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Cranberry Curd Tart is an elegant dessert that pairs a crisp, almond crust with a silky, citrus-kissed cranberry filling. It's the ideal finale for holiday meals, where its bright color and refreshing flavor offers a cheerful contrast to rich, savory courses. Made up to three days in advance, it simplifies holiday meal prep and delivers a show-stopping dessert without the last-minute rush.
This tart offers the classic appeal of a fruit dessert with a sophisticated edge. The almond crust provides a sturdy, flavorful foundation for the zesty cranberry curd. And, for those looking to add a final flourish, dollops of whipped cream and an array of sugared cranberries not only enhance the flavor but also make for a festive presentation.
Ingredients You Need to Make a Cranberry Curd Tart
For the Crust:
- Almond Flour or Meal: Either work well; almond meal will have a coarser texture, while flour is finer. Hazelnut flour also works well, or a mix of the two for a more complex flavor profile.
- Granulated Sugar: Standard white sugar to sweeten the crust.
- Fine Sea Salt or Kosher Salt: If using kosher salt, use about twice the amount (depending on the brand) compared to fine sea salt.
- Butter: Melted. If salted butter is used, consider reducing the added salt slightly.
For the Cranberry Curd:
- Whole Cranberries: Fresh will offer a more vibrant flavor, but frozen can also be used without thawing.
- Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed preferred.
- Granulated Sugar: To sweeten and balance the cranberry tartness.
- Butter: Room temperature, with an additional ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt mixed in if unsalted butter is used.
- Large Eggs: At room temperature for the smoothest incorporation into the curd.
Optional Whipped Cream Topping:
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Cold for better volume when whipped.
- Granulated Sugar: To lightly sweeten the cream.
- Orange Liqueur: A touch of Grand Marnier or a similar liqueur adds a subtle citrusy note.
- Orange Zest: Freshly grated for an aromatic garnish.
Optional Sugared Cranberries:
- Cranberries: Choose firm berries for the best sugared effect.
- Simple Syrup: Homemade (directions in recipe card) or store-bought, used to adhere sugar to the cranberries.
- Granulated Sugar: For the sparkling, sugared coating.
- Use lemon juice instead of orange juice in the curd for a a sharper tang.
- Try a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg in the crust mix for a warm spice note.
- Enhance the curd with a splash of vanilla extract for added depth.
- Decorate with fresh mint leaves along with sugared cranberries for an herbaceous pop of color.
5 Recipe Tips
- Crust Firmness: Press the crust mixture firmly to create a cohesive base, but avoid over-pressing which could result in a hard crust. It's all about finding that sweet spot for a perfectly textured base.
- Advance Crust Preparation: The crust can be prepared and stored in the freezer, well-covered, up to 3 months in advance.
- Tempering Eggs: Add the warm cranberry mixture to the eggs slowly to prevent scrambling for a smooth curd.
- Separate Storage: If making the tart up to 3 days ahead, bake the crust and prepare the curd but store them separately. Keep the crust in the freezer and the curd refrigerated, with plastic wrap pressed against its surface to avoid a skin forming.
- Curd Texture: For a smooth cranberry curd, strain to remove seeds and skins. Skipping this step leaves the seeds and skins, adding natural pectin but resulting in a less smooth texture.
4 Mistakes to Avoid
- Ignoring Ingredient Temperatures: Make sure your eggs and butter are at room temperature for the curd. Cold ingredients can cause the mixture to curdle or lead to an uneven bake.
- Skimping on Chill Time: The tart needs adequate chilling time to set properly. Rushing this process can result in a runny curd or a crust that doesn’t hold up.
- Using Wet Cranberries for Sugaring: Be sure the cranberries are just moist enough to hold sugar—too much syrup will dissolve the sugar, leaving you with a wet clump instead of a crystal coating.
- Skipping the Strain Step: If you decide not to strain the curd to remove the cranberry skins and seeds, know that it will affect the texture and could lead to a less than smooth finish.
How to Store
Wrap the baked almond crust tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. The cranberry curd can be made 3 days in advance; store it in the refrigerator with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Once assembled, store the finished tart refrigerated in an airtight container or securely wrapped with plastic wrap for up to 3 days or at room temperature for up to 2 days.
