Holiday Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

Holiday Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

Although pumpkin pie will, I’m sure, always maintain its rightful place as Official Thanksgiving Dessert, there’s still plenty of room on the dessert table for other fall-inspired sweets. I recently brought this Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart to a  pre-Thanksgiving potluck, and please believe me when I say it is as beautiful as it is delicious! The tart crust is PERFECT – I recommend keeping this basic recipe in your arsenal for dessert crusts. The tartness of the cranberries contrasts perfectly with the smooth, sweet creaminess of the brown sugar almond custard, making this dish a hit. I always judge a recipe by how close the finished product resembles the picture in the magazine, and this one was pretty darn close.

Holiday Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

adapted from this Food and Wine recipe
Serves 16
Per serving: 191 calories; 31 carbs; 7g fat; 2g protein; 12g sodium; 22g sugar


Tart Shell
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
ingredientsFilling and Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups cranberries (one 12-oz bag)*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • ⅛ tsp pure almond extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*The original recipe called for 2 cups of cranberries, or 10 oz. I followed the instructions, but then had 1 random cup of cranberries left in the bag, AND I thought the tart could have used a few more cranberries. Cranberries come in 12-oz, 3-cup bags – just use the whole bag! I increased the water and sugar slightly to account for these additional cranberries.

Special Equipment
  • 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom


Make the tart shell

Make the dough

  • Combine the butter with the sugar in a medium-sized bowl or stand-mixer, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt, scraping down the side of the bowl.
  • Beat at low speed until smooth.
  • Add the flour a little at a time, beating to combine.
  • If you are using a stand-mixer with a paddle attachment, supposedly the dough forms itself into a ball. I was using a hand-mixer and it formed into many little balls, which I then patted together to make one big ball. Either way, once you have your dough ball, flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

tart shellFill the tart shell

  • Place a large cutting board on your work surface, and cover with parchment paper. On this surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round.

This is the scary part!!!

  • Place your tart pan upside down onto the dough. Then, invert the dough onto it. If you are brave you can just do this using the parchment paper. If you are a Nervous Nellie, like me, flip the whole contraption, cutting board and all.  It just makes me feel safer.
  • Peel off the parchment paper and gently press the dough into the pan, flush with the rim. Break off excess.
  • Patch any cracks with the dough trimmings. I encourage you to eat any trimmings that remain – they are delicious!
  • Refrigerate the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake the tart crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. (I had neither of these, so I strategically placed a few metal measuring spoons, with no adverse effects.)
  • Bake the tart shell for about 30 minutes, until the rim is lightly golden. Remove the foil and weights and bake the tart shell for about 5 minutes longer, until it is lightly golden all over.
  • Remove the tart pan, and increase the oven temperature to 375°.
cranberriesMeanwhile, make the filling.
  • In a medium-sized pot, combine the granulated sugar with the water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the cranberries, cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the cranberries cool to room temperature.
  • Drain the cranberries well; reserve the cranberry syrup.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the brown sugar and flour.
  • Whisk in the half-and-half and the almond extract.
fill tart crustFinish it off
  • Spread the cranberries in the tart shell.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the reserved cranberry syrup over the cranberries, then pour in the almond custard.
  • Bake the tart in the lower third of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes.
  • Transfer the tart in the pan to a rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours.
  • Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar, cut the tart into wedges, and serve.

Holiday Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

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