Smooth & tart orange cranberry curd bars balanced on an orange pistachio shortbread.
If you’ve been here awhile you know this isn’t my first foray into cranberry curd: there’s a swirled curd pie with lemon and there’s a blueberry cranberry meringue pie. And building on that, after so many loved these blueberry curd bars, I thought perhaps this Christmas I could make a cranberry version. Then I saw that TJ’s now has an orange cranberry bar and well, our fate was sealed.
The curd recipe takes inspiration from David Tannis’ cranberry curd tart; I’ve changed up the method and used whole eggs instead of yolks. The shortbread is the same as the one from the blueberry curd bars but it’s got some ground pistachios in there. And oh! What a combination this is. I topped mine with a pistachio whipped cream (more on that in a bit) and, well, it’s so unique and lovely. Cranberry fans, this ones for you!
Cranberries: Use fresh! They’re in the stores November – January and organic or non is fine. Usually the bags come in packs of 340g, exactly what you’ll need here.
Orange: I think blood oranges work exceptionally well here, they are a little tart but not overly so, have an undertone of berry and a deep red color.
Pistachios: These are easily made nut free but if you like them, make an excellent addition. I have them ground up finely in the crust and then for the whipped cream I just added a little pistachio paste. If you don’t have pistachio paste, make a regular whipped cream.
I think this is best done in one session: make the crust (in the food processor, press it in and bake) and while it’s baking make the filling.
The filling is three separate steps, although fairly simple:
The color is very light, not bright and vibrant red.
The berries weren’t blended before straining. The cranberries release some but not a lot of juice when cooking. You have to muscle the rest out by blending the mix before adding the eggs.
The curd… curdled.
It was cooked too long in the second step, with the eggs. If you go above 170 F, you’ll start to see it get very thick and teeny white bits. You can strain these out but be aware the curd won’t be as smooth.
The filling didn’t set.
I don’t foresee this happening much, cranberry curds are quite good at firming up in the oven quickly but if it does it’s possible the oven temperature is off and it needed more time to bake.
Can I replace the fresh cranberries with something else?
Nope. 100% cranberry juice won’t work either, I have tried it and got a very pale colored curd that didn’t really taste like cranberry. Stick with fresh.
Can I skip the nuts?
Absolutely. Just omit the pistachios.
Can I make this ahead of time? How shall I store it?
Yes! It’ll keep for a week in the fridge. If you haven’t lifted it out of the pan I’d leave it uncovered. If there’s condensation on the top when you want to serve or top it, use a paper towel to gently soak up the water spots.
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