For almond pastry, beat sugar, butter and cinnamon in an electric mixer (2-3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beat well to combine. Sift in flour, fold in almond meal, add a pinch of sea salt, turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Wrap pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Roll one-third of pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 2mm thick, refrigerate on a tray until firm and set aside. Roll remaining to line a 20cm x 5cm baking ring (trim excess pastry and reserve) and place ring on a baking paper-lined oven tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 160C. Combine dried fruit, brandy and syrup in a saucepan, stir occasionally over medium heat until liquid is absorbed (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat, stir through morello cherries, cool.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, browning (3-4 minutes). Cool. Whisk egg, sugar, vanilla seeds and spices in an electric mixer until thick and pale (5-6 minutes). Fold in melted butter and flour, fold in fruit mixture, spoon into prepared pastry ring, bake until firm (1 hour-1 hour 20 minutes), then cool.
Cut stars from reserved pastry using star-shaped cutters. Place on baking paper-lined oven trays, bake until golden (12-15 minutes), scatter over tart, with cranberries, dust with icing sugar and serve with crème fraîche.
Spiced crème fraîche
Whisk together 400gm crème fraîche, 40gm brown sugar, 30ml Grand Marnier, scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean and ½ tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until required.