Winter White Chocolate Cranberry Tart Recipe

While some days you just want a quick treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, on others it can be truly satisfying to go all out on crafting a dessert that's as beautiful as it is delicious. Recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse shares the recipe for this white chocolate cranberry tart, which is the perfect crowd-pleaser for the winter months. Despite the elegance of its appearance, this tart is deceptively simple to make, whether for a holiday party or as a way to bring some festive cheer to a particularly dark, cold day. "This is a classic ganache tart that comes together quickly and easily," says Rosenhouse. "Using a quick-cooked cranberry jam with bits of juicy cranberries studded throughout means the tart fruit remains at the forefront, balanced by the silky white chocolate filling."

This tart involves a few steps, but nothing about this recipe is terribly difficult — yes, even those eye-catching, sugar-dusted cranberry garnishes. If you're making this to share while entertaining friends and loved ones Rosenhouse recommends serving it with a glass of sparkling white wine for dessert. "It would also pair nicely with a dollop of crème fraiche whipped cream." Here's how to put it all together.

Gather your ingredients for winter white chocolate cranberry tart

This tart recipe has multiple components: the crust, the jam, the ganache, and the toppings. For the crust, you'll need just two things: gingersnap cookies and unsalted butter. The jam calls for cranberries, ground cinnamon and ginger, orange zest, lemon juice, light brown sugar, and either water or bourbon. White chocolate (chips or chunks), salt, heavy cream, softened butter, nutmeg, and vanilla paste or extract make up the ganache.

"Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used for the cranberry jam," Rosenhouse notes. "You can substitute with canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, just adjust the additional flavorings as needed if the sauce is heavily sweetened." If you don't want to use alcohol, you can skip the bourbon. "Bourbon lends great flavor to the tart that pairs well with the white chocolate and gingersnap crust. But if you don't love the flavor of bourbon, or are serving the whole family, water does the trick for adjusting the consistency of the cranberry sauce," she adds. And finally, for the elegant, picturesque garnish, you'll need more cranberries and sugar, and if you want to add some extra flair, get some edible gold leaf, pieces of ginger cookie, rosemary sprigs, and candied orange peel.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Prep your pans

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Step 3: Begin the crust

Grind gingersnaps to fine crumbs in a food processor.

Step 4: Add butter to the cookie crumbs

Add 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse to combine.

Step 5: Add crust mixture to tart pan

Use a small measuring cup to press gingersnap mixture evenly into a 9-inch fluted tart pan set over a prepared baking sheet.

Step 6: Bake the crust

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until firm. Set aside to cool slightly.

Step 7: Make the cranberry jam

In a small pot, heat cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice, and water or bourbon over medium heat until cranberries break down, stirring often, 4-6 minutes. Optional: blend until smooth.

Step 8: Spread the jam on the crust

Spread the jam evenly into the prepared tart crust.

Step 9: Simmer the ganache ingredients

In a small pot, bring cream, 4 tablespoons of butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt to a simmer.

Step 10: Melt the chocolate

Add the white chocolate and let sit 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 11: Whisk until smooth

Whisk until smooth.

Step 12: Add ganache to the tart

Gently spoon the white chocolate ganache over the cranberry jam.

Step 13: Put it in the fridge

Chill until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Step 14: Simmer the sugar syrup

In a small pot, bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a simmer.

Step 15: Toss in some cranberries

Remove from the heat; add the cranberries and let sit 10 minutes.

Step 16: Let your sugared cranberries set

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the remaining prepared baking sheet. Let sit 10 minutes.

Step 17: Dust the berries with sugar

Sprinkle the cranberries with the remaining ¼ cup sugar, and shake the baking sheet back and forth to coat them.

Step 18: Garnish and serve your cranberry white chocolate tart

Decorate the tart with sugared cranberries and other garnishes as desired before serving.

Should I use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract in this tart recipe?

You've got a bit of flexibility with the ingredients you use for this festive white chocolate cranberry tart, especially when it comes to the vanilla flavor used in the white chocolate ganache — both vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste will work. "I love using vanilla bean paste — it has great flavor, and also lends little specks of vanilla bean to recipes," Rosenhouse says. "It's a thickened, sweetened blend of vanilla extract and vanilla bean, meaning it's more intense than vanilla extract alone. But either can be used for this tart."

Indeed, the choice is yours. If you're on a budget, you may want to stick with extract, as vanilla bean paste can be on the costlier side. If you do use extract, be sure to use pure vanilla extract, as the imitation version is less flavorful and can even add an unpleasant aftertaste. But if you want the vanilla flavor to truly shine in your tart, vanilla bean paste may be worth the price. Because the vanilla is not baked into the tart as it would be in a cookie or cake recipe but rather added to the melted chocolate, this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the boost in flavor and appearance that vanilla bean paste contributes to the tart.

Can you make this tart recipe ahead of time?

This isn't one of those recipes you can throw quickly together on a whim; though none of the steps is particularly difficult, it does take time to create each component of the tart, not to mention the time spent waiting for the layers to set or chill. However, there are ways to spread the process out to make the recipe more convenient for busy cooks. "If you want to get ahead of the prep for this tart, the gingersnap crust can be made and baked up to two days ahead," Rosenhouse notes. "Store well-wrapped in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. The sugared cranberries can be made up to one day ahead, and stored in an airtight container at room temperature."

If you're planning on making this tart ahead of time, you should know it doesn't have a particularly long shelf life. Per Rosenhouse, "Store the leftover tart well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days." Fortunately, she notes that you can "freeze the tart for longer storage (up to two months), ideally in slices for quick thawing."

Winter White Chocolate Cranberry Tart Recipe
4.9 from 24 ratings
Despite its elegant appearance, white chocolate ganache tart with zesty cranberry jam and gingersnap crust is a tasty winter dessert that comes together easily.
Prep Time
2.67
hours
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
8
servings
slice of white chocolate cranberry tart
Total time: 2 hours, 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the crust
  • 6 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • For the cranberry jam
  • 2 cups whole cranberries
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water or bourbon
  • For the white chocolate ganache
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) white chocolate chips or broken chocolate bar
  • For the sugared cranberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
Optional Ingredients
  • Halved gingersnaps
  • Candied orange peel
  • Rosemary
  • Gold leaf
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. Grind gingersnaps to fine crumbs in a food processor.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse to combine.
  5. Use a small measuring cup to press gingersnap mixture evenly into a 9-inch fluted tart pan set over a prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until firm. Set aside to cool slightly.
  7. In a small pot, heat cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice, and water or bourbon over medium heat until cranberries break down, stirring often, 4-6 minutes. Optional: blend until smooth.
  8. Spread the jam evenly into the prepared tart crust.
  9. In a small pot, bring cream, 4 tablespoons of butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt to a simmer.
  10. Add the white chocolate and let sit 1 to 2 minutes.
  11. Whisk until smooth.
  12. Gently spoon the white chocolate ganache over the cranberry jam.
  13. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  14. In a small pot, bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a simmer.
  15. Remove from the heat; add the cranberries and let sit 10 minutes.
  16. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the remaining prepared baking sheet. Let sit 10 minutes.
  17. Sprinkle the cranberries with the remaining ¼ cup sugar, and shake the baking sheet back and forth to coat them.
  18. Decorate the tart with sugared cranberries and other garnishes as desired before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 610
Total Fat 33.6 g
Saturated Fat 20.0 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 52.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 82.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 62.5 g
Sodium 310.0 mg
Protein 4.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe