Cranberries aren't just for Thanksgiving. They're perfect for all the end-of-the-year holidays, especially given their vivid red color that matches the hue of holly, ribbons, and stockings. This luscious cranberry curd tart from America's Test Kitchen is a stunning dessert to end a holiday feast, its tartness cutting through the heaviness and fat of the rest of the meal. Plus, America's Test Kitchen's signature ingenious tricks will save you some time and effort, making use of the abundant natural pectin in cranberries to stabilize the whipped cream topping and adding egg yolks directly to hot cranberry puree in the food processor rather than heating it again on the stove.
Cranberry Curd Tart with an Almond Crust
You’ll need a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. We strongly recommend weighing the almond flour and cornstarch for the crust. If preferred, you can use a stand mixer or handheld mixer to whip the cream in step 4. The tart crust will be firm if you serve the tart on the day that it’s made; if you prefer a more tender crust, make the tart through step 3 up to two days ahead.
For the filling:
1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
Pinch table salt
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
For the crust:
1 cup (4 ounces) almond flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
1. For the filling: Bring cranberries, 1 1/4 cups sugar, water, and salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat to maintain very gentle simmer. Cover and cook until all cranberries have burst and started to shrivel, about 10 minutes. While cranberries cook, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in bowl until smooth. Transfer hot cranberry mixture to food processor. Immediately add yolk mixture and process until smooth (small flecks of cranberry skin will be visible), about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Let mixture cool in processor bowl until skin forms and mixture registers 120 to 125 degrees, 45 minutes to 1 hour. While mixture cools, make crust.
2. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in bowl until well combined. Add melted butter and almond extract and stir with wooden spoon until uniform dough forms. Crumble two-thirds of mixture over bottom of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough to even thickness in bottom of pan. Crumble remaining dough and scatter evenly around edge of pan. Press crumbled dough into sides of pan. Press edges to even thickness. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
3. Add softened butter to cranberry puree and process until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids with rubber spatula to extract puree. Transfer 2 tablespoons puree to medium bowl, then stir in cream and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Cover and refrigerate. Transfer remaining puree to crust (it’s OK if crust is still warm) and smooth into even layer. Let tart sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. (Cover tart with large bowl and refrigerate after 4 hours if making ahead.)
4. Whisk cream mixture until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with pastry tip. Pipe decorative border around edge of tart. Transfer any remaining whipped cream to small serving bowl.
5. To serve: Remove outer metal ring of tart pan. Slide thin metal spatula between tart and pan bottom to loosen tart. Carefully slide tart onto serving platter. Slice into wedges, wiping knife clean between cuts if necessary, and serve, passing extra whipped cream separately. (Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)