of salt

2 handfuls almond nibs

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Begin with the cranberries – sort through them, picking out any bad ones then rinse and put in a pot with ¾ cup of water, the juice of the orange, the cinnamon and the sugar. Place on a moderate heat. Stirring occasionally, allow the berries to pop and the sugar to dissolve. When most of the berries have popped and the mixture has started to thicken you can turn off the heat. This will take about 5 minutes.

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To make the shortbread base and crumble topping, put all the ingredients bar the almond nibs into a bowl and crumble the ingredients with your fingers tips until you have something resembling fine breadcrumbs.

When this is done, reserve about 2 large handfuls and press the rest into a greased baking tray (10 x 14 inches or 25 x 35 cm).

Bake this the at gas mark 5 oven for 15 minutes then top with the cranberries. Take the remaining crumble mix and adding the nibs form small clumps with your finger tips and spread these on top of the cranberries. Return to the oven and bake until golden (about 15-20 minutes).

Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.

Have a brilliant Christmas and a very happy new year,

Sarah