1 recipe Candied Pecans (see below)
1 recipe Creme Fraiche (see below)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cranberries
1 tangerine or orange, peeled and sectioned
1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (about 17x12-inch rectangles)
1.Prepare Candied Pecans and Creme Fraiche. Cover and store nuts at room temperature; chill Creme Fraiche.
2.For cranberry sauce, in a medium saucepan combine sugar and the 1/2 cup water. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the skins pop, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tangerine sections.
3.Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the 1 tablespoon water and the cornstarch. Stir into cranberry mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. (If desired, this sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)
4.To make pastry cups, lightly brush twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with some of the melted butter; set aside. Lightly brush a sheet of phyllo with melted butter. Place another sheet of phyllo on top of it; brush with melted butter. (Cover remaining phyllo with plastic wrap or slightly damp towel to keep it from drying out.) Cut phyllo stack into twelve 4-inch squares. Place one phyllo square on top of a second square, followed by a third square, setting each at a slight angle to create a star shape. Gently press the 6-layer stack into one of the muffin cups, leaving the points sticking up or drooping slightly. Repeat process with phyllo and butter to form 12 cups total.
5.Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully remove cups from pan. Store in a dry place up to several hours.
6.To assemble the tarts, spoon about 1 tablespoon of Creme Fraiche into each pastry shell. Spoon 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce on top of creme mixture. Top with Candied Pecans. Makes 12 servings.
7.To make Candied Pecans: Line a baking sheet with foil. Butter the foil; set baking sheet aside. In a small heavy skillet combine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Cook mixture over medium-high heat, shaking the skillet occasionally until sugar begins to melt. Do not stir the mixture. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until sugar is golden brown, stirring the nut mixture occasionally. Remove skillet from the heat. Pour nut mixture onto the foil-lined and buttered baking sheet. Cool completely. Break the nut mixture into small chunks. Store the coated nuts, tightly covered, for up to 1 week. Makes 3/4 cup.
8.To make Creme Fraiche: Up to one week before serving, in a small mixing bowl stir together 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup dairy sour cream. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the cream mixture stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours or until mixture thickens. When thickened, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
9.About 1 hour before serving, stir 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon finely shredded tangerine or orange peel into the cream mixture. (Try serving this mixture over cut-up fresh fruit for a quick dessert.) Makes 1 cup.
Make-Ahead Tip: Up to 1 week ahead, prepare the Creme Fraiche and Candied Pecans. Store as directed. Up to 2 days ahead, prepare the cranberry sauce; cover and chill. Up to 12 hours ahead, make and bake phyllo cups; cover and store at room temperature