Intense. Brightly intense-that’s my best description for this tart. Deeply wrapped in the scarlet colored filling is a cranberry curd that’s been topped with a meringue and giving structure to the body and added flavor is a chocolate crust. This is the kind of dessert that starts tart as it hits your tongue but then quickly blends with a balance of sweetness and then further mellows with the chocolate crust. Think lemon meringue but replace the citrus with the sweet tartness of a berry.
Can I be honest and say, sometimes I run out of ideas for desserts and my brain goes down the usual path of all my favorites like chocolate, caramel, Oreo, cupcakes, candy . . . chocolate again. This was where I was last week until three bags of cranberries fell out of the freezer onto Matt’s foot. He might have voiced some discontent about it. But at that moment, inspiration hit me and I’m pretty sure everything he said just gave way to some blurry mumbling.
I was busy thinking cranberry curd and working through the recipe in my head. So to alleviate our overfilled freezer and Matt’s frustration of something always falling out when he opens the freezer the door, I made some cranberry curd. Okay, a lot of cranberry curd— I have enough to eat it by a few dozen spoonfuls and to spread it on more than a few slices of toasted pound cake.
A few notes:
- If you love cranberries like I do, stock up now. Pretty soon you won’t see fresh cranberries anymore and you’ll have to wait until Fall comes around once more. Fresh cranberries can be frozen and will keep up to nine months and can be used without thawing.
- To create the ruffling I used Wilton’s tip 104. For the pan I used a 4x14inch tart pan, but a round 9inch tart pan will work just as well.
- The cranberry curd can be made five days in advance and kept refrigerated with a piece of plastic wrap laid directly on the surface.
- Make sure to keep a close eye on the meringue when when toasting it. The meringue quickly goes from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds. I actually keep the broiler door open and watch it, so if I need to rotate the pan I can quickly.
Chocolate Cranberry Tart
Preparation: Lightly cover pan with bake spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
For the Chocolate Tart Shell recipe and instructions click here.
- 6 egg yolks, room temperature
- 12 oz Cranberries
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
To make cranberry curd:
- Whisk egg yolks and transfer to a saucepan; set aside.
- 2. Place cranberries, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat and lightly stir until the cranberries pop and sugar completely dissolves. Add in butter and stir until melted and combined. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and puree. Push pureed cranberry mixture through a strainer. Set mixture aside to cool from hot to warm, about 10 minutes.
- Gradually pour warm pureed cranberry mixture into saucepan with egg yolks, while continuously stirring until everything is combined. Return combined mixture to stovetop over medium low heat. Cook and continuously stir mixture until it is just barely thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6-8 minutes. Push mixture through strainer one last time to catch any curdled eggs. Use immediately or cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To make meringue:
- Place egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water, Heat and whisk continuously until mixture is heated to 150 degrees F.
- Transfer mixture to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Add in pinch of tartar, vanilla and pinch salt into mixture. Turn mixer on at medium speed and beat for 2 minutes then turn mixer up to high and continue beating until mixture becomes glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- Fit a pastry bag with tip 104 and fill it with meringue.
- Fill chocolate crust with cranberry curd. Use an offset spatula and smooth out top of curd to an even finish.
- Pipe meringue on top of cranberry curd layer.
- Place fully assembled tart under broiler for about 1-2 minutes or until meringue tips turn golden. KEEP A CLOSE watch over the tart as the meringue goes from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds.