In a 3-qt. saucepan, cook the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice over medium heat just until the berries begin to pop. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pears, raisins, and ginger. Cook over low heat with the lid askew until the pears are translucent, stirring gently if necessary, 10 to 12 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the liquid is syrupy and has reduced to about 2 Tbs., about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the vanilla (avoid crushing the pears). Let cool to room temperature; the mixture thickens as it stands.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
Lightly spray a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil (not necessary for nonstick tins). Using the score lines as a guide, cut off 12 1-inch pieces of dough (reserve the rest of the dough for another use). Roll each piece into a ball in your palms (lightly flour your hands, if necessary). Put one ball in the center of each muffin cup.
If you have a wooden tart tamper, flour it lightly. Press the wider end onto a ball of dough until the dough thins out and begins coming up the sides of the cup, and then twist the tamper slightly to release it. Use the tamper’s narrower end to push the dough halfway up the sides and to smooth out the dough where the sides meet the bottom. If you don’t have a tart tamper, use a narrow, flat-bottomed glass or your fingers, lightly floured, to press the dough into the cups.
Tilt the muffin tin to see if the dough reaches the same level in all the cups; also check for any holes in the dough (this could cause the tartlet to stick to the pan). Rub your thumb around the rim of the dough in each cup for a clean, smooth edge. Slightly less than 1/2 inch of each cup should be exposed. Chill for at least 10 minutes to firm the dough.
Spoon the cooled filling into the dough-lined muffin cups. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the tartlets to loosen and then let them cool until they’re firm enough to handle, about another 15 minutes. Using the tip of a small knife, gently lift the tartlets from the pan and set them on a wire rack to cool.
Make Ahead Tips
You can fill and bake the tartlets up to four weeks ahead and freeze them. Put the cooled tartlets on a shallow pan and freeze until firm, then layer them between waxed paper in an airtight container. Baked tartlets will also hold for three days in the fridge, wrapped in waxed paper and then foil (not plastic wrap). To refresh, bake the tartlets at 325°F until warm, 5 to 7 minutes if refrigerated; 12 to 15 minutes if frozen.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Scott Phillips