Sweet and tangy with a glorious ruby red color, my cranberry tart is a festive dessert to offer up during the fall season. Prepared with a juicy filling of fresh cranberries kissed with orange and spice, a layer of thinly sliced pears, plus a sweet cookie-like crust, this cranberry tart recipe makes for a delectably sweet finish to your holiday meal!
A Sweet-Tart Cranberry Tart
Once late October/early November rolls around, I excitedly keep my eyes peeled for cranberries, those gorgeous little red gems, to begin making their appearance in the produce section of the market.
October through late November is their peak time, and let me tell you, I'm always so eager to start seeing these beauties as they're one of my favorite berries to enjoy during the autumn season...
I always make lots of batches of cranberry sauce scented with cinnamon and orange, and spoon it over cottage cheese with bananas, or blend it into thick, Greek yogurt for added sweetness and brightness.
For me, cranberries enjoyed like this represent the quintessential flavor of the fall, the sweetness and the spice, and I find their glossiness and juiciness irresistible.
And since I am always looking for new ways to use my favorite ingredients, this year I've created a fresh dessert fit for the holiday table by way of this cranberry tart recipe, and it's filled with all of those sweet, tangy and spicy notes that I love in a holiday tart!
Prepared with a fresh cranberry filling scented with cinnamon and orange, a brown sugar-infused cookie-like crust, plus a layer of thinly-sliced fresh pears, this cranberry tart is a terrific offering if you'd like a bit of an alternative to serving up your cranberry sauce in a bowl.
My Cranberry Tart Recipe
Since cranberry sauce is naturally full of pectin and has a fairly thick and glossy consistency, it makes for a fantastic tart filling.
I use a little less water in the filling for this tart, and add some ground cinnamon and some orange zest for those delectable spicy notes.
And since cranberries cook so quickly, once they come to a vigorous boil, I only simmer them for about 6-8 minutes longer.
I'm looking for the whole berries to just barely begin to soften and split, releasing their pectin and juices, yet keep their shape and not become too cooked down or mushy.
This way, once the filling is cooled (I often like to prep this a day or two ahead), I can simply mix up my crust ingredients (super quick and easy prep), add my sliced pears, top with my cranberry sauce filling, and bake!
Here's a sneak peek at my cranberry tart recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my cranberry filling and allow it to completely cool. (Preparing this a day or two ahead, and keeping it in the fridge, helps to streamline things.)
- Once the filling is cooled, I prepare my easy tart crust, press it into my 9 ½ inch tart pan, and place it into the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
- While the crust chills, I preheat my oven, and slice my pears and add spices to them.
- Then, I add my spiced pear slices to the bottom of my chilled crust, spoon over top my cranberry filling (reserving 2 tablespoons of it for later), and bake the cranberry tart for about 1 hour.
- Once baked, I allow the tart to cool completely, and keep it chilled in the fridge.
- Just before serving, I spread my reserved cranberry filling gently over top of the tart to create a slightly glossy finish.
by Ingrid Beer
This cranberry tart is prepared with a juicy and sweetly-spiced cranberry filling, thinly-sliced pears, and a sweet, cookie-like crust!
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 409 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes (does not include chill time)
Cook time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Cranberry Tart filling Ingredients:
- 12 ounces fresh, whole cranberries
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, plus extra, for optional garnish
- 1 teaspoon, plus ¼ teaspoon, ground cinnamon, divided use
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 small Bartlett pears
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 (scant) teaspoon flour
Tart Crust Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of the the filling ingredients (except for the pears, the ground ginger and the flour) according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the cranberry filling, add the cranberries, the sugar, the orange zest, the 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and the water into a large pan or skillet, and bring to the boil. Once the the cranberries begin to boil/vigorously simmer, reduce the heat just a touch and simmer them for about 6 to 8 minutes, just until they begin to pop, soften, release juices, and break down. (Do not allow them to become too mushy, as you want them to stay as whole as possible.)
- Pour the cranberry mixture into a large bowl, and allow it to completely cool and thicken slightly (you can use the fridge to expedite the process, if necessary).
- Once the cranberry filling is cooled, gather and prep your tart crust ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the crust, add the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon to a large bowl, and whisk to blend. Set aside these dry ingredients for a moment.
- Add the butter, granulated and brown sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix/cream those together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla, and blend that in.
- Next, add the dry ingredients in, and mix together just until things begin to come together. Add in the 1 tablespoon of water and continue to mix for a moment or two longer, just until a moist crumble forms.
- Turn the crumble out into a 9 ½ inch, non-stick tart pan (the kind with a removable bottom), and press the crumble as evenly as possible to form a bottom crust for the tart, going up the sides as well (I use either my fingers, or a ½ cup measuring cup for an even crust to do this). Then, place the crust into the freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
- While the crust chills, peel, core, and slice the Bartlett pears as thinly as you possibly can, and add them to a bowl. Sprinkle over them the ground ginger and remaining ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus the scant 1 teaspoon of flour. Toss gently to combine, and set aside.
- To assemble the cranberry tart, add the spiced pear slices as evenly as possible to the bottom of the chilled tart crust, and then spoon the cranberry filling (reserving two tablespoons for later use) over top of the pears, smoothing it out evenly all the way to the edges of the tart.
- Place the tart onto the foil-lined baking sheet and bake the tart for 1 hour, turning it once half-way through the baking.
- Once baked, carefully place the tart onto a wire rack, and allow the tart to cool in its tart pan for about 30 minutes. Then, carefully remove the tart from the main tart pan by pushing up on the removable bottom. Allow the tart to cool completely to room temp, then place into the fridge, gently covered with plastic wrap, to completely chill.
- When ready to serve, mix the reserved 2 tablespoons of cranberry filling with a teaspoon of water, and brush this over top of the chilled cranberry tart to create a glossy top. Serve the cranberry tart on its own, or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side, garnished with orange zest/curls, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Cranberry Tart recipe:
- Fresh whole cranberries, or frozen in a pinch: If you have access to fresh, whole cranberries, then those are ideal for the filling. But if you happen to have a bag of frozen, whole cranberries on hand, you can substitute those without any problem, just don't thaw them. Use them straight from the freezer, and proceed with the filling recipe steps.
- Fresh Bartlett pear slices: I love the flavor and aroma of fresh pear with cranberries, and like to add peeled, thin slices to the bottom of the tart before topping with cranberry filling. You can leave these out, but the Bartlett pears really add a terrific flavor. You could substitute very thinly-sliced Honeycrisp, Gala, or Jonagold apples instead, if you prefer. Either pears or apples are a tasty addition!
- 9 ½ inch, non-stick tart pan with removable bottom: The ideal baking vessel for this recipe is a 9 ½ inch tart pan, with a roughly 1 inch depth. Tart pans with a non-stick coating are best, as well as ones with a removable bottom to help release the tart from the pan and offer a serving base.
- Reserve some of the cranberry filling to create a glossy topping: Just before serving this cranberry tart, I like to spread a small amount of reserved cranberry filling (which I mix with a teeny touch of water) over top of the chilled tart to create a shiny look. This is totally optional, but it creates a fresh, glossy finish.
- Garnish and optional toppings: I love to add fine curls of orange zest over top of this cranberry tart before serving for added “oomph” and flavor. This tart is terrific on its own, or if you'd like to make it slightly more decadent, you can serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.