As soon as the first bags of cranberries arrive in the produce section at my local farmer’s market, I smile because I know that autumn’s officially here. The leaves are beginning to change their colors, the mittens are coming out, and best of all, it’s time to bake some cranberry tart. I love pies and tarts… they are both delicious and impressive. And aren’t those two qualities we all want out of Thanksgiving? The tastes and textures of fillings and crusts always complement each other so well, and the tart’s aesthetic brilliance is the cherry on top. The color of cranberry tart in particular is spectacular; it looks as if it contains food coloring, but no, the ruby color is all natural.
This cranberry tart recipe is adapted from a recipe from the New York Times, courtesy of David Tanis. I love pairing the tart filling with a rich cookie style crust, as cranberry curd really calls for a sweet counterpoint. I’ve also made it with the same hazelnut crust David Tanis recommends, which tastes great and is gluten-free to boot. David’s glutten-free crust was adapted from a David Lebovitz cookie recipe, which incorporates rice flour for that extra crunch. Regardless of which crust you use, this cranberry tart is a perfect way to end a meal, Thanksgiving or otherwise. My crust is very thick because I prefer it that way, but if you prefer a thinner crust, adjust mine to suit your preferences.
Adapted from a recipe by David Tanis
Makes one 10“ tart
1 pound 2 ounces cranberries
1½ cups granulated sugar - 10.5 ounces
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of one orange
pinch of kosher salt
3 large eggs + 3 yolks
12 tablespoons butter (1 ½ sticks) - softened and cut into pieces - 6 ounces
Place cranberries, sugar, orange juice, zest and salt in a saucepan and heat until cranberries all pop open (~10-15 minutes). Use an immersion blender to slightly pulverize the cranberries. (Note: this last step isn’t necessary, but it does make the straining process easier, while also giving the filling a more vibrant color). Pour the warm filling into a medium mesh strainer over a bowl. Strain the liquid and discard the pulp.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yolks. Slowly whisk some of the warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper. Whisk in remaining cranberry liquid. Rinse out the previously used saucepan and return the mixture to it. Heat while whisking, stopping before it boils (~160°F). Remove from heat and whisk in softened butter chunks. Cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and cool completely. Pour into cooled crust, or refrigerate for use later.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour cranberry curd into the cooled and pre-baked tart crust, smoothing the top. Bake tart for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Great served with sweetened whipped cream.
Cookie-Style Tart Crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour - 10.6 ounces - see note on accurately measuring flour here
½ cup granulated sugar - 3.5 ounces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons cold butter (2 sticks) - cut into small pieces - 8 ounces
3 large egg yolks
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add cold butter pieces and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add yolks, then pulse until completely combined. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10” high sided tart pan with a removable bottom (or improvise with a casserole dish if you don’t have a tart pan). Chill crust in the refrigerator for ~30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cold crust for 20 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
Hazelnut Glutten-free Crust: (Adapted by David Tanis from a recipe by David Leibovitz)
1 ¼ cups hazelnuts - 6.25 ounces
1 cup rice flour - 5 ounces
½ cup granulated sugar - 3.5 ounces
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons softened butter - 3 ounces
Toast hazelnuts in a dry skillet. If the hazelnuts have skins, rub them off with a clean dish towel. In a food processor, grind nuts with half of the rice flour until mixture is coarse. Add remaining rice flour and salt. Pulse to mix.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until lightened. Add nut mixture. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10” high sided tart pan with a removable bottom (or improve with a casserole dish if you don’t have a tart pan). Chill crust in the refrigerator for ~30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cold crust for 15 minutes. Cool completely before filling.