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This vibrant cranberry tart with a gingersnap crust is an absolute stunner

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post; props by Limonata Creative for The Washington Post)
Cranberry Tart With Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Active time:30 mins
Total time:3 hours 30 mins
Servings:8 (makes one 9-inch tart)
Active time:30 mins
Total time:3 hours 30 mins
Servings:8 (makes one 9-inch tart)

Say what you will, but I’m a fan of jellied cranberry sauce from a can. I love the smooth, bouncy texture and sweet-tart flavor it adds to the Thanksgiving plate, and this cranberry tart is an homage to that simple adornment — but turned on its head.

With a lustrous red filling ringed with almost iridescent golden and orange dried fruit, this tart is a showstopping dessert that ends the meal with dramatic flair. Still, similar to my aim with every recipe I share, it’s completely accessible.

To save you from the finickiness of pie crust, the press-in cookie crust is easy to assemble and eliminates the need for a rolling pin. It’s flavored with ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and molasses to evoke a gingersnap cookie. It gets blind baked in a tart pan with a removable bottom (or you can use a pie plate if that’s all you have) and that’s all the oven time required for this dessert.

Choose your Thanksgiving menu: Simple or show-stopping recipes for your holiday meal

The filling is adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that utilizes the heat from the simmered fruit to cook the egg yolk and cornstarch added to help set the mixture. I added orange and ginger for a hint of spice and citrus in the tart cranberry filling, but you can experiment with other flavors if you want to make this recipe your own. Though there is a modest amount of sugar added for sweetness, I must warn you that this tart is still quite, well, tart, which can be a refreshing way to end a filling meal.

Lastly, if you so desire, diced crystallized ginger and candied orange peel — which I think look like tiny jewels — are mixed with crushed gingersnap cookies to form a beautiful crumble to garnish the dessert. Otherwise, a dollop of whipped cream would do for a simpler adornment that can also help sweeten it up a bit, if that’s more your thing when it comes to holiday desserts.

Make Ahead: The crust must be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight before blind baking. The baked crust can be allowed to cool completely and stored loosely covered at room temperature 1 day in advance.

Storage: Leftover tart can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Where to Buy: Candied orange peel can be found in specialty stores and online. Alternatively, you could use more crystallized ginger or another dried fruit, such as cranberry or apricot, in its place, or simply omit it.

NOTES: If you’re not sure your blender is heatproof or you don’t have one, you can use a heatproof food processor or immersion blender instead. To use a heatproof food processor, transfer the cranberry mixture to the bowl of a food processor, add the yolk mixture and process until smooth, about 1 minute. To use an immersion blender, add the yolk mixture to the cranberries in the pan and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Be careful not to splatter the hot cranberry mixture. With either method, let the mixture cool, uncovered, until a skin forms and it registers 120 to 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. After the mixture has cooled, add the butter, as directed, and puree or blend again. If desired, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing the puree through with a rubber spatula, before transferring to the crust.

When blending the hot puree, be careful to not fill the blender pitcher more than halfway. Remove the center ring from the lid and place a kitchen towel over the opening as you blend. This will allow steam to escape and protect you from splatters.

See the rest of the menu: Tarragon-Butter Roasted Spatchcocked (Butterflied) Turkey | Mushroom and Leek Cornbread Dressing | Vegan Braised Collard Greens With Miso and Smoked Paprika

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For the cranberry curd

  • 1 pound (455 grams/4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1/2 cup juice)
  • One (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch fine sea salt or table salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and at room temperature

For the gingersnap cookie crust

  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams/1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed (55 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

For the cookie-fruit crumble (optional)

  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) crumbled gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) diced crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) diced candied orange peel

Step 1

Make the cranberry curd: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice, ginger and salt and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer, cover and cook until all the cranberries have burst and started to shrivel, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

While the cranberries cook, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Transfer the hot cranberry mixture to a heatproof blender (see NOTES). Immediately add the yolk mixture, cover loosely (see NOTES), gradually increase the speed to high and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Let the mixture cool, uncovered, in the blender until a skin forms and it registers 120 to 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Step 3

Make the gingersnap cookie crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown and granulated sugars on medium-low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 4

Increase the mixer speed to medium, add the egg yolk and molasses and mix to combine. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl thoroughly. Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt and mix on low speed until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like crumbly cookie dough, about 1 minute.

Step 5

Turn out the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Step 6

When the crust is ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Dock the crust across the bottom with a fork and blind-bake (without pie weights), until evenly golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before adding the filling.

Step 7

When the cranberry puree has cooled, add the softened butter and blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the puree into the cooled crust and smooth with an offset spatula into an even layer. Let the tart sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Step 8

Make the cookie-fruit crumble: If desired, combine the cookies, crystallized ginger and candied orange peel in a medium bowl and sprinkle all around the edge of the tart. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature.


An earlier version of this recipe called for using a blender to puree the cranberry tart filling. If using a blender, it should be heatproof. You also can use a heatproof food processor or an immersion (stick) blender. See NOTES.

Nutrition Information

Per serving

Calories: 496; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 137 mg; Sodium: 119 mg; Carbohydrates: 79 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 51 g; Protein: 5 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Recipe from Voraciously staff writer Aaron Hutcherson, with a cranberry curd adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to

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