Sweet, tart and set in a gingerbread crust, this cranberry curd tart is perfect for the holidays. Decorate with sugared berries and herbs for a festive dessert.
I love cranberries. They’re tart, flavorful and healthy–not to mention full of holiday spirit! I mean who wouldn’t like a Cranberry Apple Cider when the days start to cool!
And there are so many ways you can use them, from practical sides to exciting desserts! I’ve especially enjoyed looking at the beautiful cranberry tarts online. So this year, I decided to make one myself!
Happily, it was far less intimidating than I expected! Keep reading to see if this might be your next special dessert!
What is a Cranberry Curd Tart
A Cranberry Curd tart is a version of the classic French Tart au Citron, or Lemon Tart which La Renaissance bakery describes as “A tart of crisp pastry base and tangy lemon curd.” While that’s probably most common version, in other recipes, you’ll see this made with an even more custard-y filling that includes cream. It’s also similar to my Lemon Posset Tart!
Of course for my Cranberry Tart, I move things to more of a holiday direction! Instead of a traditional Pate Sucree crust, I used a gingerbread crust and rather than lemon curd, I used a homemade cranberry curd.
Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any winter treat!
Why You’ll Love This!
Flavorful. With a yummy gingerbread crust and a tart cranberry curd filling, this dessert is a taste sensation.
Impressive. This tart looks good all by itself. But add a few extras as a topping and it’s over the top!
Festive. Between the cranberry and gingerbread, the holiday spirit is pretty much dead on!
What You’ll Need
- Cranberry Curd. This forms the sweet tart filling. It was tested with my homemade cranberry curd recipe.
- Crunchy Gingerbread Cookies. These are crumbled to form the tasty crust. I used Archway Gingerbread men but another tasty crunchy cookie should also work. Don’t use a soft gingerbread since that will give you a soggy crust.
- Butter. This helps hold the gingerbread crumbs together and adds richness.
- Sugar. This functions more to help adhere the crumbs than as a sweetener. The sugar melts, then rehardens after it bakes.
- 9 inch round removable bottom tart pan.
- An offset spatula can help you create a smoother surface but isn’t required.
- A food processor or blender makes crumbling the gingerbread cookies easier, but you can also crush them between sheets of wax paper using a rolling pin.
Step by Step Directions
In a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies until the mixture resembles coarse sand and no large pieces remain (you can eat those if just a few!). In a medium bowl or in the food processor, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, then mix until well combined.
Using your fingers, or a cup with a flat bottom, press the cookie crumb mixture evenly onto the sides and bottom of a 9″ removable bottom tart pan.
Bake your crust in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to set the crust. Remove from the oven and let cool. Spread cranberry curd into the cooled tart shell and smooth top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set the curd. Cool before serving.
How to Serve
One of the most fun aspects of this tart is decorating it! You can go simple and just serve with whipped cream and maybe a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Or get creative and top with things like sugared cranberries, orange peel curls, red currants, meringue stars, herbs and festive sprinkles. Even better, making it pretty doesn’t take much talent or a steady hand! But I’ll never tell!
This would be a beautiful holiday dessert for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I like to bring a “pie buffet” to my brother’s Thanksgiving celebration and always include a new pie with the old classics and family favorites. This Cranberry Tart may be this year’s new pie!
It would also be lovely on a brunch table. Who wouldn’t love the splash of color as the weather cools! And (shhh) I’d eat this for breakfast though more conventional cranberry options might be Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins or Cranberry Lemon Bars!
Variations and Special Diets
Feel free to use a graham cracker crust if you prefer–check this Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust for a recipe. Or use your own favorite sweet tart crust. And a nut crust could also work well!
And for another holiday twist, this could be filled with my Spiced Orange Curd! Yum!
And don’t forget about using cranberries in savory recipes! Consider an appetizer of Cranberry Turkey Meatballs, an exotic snack of Cranberry PaniPuri/Vampire Blood Panipuri, some tasty Cod and Cranberry Stuffing Bake for dinner, or Cranberry Vinaigrette to make your salads rock!
Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator, due to the egg in the filling. It should last a few days there, though the crust may lose a little crispness.
Since a whole tart was a lot for us to eat, I decided to test freeze a few slices. And this is how I learned that it is exquisite eaten frozen. I also tried thawing a piece, and while the crust was slightly less crunchy this was not a problem.
Now truthfully, I am considering serving this frozen the next time I make it, it was so good. (Though any fresh garnishes would need to go on right before serving).
Tips & FAQs
Why isn’t your cranberry curd perfectly smooth?
If you look closely, you’ll see that my tart isn’t super smooth and flat (even ignoring the broken edge that I smashed with my oven mitt). I thought the pre-made curd was going to “melt” a bit and smooth out in the oven, but it didn’t.
It still looks fine to me, but for a flatter top, consider using homemade curd and pouring it into the crust while it’s still a bit warm so you can smooth it out more.
I went with a premade curd today because I wanted to make sure it was possible to make it separately for convenience. Not that I’m busy around the holidays or anything!
Can I use a soft gingerbread cookie in the tart?
You’ll need to use a gingerbread cookie with a good crunch in the tart. A soft cookie would create a soft crust which isn’t right for this tart. Otherwise feel free to make a graham cracker crust, a nut crust, or something similar.
Can I use frozen cranberry curd?
Cranberry curd freezes beautifully, so if you want to make your own early and freeze it, go ahead. Thaw it in the refrigerator (due to the egg in it) and bring it up to room temperature before spreading into the tart shell. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Can I use a storebought cranberry curd?
In theory a storebought cranberry curd should work just fine, though this may be brand dependent. Some curds use more thickeners than others and a very thick crust might not smooth out as nicely for a good tart surface. Make sure that the curd is room temperature, or even a little warmer, when you smooth it into the crust for best results. But this is something you might want to test before serving it to guests.
Cranberry Curd Tart
- 1 ¼ cups Cranberry curd (10 ounces) my cranberry curd, your favorite recipe, or store bought
Gingerbread Crust (or feel free to use your own favorite curst if prefered)
- 2 cups gingerbread cookie crumbs from finely crushed crunchy gingerbread cookies
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 T butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies until the mixture resembles coarse sand and no large pieces remain (you can eat those if just a few!).
- In a medium bowl or in the food processor, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, then mix until well combined.
- Using your fingers, or a cup with a flat bottom, press the cookie crumb mixture evenly onto the sides and bottom of a 9" removable bottom tart pan.
- Bake your crust in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to set the crust. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Cranberry Curd
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