Chocolate Cranberry Curd Tart Recipe

If you're more team pie than team cake, have we got the special occasion dessert for you. This luscious chocolate cranberry curd tart from Jessica Morone, the recipe developer behind Jess Loves Cooking, is the perfect centerpiece for a holiday dessert buffet. No one will be able to resist its gemstone hue! "I was inspired to make this tart by the beautiful color of the cranberry curd," explains Morone. "It really stands out, and combined with a chocolate crust and chocolate mousse, it's really a lovely and delicious dessert."

While the curd itself makes a beautiful topping all on its own, Morone has a few ideas for how to make this tart extra special and particularly showstopping: "Sugared cranberries are really simple and very pretty," she says. "For a 12-ounce bag of cranberries, you need two cups of sugar. You combine half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved, then stir in the cranberries. Transfer the cranberries to a wire rack, then let them dry for an hour. Then roll them in the remaining cup and a half of sugar."

The beautiful resulting cranberries can be used to garnish this and other tarts, cakes, and pies during the holidays.

Gather the ingredients for the crust for the chocolate cranberry curd tart

To make this chocolate cranberry curd tart, you'll begin with the chocolate-scented tart base. To make it, you'll need all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Into this mix of dry ingredients, you'll work in both vanilla and butter.

It's usually best when baking to opt for unsalted butter — not because baked goods don't need salt (a little bit sets off the sweetness nicely!) but because this allows you to add salt to taste rather than relying on the whims of the manufacturer.

Make the chocolate crust for the chocolate cranberry curd tart

To begin making this chocolate cranberry curd tart, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the dry ingredients for the crust in a bowl: the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and three tablespoons of cocoa powder (reserving the rest for the mousse). Whisk together until combined.

Next, melt half a cup of the butter (reserving the rest for the curd), and add it, along with the vanilla extract, to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix — this could cause the formation of too much gluten, which would make your tart base tough.

Next, press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, ensuring it's even all along the bottom and sides. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Since a chocolate tart base won't turn golden-brown in the oven, keep an eye, not on the color, but on the texture: When it goes from glossy to matte, it's done. Allow the crust to cool completely before removing it from the tart pan.

Gather the ingredients for the mousse filling for this chocolate cranberry curd tart

Next, it's time to make the mousse filling for the chocolate cranberry curd tart. For this creamy layer, you'll need the remaining cocoa powder, heavy cream, and Morone's secret ingredient: instant chocolate pudding mix.

"I always try to make things easier when I can," explains Morone. "Regular chocolate mousse is more complicated and takes hours to set in the fridge. With the pudding mix base, it's ready right away, and it requires only a couple of ingredients."

Make the chocolate mousse filling for the chocolate cranberry curd tart

To make the chocolate mousse filling for the chocolate cranberry curd tart, simply combine the instant pudding mix and the remaining cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the heavy cream, and mix with an electric beater on medium speed for one minute, or until the mousse is thick and airy. At this point, just chill the mousse until ready to use.

Chocolate mousse, like pudding, can have a tendency to form a skin in the fridge, so if you're making this layer a few hours in advance, take special care to cover it with plastic in contact with the surface of the mousse.

Make the cranberry curd for your chocolate cranberry curd tart

The last layer of this chocolate cranberry curd tart is the cranberry curd! To make it, you'll need cranberries — fresh or frozen both work — as well as water, lemon juice, egg yolks, a whole egg, sugar, and the remaining butter. To make the curd, first combine the cranberries, water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until the cranberries pop — as you would when making a cranberry sauce. At this point, transfer the cranberry mixture into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any skins or seeds, then transfer the mixture back into the (rinsed!) saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and egg together, and slowly add the sugar, whisking all the while. Drizzle the egg mixture into the cranberry mixture, mixing constantly. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick. (This will take about 10 minutes.) "You want the curd to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon," explains Morone. "If it's too thin, keep heating it. It will also thicken as it cools."

When the curd is nice and thick, simply remove it from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Then strain it for a second time, and chill until completely cooled.

Assemble the chocolate cranberry curd tart

When all of the elements for the chocolate cranberry curd tart are made and cooled, it's time to assemble! First, spread the chocolate mousse evenly into the chocolate base. Next, gently spread the cranberry curd on top of the mousse, making sure the top layer is nice and even. Chill the tart about an hour, until set, and then it's ready to serve!

"This tart is beautiful all on its own, but there are always garnishes you can add," says Morone. "I think whipped cream alone makes it really pretty, but you could also do fresh fruit or even edible flowers if you want."

While the elements of this tart can be made a bit in advance, Morone recommends serving the tart the same day it's made. That said, "because this tart has curd and mousse in it rather than fresh fruit, the leftovers keep really well in the fridge for at least a couple of days."

Chocolate Cranberry Curd Tart Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
This luscious chocolate cranberry curd tart is the perfect centerpiece for a holiday dessert buffet.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
40
minutes
Servings
8
servings
chocolate cranberry curd tart
Total time: 70 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (3.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¾ cup sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder to a medium bowl. Whisk together.
  2. Melt ½ cup butter, and pour the butter and the vanilla extract into the dry ingredients. Mix together until incorporated.
  3. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  4. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The crust will have gone from shiny to more of a matte brown color. Let crust cool completely, then remove crust from tart pan and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the mousse, combine the instant pudding mix and the remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder together in a bowl. Add the heavy cream, and mix with an electric mixer on medium for 1 minute, until the mousse gets thick. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, water, and lemon juice. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes, until the cranberries pop.
  7. Pour the cranberry mixture into a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Strain the cranberry mixture through a fine sieve and then pour the cranberry mixture back into the saucepan.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the whole egg. Slowly pour the sugar into the bowl with the eggs, while continuing to whisk everything together. Pour the egg mixture into the cranberry mixture, whisking everything together in the saucepan until well-mixed. Heat the mixture on medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, approximately 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  9. Strain the mixture for a second time, cover, and refrigerate until the curd has cooled completely.
  10. Spread the chocolate mousse evenly into the tart crust, then gently spread the cranberry curd evenly on top of the mousse. Refrigerate until the tart has set, about an hour, then serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 587
Total Fat 39.2 g
Saturated Fat 23.9 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 194.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Total Sugars 36.7 g
Sodium 354.9 mg
Protein 5.6 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.
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