Cranberry Curd Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust
Cranberries and chocolate together make a bold statement on the palate and they’re the perfect match in this holiday-perfect tart.
The holidays have come and gone but I’ve got not just one but three sweet recipes coming to you this week. I prepared these three desserts (plus vegetables) for two gatherings with family and friends over Christmas and I’m squeezing them in before the year closes. You probably don’t want to see another holiday treat for a while but indulge me for parking these recipes here for next year.
So here’s Dessert Number One. Truth be told, I’ve had this on my mind since Thanksgiving but as the holiday approached this year my husband and I ended up taking a last-minute trip to Hawaii so the baking plans were put on hold.
The cranberry-chocolate idea is similar to this recipe in the archives but the inspiration to use a lighter, smoother filling for the tart came from the most heavenly raspberry curd tart I enjoyed in Paris this summer. While I still intend to recreate that dream of a dessert that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind, I couldn’t resist testing the recipe with cranberries to celebrate the season.
So maybe this isn’t the prettiest tart ever to hit the web. I cooked my cranberries a little too long so rather than being liquidy the mixture was globby after its time on the stove. Then I forgot to whisk in the butter before tempering the eggs. It’s not the smoothest curd but I’m happy to say that my missteps didn’t hurt the final product.
The tart cranberries had just the right hint of sweetness and the chocolate shortbread crust was buttery and crumbly. Cut into bite-size bars these were the perfect little bites after a Christmas feast. They were a hit with my friends, along with the boozy sweet treat that accompanied them Christmas Eve. That will be Dessert Number Two–stay tuned.
Cranberry Curd Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust
For the Cranberry Curd
- 1 12-oz bag cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar (225 grams)
- 1 orange juice and peel (orange part of peel only)
- 1 stick softened butter (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
For Chocolate Shortbread Crust
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (10 tablespoons)
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa
- Pinch salt
- More powdered sugar for sprinkling over tart
Prepare the Cranberry Curd
Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and peel in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the cranberries have popped and softened. This will take about 10 minutes. Separate the liquid from the solids with a fine mesh strainer, pressing the liquid into a bowl. (A food mill would work, too). Discard the solids.
Whisk the butter into the warm cranberry liquid.
Combine the eggs and egg yolks in another bowl and beat lightly. Whisk in 3/4 – 1 cup of the cranberry liquid to temper the eggs. Add the remaining cranberry liquid and whisk to combine. Transfer the liquid to a pot and cook over low heat until the mixture is nearly bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Once cooled you can store in the refrigerator for one day or use immediately for the tart. (See notes about curd below.)
Prepare the Crust
Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, three to four minutes. Add the cocoa and salt and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the flour and beat until combined. Ideally, the dough should form into a ball but if not, this is okay, too. Gather the dough and press it evenly over the bottom and sides of a 14″ x 4 1/2″ rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill for 15 minutes.
Bake until the edges are firm but the center is still slightly soft. If using right away, let cool to room temperature before pouring in the curd. If baking ahead, let cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to one day. (See notes)
Assemble the Tart
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Pour the cranberry curd to the top of the pre-baked tart shell (you will have leftover curd; see note). Bake for about 10 minutes to set the curd then cool on a wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into bars and serve at room temperature.
Cranberry Curd Recipe from NYT Cooking
Shortbread Crust Recipe from Cooking.com via Food Channel
*The crust and the curd can both be prepared one day ahead. For best timing, I recommend preparing the tart crust the day before. Prepare the curd and assemble the tart following day.
***This recipe using a rectangular tart pan makes a thick crust so you will have leftover cranberry curd for another use. (The crust recipe will also work for a 10-inch round tart pan.)
Laura | Tutti Dolci says
Beautiful, Jean! These festive bars are perfect for the season!
mimi rippee says
I am speechless! Which doesn’t happen often. This is so pretty I could wallpaper my house with these photos! I’m not kidding. What a wonderful flavor combination as well.
WOW this tart is gorgeous! I love that flavors combination!
Debra Eliotseats says
I always want to utilize cranberries as much as I can this time of year. Definitely saving this for next year’s feasts. Happy New Year!
terriavidreeader - terri scott says
Are you sure you meant to say the WHiTE part of the orange when peeling? Doesn’t sound right as that is not a good part of an orange at all.
Otherwise this sounds good.
Terri, thanks so much for catching that! I’ve corrected the recipe. Thanks so much for the heads up!! 🙂