Fresh cranberry curd is paired with a buttery tart crust and real white chocolate in this easy, yet totally impressive, cranberry white chocolate tart.
Cranberries are fall’s take on lemons. Though one is a berry and the other a citrus, I think the two are more alike than not when it comes to desserts. They both have a pleasant sourness that counters well with the sweetness. Many other fruits (excluding citrus, in general) are high in natural sugars, and it’s easy to find yourself with an overwhelmingly sweet fruit dessert.
I love lemon curd and lemon meringue pie. I also love cranberries. Naturally, cranberries work well in instances where we more commonly use lemons, such as in tarts. So when I saw the idea of using cranberries to make curd, much like you make lemon curd, I was intrigued.
The nice thing about using cranberries for something like a curd is that they’re naturally high in pectin, which means they’ll set up well. Because of this, you don’t need quite so many eggs or thickeners as you do when making lemon curd. It also allows for a cleaner cranberry flavor to come through since you don’t have to muddle it up with stabilizing ingredients. On another note, with all of that pectin, cranberries make excellent jams and jellies in case you've never given that a try.
I found myself adding white chocolate to this cranberry tart because it too is an underutilized ingredient, yet a good one for the holiday season. Unlike dark or milk chocolate, I think white chocolate is a flavor that needs a strong compliment. I don’t care for it on its own, but in the case of this tart, where you create a white chocolate layer over the bottom crust, and then use some more for decorating the top of the tart, I think it works. The subtle buttery and milky notes of the white chocolate complement the sharpness of the cranberry curd rather well.
When buying white chocolate, keep an eye out for the real deal. Many brands create products that look like white chocolate but lack the essential ingredient – cocoa butter. In the United States, white chocolate must contain at least twenty percent cocoa fat, and that’s why many product labels don’t explicitly call themselves such.
If cocoa butter isn’t on the ingredient list, and the label doesn’t clearly say “white chocolate,” I won’t buy it. Here's a great breakdown of what to look for with white chocolate. As you can see, for this recipe I used Baker's white chocolate which contains cocoa butter, sugar and milk at the top of its short ingredient list.
Key ingredients for this cranberry white chocolate tart include:
- cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- white chocolate (the real stuff)
- almond flour
- orange juice
- corn starch
Note: I like the nuttiness that the almond flour adds to the crust. But if you don't have almond flour handy, you can replace it with additional all-purpose flour.
For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card below.
There are some steps to making this cranberry white chocolate tart, but nothing about it is difficult. There are just some periods of chilling that really take up the bulk of the time. You'll want to plan ahead, perhaps overnight, to make this tart without much hassle.
You start by making the dough. I do this by hand, working in the butter into the dry ingredients with my fingers. If you'd rather use a food processor and have another thing to clean, that works too.
When the dough has come together, you simply press it into your pan. (See my tip below about tart pans.) You want the dough to come up the side of the pan about an inch in order for it to hold the curd. You then put the crust in the freezer to chill out before baking for a total of about 25 minutes.
As soon as the crust is out of the oven, scatter over your white chocolate and let it melt. Use a spatula to spread it across the crust, which will form a thin crunchy candy coating. I think it makes the tart more fun, as you're not expecting that bite of white chocolate when you're eating the tart.
Next up, you cook the cranberries in a small pot, almost as if you were making cranberry sauce. But you then turn it into a puree with a stick blender or food processor. Really, a stick blender makes it so easy because you can do it right in the pot. After adding some eggs and butter and giving it all a chill, you have yourself cranberry curd.
The curd goes in the crust and then you need to let it chill again for it to set for a couple of hours or more. It should have a little wiggle to it, but shouldn't be watery. Finish it off with some white chocolate decoration and you're good to go.
💭 Helpful tips
- Don't skip chilling the tart dough, as this helps to firm it up and prevent it from spreading during baking. If you're not in a hurry, you can put the dough in the fridge, instead of the freezer, until ready to use.
- It turns out that not only do I not have a tart pan, I couldn't find a decent one locally. If you don't have one either, don't let that stop you. A springform pan with a bottom that pops out works great. A pie pan will also do the job fine. There is no sense in going to buy a pan if you'll only use it on occassion.
- For that zig zaggy look with the white chocolate on top, I put my melted white chocolate in a squeeze bottle and squeezed a row of lines across the tart. Then, I used the back of a butter knife to make a slightly indented lines running through the white chocolate in the opposite direction. I alternated the direction I moved my knife from line to line so that the white chocolate was spread from one way to the other.
This tart will keep for 3-4 days wrapped and stored in the fridge. Though of course, it's best eaten within a day or two.
Cranberry Dark Chocolate Tart - If white chocolate isn't your thing, I think this tart would also be delicious with dark chocolate. If you try that, let me know in the comments below.
🥄 Other cranberry recipes to try
If you like this cranberry white chocolate tart, check out my other cranberry recipes:
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange
- Mini Cranberry Pavlova Wreaths
- Cranberry Sausage Yorkshire Pudding
- Walnut Cranberry Stuffing