Chocolate Cranberry Curd had become an absolute favorite for the holidays at the bakery. Besides its vibrant color, the taste and texture are outstanding. We used it in tarts, cakes and petit fours. Room permitting, we would freeze cases of cranberries at the end of the season in order to get a head start the following season and test new recipes during the year.
I love cranberries so much that the staff would have to make me take some of the cranberry desserts off the menu so we could put other seasonal items on. There is nothing like the sweet tart taste and the intense red color enclosed in a deep chocolate brown glaze.
The tart itself is easy to make with its press in crust which means no rolling. The cranberry curd itself has one extra step as you have to cook the cranberries and puree them before actually making the curd. The glaze is a simple matter two ingredients which make the perfect finish.
Pick over the cranberries for the odd ones that need to be discarded. To prevent them from rolling all over your kitchen (like they did in ours before we figured this out), place them in a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet where they will be in one layer. You can see all of them and shaking the pan will turn them over to make sure no bad ones are hiding. It saves a lot of time chasing them around the floor. They have a way of going directly under the most difficult area to reach. Cranberries have so much natural pectin, the curd sets up very firmly without the addition of gelatin.
We used the chocolate press in crust for myriad recipes. Its ease of preparation made it a favorite. The processor makes it even easier to put together.
The beauty of this Chocolate Cranberry Tart is it can be made ahead weeks ahead and frozen. Defrost it in the refrigerator. It can sit at room temperature for hours and should be served barely cool or at room temperature for the best flavor profile.
Chocolate Press in Shell 1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of an 11”x1” quiche pan with removable sides in the center only. Set aside.
Combine flours and cocoa in bowl of mixer. Mix briefly to combine. Add butter and cut in until very fine. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix to combine. Add egg and egg yolk; mix until it balls up and rides the blade.
Remove from the processor and divide in half. Diivide one half into 2 pieces. Roll one piece into a rope and press it in evenly along one side of the pan. Repeat with the second half of dough. Overlap the seams and seal well so no seam shows. Press the remainder of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Seal the edges very well so no line shows.
Prick the shell before baking.Bake approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until completely baked. Cool completely.
Note: This can be made in a food processor or a mixer. The instructions are the same but the food processor will be a lot faster.
Cranberry Curd 12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries picked over
1 cup sugar (7 ounces or 200 grams)
2 tablespoons water
5 egg yolks (3 ounces or 85 grams)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces (4 ounces or 114 grams)
Place the cranberries in a rimmed baking sheet and pick over. Shake the tray to move the berries around.Place the cranberries in a saucepan with sugar and water over low heat until the cranberries are very soft and some of them have popped. Stir frequently as this will be very thick and can scorch.
Immediately, puree them in a food processor (by batches if necessary). Puree for several minutes to get the skins as fine as possible. There will be tiny specs of red which is as it should be. If you prefer to remove the skins, strain the puree before proceeding. Add the yolks and lemon juice to the processor and process briefly. Place the cranberry mixture in the top of a double boiler and add the butter. Bring the water underneath to a boil. Stir the curd constantly until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees.
Immediately pour into the cooled crust. Smooth the top. Cover directly with film and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
Yield: 2 ¼ cups
Chocolate Cream Glaze ⅔ cup heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (140 grams)
Bring the cream to a simmer. Submerge the chocolate. Allow to sit for 4 to 5 minutes then whisk gently to smooth the chocolate completely.Remove the film from on top of the cranberry curd. Pour the glaze in the center and move it out to the edge of the curd with an offset spatula.
Refrigerate if using within a day or two. Freeze for up to a month for longer storage.
To remove the tart from the shell, place the tart on a wide can. Slide the side down.
Place the tart on a solid surface. Insert a metal spatula between the bottom of the crust and the bottom of the pan. Go around the bottom to release it and and move the tart to a serving tray or cardboard round with two spatulas, one placed on each side.