Note: If you’re pressed for time or refrigerator space, you can simplify this dessert by eliminating the fresh cranberry sauce and crumb topping; it will still be delicious. Everything may be prepared a day or more ahead and assembled at the last minute. You will need 6 eight-ounce ramekins.
Filo Tart Shells
6 sheets filo (available frozen)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
approximately 1 cup dry beans (to weight tart shells)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush each sheet of filo with melted butter, then fold and fold again into a rectangle that will fit into a ramekin. Repeat for each sheet; do not grease ramekins. Put a handful of dry beans in the bottom of each dish (to keep the filo from puffing up) and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let shells cool and store at room temperature, tightly covered. If necessary, briefly crisp in a 300-degree oven before using.
Brown Sugar-Crumb Topping
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup flour
3/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place all ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mix with your fingers until crumbly. Spread on a lightly buttered baking pan and cook until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. While mixture is still hot, break into very small pieces. Let cool and store in refrigerator, tightly covered. Use chilled or at room temperature.
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
juice of 1 orange
Place all ingredients in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil, and cook until the cranberries burst and become soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and pulse, then purée until sauce is liquid and quite smooth. Strain and let cool.
1 cup Gewürztraminer wine
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 star anise (optional)
1/4 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until volume is reduced by half. Strain and set aside for use in apple filling.
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons Gewürztraminer wine
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
Gewürztraminer syrup (recipe above)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 quart of your favorite vanilla ice cream
brown sugar-crumb topping (recipe above)
1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
fresh cranberry sauce (recipe above)
6 or more mint sprigs for garnish
Soak dried cranberries in Gewürztraminer wine until soft, about 10 minutes. Heat a large, ungreased, nonstick sauté pan until very hot a drop of water should bounce when it hits the surface. Put apple slices in pan (avoid crowding) and sear both sides until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high, add soaked dried cranberries and Gewürztraminer syrup, and adjust heat to a simmer. Stir in butter in 4 batches, so sauce will not separate.
To assemble tarts, remove filo shells from ramekins and reheat apple filling if it has been refrigerated. Working quickly, put a scoop of ice cream in each shell, followed by the apple mixture and crumb topping. Dust tarts with powdered sugar, drizzle with cranberry sauce, and garnish with mint. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
From the December 2000 article Season’s Eatings.