I love cranberries. They seem so festive and distinctly American (though they’re not). When I read about the cranberry tart with polenta crust in the NYT’s dining section last Wednesday, I knew I had to make one, too — it sounded so unique and seasonal, bright and tart (ahh! inadvertent pun).
The recipe is from a new dessert cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma (W.W. Norton, $35). The pastry, a polenta pate sablee, was extremely pliable and easy to work with. The candied cranberry filling was another story, involving melting sugar and then pouring in corn syrup, whereupon the whole mixture seized up into a solid, crystalized mass. I did some panicked stirring and it did smooth out, but seized up again when I added the cranberries. Panicked stirring, then smooth again. Oh, I hate working with sugar — it involves so much chemistry, a class I barely passed in high school.
While my tart looked fine — presentable — it in no way attained the gorgeous, deep red color of the NYT’s version (scroll down halfway). And while the cornmeal pastry had a pleasant crunch — I’d definitely use it again with perhaps a sharp lemon filling — the tart was way too sweet, the usually acidic cranberries overwhelmed by sugar. Did I do something wrong?
P.S. Photo will be added as soon as I learn how to post images so that they don’t appear freakishly huge and enormous. Hurray!