If you love lemon curd and lemon tarts, I think you’ll like this fall/winter version of a curd tart. The curd isn’t as sharp as my usual lemon curd, but it’s got that signature cranberry tartness. The color is natural, a bright and beautiful magenta and the crust gives those warm, homey vibes. There’s no leftover egg bits here and the curd bakes and chills into a firm, easily sliced pie.
This one is, of course, inspired by David Tanis’ Cranberry Curd Tart. I first introduced you to my cranberry curd recipe via these cranberry pistachio bars last year; I use whole eggs, a little less sugar and my method is quite different from Tanis’.
While I love a sharply tart curd, and kept some of that in the curd itself, I thought I’d pair it up with the warming qualities of cinnamon and oatmeal in the crust and some brown sugar and cinnamon in the whipped cream.
If you prefer a more plain crust use the crust recipe from this Cranberry Lemon Tart.
Cranberries: Fresh cranberries. Frozen is fine as long as there’s not a lot of ice clinging to the berries. If so, rinse them out then dry them on a paper towel to remove the extra water.
Oranges: You’ll need both the zest and the juice, zest first!
Eggs: Whole large eggs.
Butter: Unsalted or salted, if using salted omit any added salt. The butter should be softened for the crust and it can be cold for the filling.
Oatmeal: Quick cooking rolled oats usually works better in my experience but rolled oats will do, you’ll just have to grind them well with the dry ingredients before you add the butter.
Powdered Sugar: For the crust. If you don’t have it you can use granulated sugar but in that case I might also add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the crust to help it ‘bind’.
Flour: All purpose flour.
Cinnamon: I use this in the crust and in the whipped cream. You can skip it if you want, or you can add more if you love it!
Salt: fine sea salt. If using table salt, halve the amount.
First the filling
Place the cranberries into a medium sized pot, zest the oranges over the berries then juice the oranges. Pour the orange juice into the pot and stir.
Now set the pot over medium heat. We’ll cook it for 10-20 minutes and as it warms, the cranberries will begin to soften and then burst.
Once most of the berries have burst, and all are softened it’s time to blend. If you have an immersion blender you can do this straight in the pot. If not, pour the berries and juice into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a puree.
We need to get rid of the cranberry skins so we’ll pour the puree through a fine mesh sieve. If you’ve used an immersion blender, you’ll pour the berries into a bowl (through the sieve). If you’ve used a blender/food processor you can pour them through the sieve back into the pot.
Press the berries through the sieve to extract as much puree as possible. Now rinse the sieve, you’ll use it again in a bit!
Crack and beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk; you can do this in a separate bowl or straight into the pot but only if the pot is empty and cooled. We don’t want to cook the eggs before they’ve blended with the puree.
Slowly pour the eggs into the puree that’s in the pot (or vice versa), whisking as you do. Once it looks well mixed, set it over medium heat.
Cook until the curd thickens, whisking and stirring often. Once it the temperature reaches 165 F or coats the back of a spoon, it’s done cooking.
Set the cold butter in a bowl and the rinsed and dried sieve over the butter. Pour the curd into the sieve and stir it so that the only thing left in the sieve is egg white bits. Scrape the bottom of the sieve too.
Stir the curd with the butter, it will slowly melt and combine. Once it’s smooth and cool you can transfer it to a container to store in the fridge.
Then the crust
Combine the crust ingredients: Set all the dry ingredients in a food processor and run it until it’s powdery. Slice up the butter and add it to the dry ingredients, then run the food processor until the dough comes together in a shapeless ball.
Press the crust into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Take your time with it; try to get an even layer on the bottom and to get the crust all the way up to the rim of the pan. If you flour a measuring cup it helps press down the bottom.
Chill the crust for 15 minutes and preheat the oven. Place a sheet of parchment over it and some pie weights or dried beans. We’re going to pre-bake the crust or blind bake it.
After about a half hour in the oven, you can remove the pie weights using the parchment paper as a sling. Dock the bottom by poking it with a fork (this prevents air bubbles).
Pour the filling into the crust and set it back in the oven. It can take up to or even more than 20 minutes to bake fully but what you are looking for is set sides and a slight jiggle in the center – this is when it’s done baking. The top will be matte all over.
Let the tart cool to room temperature then chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
You’ll need 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (or heavy cream), ¼ cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar), 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high until thick, about 3-4 minutes. You can also whip the cream with a hand mixer, it will take a little bit longer, or by hand with a whisk (will take some muscle and a few more minutes).
Important: Only the food processor method will give you a ‘stabilized’ whipped cream; one that won’t separate.
I have to tell you – I overwhipped the cream in the photos which is why it looks a bit grainy. Whipped cream should look like this (see apple cider cheesecake – note the soft swoops) so don’t make the same mistake as me!
Second, I generally do not recommend adding fresh cranberries to top the tart. I ran out of time to sugar them (like I do in this red velvet cake) and just dropped them on the top so that it would be clear this was a cranberry tart.
That said: fresh pomegranate arils are WONDERFUL here (as they are in everything!), some raspberries would be great and you could do just a plain whipped cream.
Alternatively, make the cranberry meringue from my substack!
The filling can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for a few months. It should be stored in an airtight container.
The tart, after baking and without a topping, will keep in the fridge for a few days. Topping should be saved for the day of serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but the layers may start to separate.
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