More Amazing Holiday Recipes
- Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Crust
- Chocolate Rum Pie with Lard Pie Crust
- Gingersnap Cookies
- Butter Cookies
Holiday Menu Planners
How to Make a Cranberry Curd Tart
Combine almond flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, then mix in melted butter evenly. Press two-thirds of the mixture around the edges of a tart pan, then distribute the rest across the bottom, flattening with a measuring cup for uniformity. After chilling the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes, bake in a preheated 350℉ oven for 15 minutes and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, simmer cranberries, orange juice, and sugar until the cranberries burst, then blend into a smooth mixture and sieve into a saucepan.
Mix in butter, cool slightly, then incorporate beaten, tempered eggs slowly to avoid curdling. Cook over low heat until the curd thickens, then cool.
Spread the curd into the crust and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cool the tart completely on a wire rack for easier slicing and serve with optional whipped cream and garnishes.
Cranberry Curd Tart
- 1 9-inch tart pan
For the Crust
- 2 cups almond flour or hazelnut flour or a blend of both
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
For the Cranberry Curd
- 12 ounces whole cranberries fresh or frozen
- ½ cup orange juice ideally fresh
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter room temperature and cut into several pieces (½ cup, 1 stick)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
Optional Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
- orange zest
Optional Sugared Cranberries
- ½ cup cranberries
- ¼ cup simple syrup store bought or homemade (recipe note #5)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
To Make the Crust
- Add almond flour, sugar and salt to a medium bowl; stir well with a fork to combine. Pour melted butter over and stir well to combine. Transfer ⅔ of mixture to tart pan and press evenly around the edges and up the sides of tart pan (leaving the bottom bare). Add remaining ⅓ of mixture to center and press evenly across the bottom. Use a flat bottomed measuring cup or glass to firmly press crust into tin and even out bumps. Pierce bottom all over with fork and freeze for 30 minutes. (Or longer - recipe note #1.)
- When ready to bake crust, preheat oven to 350℉.
- Bake tart crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. (recipe note #2)
To Make Cranberry Curd
- Bring cranberries, orange juice and sugar to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; cook at a simmer (reduce heat if needed), stirring often until cranberries soften and burst, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend mixture in the pan until smooth with an immersion blender or transfer to food processor or high powered blender and process or blend until smooth. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. (recipe note #3) Return mixture to saucepan and stir in butter until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whip eggs and egg yolks with a fork until well combined.
- To temper eggs, slowly add ~1 cup of warm cranberry mixture, stirring constantly until smooth; slowly add this to mixture to saucepan, stirring constantly and continue stirring until well combined.
- Place saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until thickened and close to bubbling; 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. If assembling the tart right away, set aside to cool to room temperature before spreading into crust. If preparing in advance, transfer to bowl and set aside to cool before covering with plastic wrap (pressed against curd surface to avoid it developing a skin) and refrigerating for up to 3 days. (recipe note #4)
Assembling and Baking the Tart
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- With a rubber spatula, spread cooled cranberry curd into cooled tart shell in a smooth, even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Can be served at room temperature, but is easier to slice when chilled for several hours. Serve topped with softly whipped cream and garnished with orange zest and/or sugared cranberries (optional, recipes below.) Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
For Whipped Cream Topping (optional)
- Whip heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer (or a whisk) until soft peaks form. Sprinkle orange liqueur over and gently fold to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with orange zest if desired.
Sugared Cranberries (optional)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup) and place a wire rack inside. In a medium bowl, toss ½ cup cranberries with simple syrup (recipe note #5) until coated; transfer to wire rack with a slotted spoon. Let stand at room temperature until dry and sticky, about 45 minutes. Transfer sticky cranberries to a medium bowl of granulated sugar and toss well to coat; return to wire rack and let stand until dry. Once dry, use immediately or store for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
- If covered well and frozen, you can make this crust up to 3 months in advance.
- To make this tart up to 3 days in advance, bake crust and prepare curd, but store them separately to avoid a soggy crust. Store cooled crust covered in the freezer and cover and refrigerate curd, and bake the day you plan to serve.
- You can skip this step, but you'll have seeds and flecks of cranberry skin (with the bonus of added color natural pectin, helpful for setting the curd), and won't have a perfectly smooth curd.
- Be cautious not to overcook the curd, as that could cause a grainy texture. Allow it to cool and thicken before adding it to the tart crust. Make the curd a day in advance if possible (or up to a few days). If made in advance, allow it to cool completely, then refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap touching the surface of the curd to keep it from developing a skin.
- To make simple syrup, combine ½ cup of water with ½ cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Let cool to room temperature before using or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Makes about ¾ cup simple syrup.
- Note that total time does not include cooling time of individual tart components.