This Cranberry Lemon Tart is SO delicious and stunningly gorgeous! Juicy, tart cranberry lemon custard filling in a Nilla wafer crust and topped with sugared fresh cranberries for a truly show-stopping dessert!
You guys – I cannot even handle this tart!
Welcome to another day of my unofficial Pie Week! Today we’re celebrating with what is quite possibly THE most gorgeous pie/tart on the planet. The color is kind of mind-blowing and the flavor is outstanding. In other words, y’all need you some of this tart!
I admittedly always forget about tarts, and I think everyone else does as well. Pies tend to take center stage where tarts are lone and forgotten except by the pastry chef elite. However, I busted out my tart pan and made this one for you because it was too good not to share!
The idea came from the recent issue of Food Network magazine and when I was reading the recipe, I was intrigued. I am not a huge fan of super tart, bitter or sour things so I wasn’t sure how I’d like a cranberry lemon custard filling. Would it be overwhelmingly sour like fresh cranberries and lemons are? But I am pleased to say it isn’t! It does have a tart and tangy kick for sure, but it is sweet and creamy and delicious!
Unlike Food Network’s recipe, I used a Nilla Wafer cookie crust for this tart because I thought it was easier than the original one they featured. You could also use a graham cracker crust in a pinch! Just combine some sugar, melted butter and crushed Nilla Wafer crumbs together, press it into a 10″ tart pan with a removeable bottom, and bake briefly to set the crust. While it’s baking, make your filling!
The filling gets made by adding frozen cranberries, lemon, sugar, and water to a blender. You blend this mixture up (it will be thick like a smoothie) to pulverize the fruits. Then you’ll strain this smoothie mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan and add some other goodies. Cook it low and slow until it has thickened, and pour it into your yummy crust!
While the tart sets in the fridge to firm, you can make your gorgeous sugared cranberries. I mean, these guys are too pretty! You just combine simple syrup and fresh cranberries and toss to coat, then toss the sticky cranberries into some granulated sugar. In garnishing the tart, I also added some pretty strips of lemon rind that I peeled off using a vegetable peeler.
Bright, sweet, tart and tangy, this beautiful Cranberry Lemon Tart will take center stage at your next holiday gathering!
*adapted from Food Network magazine November 2020 issue
Cranberry Lemon Tart
For the Crust:
- 1¼ cups Nilla Wafer crumbs
- 3 Tbsp granulated white sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Cranberry Lemon Filling:
- 3 cups frozen cranberries (about 12 oz) plus 1/2 cup for topping thawed
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 medium lemon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Sugared Cranberries:
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar divided
- First, make your crust: Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the Nilla Wafer crumbs, granulated sugar and melted butter and stir until moistened and combined. Press into a 9-10" fluted tart pan with a removeable bottom in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Next, make your filling: In a blender, combine 3 cups of thawed cranberries, 1½ cups granulated white sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Peel the lemon in wide strips using a vegetable peeler; set all but a few strips aside. Remove any white pith from the lemon, then add the whole lemon flesh (yes, including seeds) and about 3-4 strips of lemon rind to the blender. Blend on high power until smooth, stopping to add in up to 1/4 cup more water if mixture is too thick and isn't blending well.
- Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium saucepan and pour the cranberry mixture into the sieve. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to gently stir the cranberry mixture around, straining it into the saucepan. Discard any leftover seeds and skins. Bring the cranberry mixture in the saucepan to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, whisk the whole eggs, egg yolk, cornstarch and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Add in about 1/2 cup of the hot cranberry mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously to prevent eggs from scrambling. This step is called tempering the eggs so they come to a warmer temperature. Pour the warmed egg mixture into the cranberry mixture in the saucepan and stir constantly until filling begins to boil and thickens like pudding, about 10-15 minutes. It should be pretty thick.
- Pour the cranberry filling into the tart crust and place a piece of clingfilm or plastic wrap onto the surface of the pie. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight (preferable).
- For the sugared cranberries: Bring 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add in the cranberries and remove from heat immediately. Let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl, and toss the sticky cranberries to coat. Just before serving the tart, garnish with the sugared cranberries and remaining strips of lemon zest.
Zesty, tart, tangy and sweet, this Cranberry Lemon Tart is seriously stunning in both looks and flavor!
Have a super sweet day!