I wanted to fit one more sweet Christmasy recipe in before the holiday arrives, and I succeeded! Woo! No small feat considering my to-do list and the fact that my kiddos are now off school (for EIGHTEEN days!!). I will add that, if you know me, it’s not super surprising as I *always* find time to bake! When I was browsing through recipes these beautiful bright red jewels kept catching my eye, and it became clear that I needed to make my own: Cranberry Curd Tart.
This beauty is a chocolate pastry crust filled with drop-dead-gorgeous cranberry curd filling. I am in LOVE with the color of this filling! The cranberry flavor is amped up with the flavors of orange, cinnamon, and vanilla. I topped the sweet-tart filling with toasted meringue, sugared cranberries, chocolate pastry cut-outs, and sprigs of rosemary. In other words, I turned Christmas up to 11.
I made one large (9″) tart (in a pan with a removeable bottom like this one [here]), but this recipe would also be adorable as tartlets.
A pastry cutter certainly isn’t required to cut the butter into the pie crust, but it does make the job faster and easier. If you don’t have one and would like one, you can find one online [here].
I love, LOVE my kitchen torch. It’s super handy, not to mention fun. If you’re in the market for a kitchen torch, you can find one [here]. If you don’t have one and prefer not to buy one, you can try toasting the meringue under your oven broiler. Just keep a VERY close watch on it, as it’s very easy to burn!
I used vanilla bean paste in the filling. Vanilla bean paste has excellent flavor, and it’s more economical (and lasts longer) than buying whole vanilla beans. I can never find vanilla bean paste at my local grocery store, so I buy it online [here]. If you prefer, you can substitute vanilla extract.
Conveniently, you can make the curd and bake the crust in advance and assemble the tart closer to the time that you’re going to serve it. This will help keep the crust from getting soggy and will reduce any weeping you might have from the meringue.
While I do *always* find time to bake, I don’t always find time to take pretty pictures of a slice of Cranberry Curd Tart. You’ll have to take my word for it, but it does slice wonderfully and has a beautiful presentation. (In fact, it looks much better in person than my limited photography skills allow me to showcase here.)
Wishing you a very happy holiday season, whatever that means to you. I know some folks who will perfect “Netflix and chill” and others who will be traveling, hosting dinner parties, etc. Whatever you celebrate and whatever you do, I hope you find the joy of the season. 🙂
Other recipes you may like:
Chocolate pastry recipe adaped (slightly) from Baking a Moment (link here). Cranberry curd recipe adapted from NYT Food (link here).
Cranberry Curd Tart
- 12 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
Chocolate Pastry Crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced (1/2 stick)
- 3-5 Tbsp cold water
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 oz cranberries
- rosemary sprigs (if desired)
- In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process briefly until nearly smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into the saucepan. Add the butter and stir until the butter has melted.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks. Slowly pour half of the cranberry mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Return this mixture back to the saucepan.
- Cook mixture over low heat until thick and is just starting to bubble, about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla bean paste (see note). Allow curd to cool to room temperature before using. (If you're making it in advance, cool to room temperature, then place plastic wrap directly over the surface of the curd and refrigerate until needed.)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and sugar. Whisk to combine.
- Add the oil, and stir until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add the butter and cut in with a fork or pastry cutter (see note) until no large pieces of butter remain.
- Add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Knead gently into a ball, form into a disc, then wrap in plastic and chill one hour.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out until it's large enough to fit your 9" tart pan (see note). Line pan with dough, taking care not to stretch the dough (as this may cause it to shrink when baking).
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until baked through (dough will appear dry), 13-15 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely.
- If you want to add pastry cut-outs to the top of the tart, re-roll excess dough after lining tart pan and cut shapes as desired. Bake about 5 minutes (depending on the size of your cut-outs).
- In a small heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and warm until mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until cool, voluminous, and shiny, about 10 minutes. Transfer meringue to a piping bag.
For Sugared Cranberries:
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Remove syrup from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
- Pour cranberries in the syrup and stir to coat. Place cranberries on a rack so excess syrup can drip off. Allow to set 10-20 minutes.
- Roll cranberries in sugar to coat.
- Fill cooled tart crust with cranberry curd, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula. Pipe meringue on top of the tart as desired.
- Using a kitchen torch (see note), toast the meringue. Top with pastry cut-outs, sugared cranberries, and rosemary sprigs, if desired.Enjoy!