Cranberry prickly pear tart

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This brilliant, red tart would be a welcome addition to any holiday table.  It is best made with fresh cranberries, but frozen ones may be substituted.  Prickly pear fruit is available almost year round in the specialty produce department of most grocery stores, but if it is not available, this recipe works well by stirring 1 cup of raspberries, instead of the prickly pear purée, into the cranberry mixture.

Serves 8 to 10

3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

4 prickly pear fruits, peeled
2 cups cranberries
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
3/4 cup sugar

Pastry: Put almonds in a food processor and process until they resemble coarse meal; add confectioners sugar and mix again; add butter, salt, vanilla, and egg; process until creamy.  Add flour and quickly mix it in by pulsing the machine.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, wrap and refrigerate overnight, or until firm enough to roll. Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness and turn into an  8-inch round baking pan with a removable bottom.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Filling: Put prickly pears in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth; stain and reserve.  Mix cranberries, water, Grand Marnier, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the prickly pear purée; cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spoon filling into chilled tart shell and bake until crust is brown and cranberries are bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Cool on rack and remove tart from pan.