The holiday season is all about pie, pie, and more pie. As delicious as traditional pies are, there’s another holiday dessert that should have a spot on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table—cranberry curd tart.
If you’ve never had cranberry curd tart, you have to try it this year. Everyone knows cranberries are a must-have for Thanksgiving, and this tart is a delicious way to serve them.
The sweetness of this curd is nicely balanced with tart cranberries, zesty oranges, and a crisp almond crust. You can be sure that this gorgeous red tart will stand out amidst the oranges and beiges of a table full of pumpkin and apple pies.
Tell me about cranberry curd!
A fruit curd is a soft filling or spread made out of the juice of fruit (typically citrus fruits like lemons and limes, but we went rogue here), eggs, and butter. The result is silky, rich, and decadent. Our cranberry version is packed with cranberry flavor and bright, neon red color!
How do you make cranberry curd?
Making a fruit curd might seem intimidating, but once you’ve made it, you’ll realize just how simple it is—and you’ll want to make curds from all the fruit in your house! Here are the steps:
- Place the cranberries, orange zest, and cranberry juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until all the cranberries have burst open.
- Blend the mixture either using an immersion blender or by pureeing it in a blender.
- Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the blended cranberry mixture through the strainer, using a spatula to press the mixture through.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Then temper the eggs by adding a few tablespoons of the warm cranberry puree to the eggs and whisking.
- Continue adding the cranberry puree a small amount at a time until all the cranberry has been added.
- Pour the cranberry and egg mixture back into the saucepan. Add in the sugar and salt and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over medium heat and stir the curd constantly, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottoms of the pan. Cook until the mixture thickens.
- Remove the pan from heat, and add in all the butter and vanilla extract, stirring well until the butter is completely melted.
What is orange zest?
Orange zest is little flecks off the orange part of the peel. Before you turn up your nose at eating an orange peel, hear me out. The zest is found in the outermost layer of the peel. This orange layer has a highly concentrated orange oil that adds a strong citrus flavor to your foods. It’s not the same as the bitter white inner layer of the peel.
To zest an orange, you can use a zester or the finest side of your box grater. Make sure your orange is washed well before you grate it. Lightly scrape the outside of your orange, stopping when you reach white.
Is there an easy way to separate the yolk from the egg?
There sure is! The easiest way to separate the yolk from the egg is to crack it in your hands and let the egg whites drip out through your fingers into a bowl below. This may seem a little messy, but it’s the simplest way to separate out the yolk.
Do I have to use almond flour in the crust?
The almond flour and almond extract will give your crust a slightly nutty flavor. This is an essential part of the overall flavor of your cranberry curd tart, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting it with another flour. You can make your own almond flour by pulsing blanched almonds in a food processor until they form a fine flour.
I’m in a rush. Can I skip freezing the crust?
Nope, sorry, freezing your crust needs to be done, so you shouldn’t skip over this step. Chilling your crust before you add your filling allows it to relax and spread out a little. It also stops it from shrinking when it’s baked, so this step is important.
Why do I have to add the cranberry mixture to the eggs so slowly?
Slowly adding a hot liquid to an egg mixture is known as tempering. This allows the eggs to rise in temperature gradually. Tempering your eggs is important because it prevents them from cooking. You don’t want scrambled eggs in your cranberry curd tart!
What should you top your cranberry curd tart with?
If you’re looking to add a sprinkle of flavor and color to this cranberry curd tart recipe, you can’t go wrong with candied orange peels. Sugared cranberries are another excellent topping for a little more sweetness.
Can this cranberry curd tart recipe be made ahead of time?
This cranberry curd tart can absolutely be made in advance, and in fact, it needs some time in the fridge to really set up before serving. You can make this tart up to 2 days in advance of serving.
You can also make the parts ahead of time (the curd and the crust) separately, and then assemble them, bake, and chill.