This Mini Chocolate Cranberry Tarts recipe is an easy-to-make yet festive dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas Time. And these mini chocolate tarts are made even more stunning when topped with sugared cranberries.
I don’t want to cause any hard feelings, but can we all agree that some desserts are just more festive than others?
I mean, no one loves an oatmeal raisin cookie more than I do; but if I want to bring a festive dessert, I’ll probably leave the oatmeal raisin cookies at home. Oatmeal raisins just say, “Let’s get our flannel PJs on and stay home and watch Hallmark movies in front of the fire.” And 9.7 nights out of 10, I am firmly on team Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.
Believe me, I LOVE traditional holiday and Thanksgiving desserts and every Christmas cookie recipe imaginable. But every once in a while, you need a little festive action on your holiday table and these little Chocolate Cranberry Curd Tarts…now these little sweeties say ‘festive’ to me. It’s adding extra pizzazz into your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert menu!
This mini tart recipe says, “I am here to celebrate whatever you are celebrating! I have my sparkly jewelry on and my dancing shoes, and I’m ready for fun and Holiday Season festivities!” and “You will be so surprised how easy I am to make” and “You’ll also be pleased to know that most of my parts can be made ahead of time and assembled at the last minute!”
Well, it would say all that, but you will most likely have popped it in your mouth right after “I am here to celebr…..”
So yes! Not only are these Chocolate Cranberry Tarts festive with the chocolate crust, cranberry filling, and sugared cranberries, but they also ARE easy to make. And you can make several of the parts ahead of time and assemble them at the last minute.
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I made the chocolate tart crust recipe ahead of time, used my tart pan to make the mini tarts and then stored them for a good 5 days. Dried beans make great pie weights so that the dough didn’t puff up.
I also made the Cranberry Curd several days ago and stored it in the refrigerator. On a related note, is there any other word in the English language that we can substitute for ‘curd’? I mean, for something so tasty, it should have a much better name…something like…”sublime cranberry custard’…just saying. I actually considered calling this custard instead of curd, but upon further research realized that custard is less fruity than a curd…so this really is a curd…sadly. All that said, I much prefer Chocolate Tart with Cranberry Filling than….you know what.
I assembled these delightfully festive holiday desserts by dolloping a bit of curd in the mini chocolate tart shells, baking the tarts for 10-15 minutes and then topping them with stabilized whipped cream once the Chocolate tarts were cool. I used my 1A large piping tip for the whipped cream dollop. And as much as I dislike ‘curd’, I do enjoy ‘dollop’!
The stabilized whipped cream can easily be made earlier in the day or the day before and stored in the fridge.
And then…I topped them with the sugared cranberries.
Oh my! Now, these are tasty little treats.
While I made the sugared cranberries to garnish these tarts, I found myself snacking on them just as is. They are the original ‘sweet tart’. Can you say, “Thanksgiving sweet treat!” Prepare these easy-to-make sweeties earlier in the day and store them at room temperature.
Chocolate Tart with Cranberry Filling and Sugared Cranberries
Chocolate Tart Crust Dough
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- pinch salt
- 1 cup cold butter 2 sticks, cut into small pieces
- 2 egg beaten
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice or orange juice
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup cranberries or as many cranberries as you have tarts
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar or put your granulated sugar in your food processor a let it whirl for a minute or two.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 4 tsp water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Tart Crust
- Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
- Add the butter to the flour mixture all at once and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with just a few larger pieces
- Add egg and pulse until dough holds together when pinched
- Divide dough into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F'
- Once fully chilled, take one disc out of the refrigerator and let sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Very lightly flour counter or a silicone mat and roll dough out to slightly less than 1/4". I use my pastry mat on the bottom and my silicone mat on the top and bottom, eliminating the need for too much flour.
- Cut out and press dough into a mini tart pan and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Gather scraps together and re-chill for 20 minutes to repeat the process.
- Add baking beans, rice or pie weights to each tart and bake at 350'F for 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool on wire rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container until ready to be filled.
- Put cranberries and water in a medium-sized saucepot over medium-high heat and stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the cranberries have popped and become mushy about 5 minutes.
- Pour the cranberry mixture into a food mill or fine-mesh sieve set over a medium-sized mixing bowl and press the cranberry puree through using a spatula. Discard the skins.
- Allow the puree to cool to room temperature.
- Add the sugar, eggs and yolks, orange juice/lemon juice and salt to the puree and stir thoroughly until the mixture is even.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and set the burner to medium. Stir the curd continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom and side of the pan. Cook until the curd starts to thicken, coats the back of a spoon, and registers about 150°, give or take, on an instant-read thermometer. This should take 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter all at once. Stir until the butter has completely melted.
- Store in a medium bowl, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the bowl, and press wrap against the curd
- The curd can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
- Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add cranberries and swirl the pan for 1 minute over the heat. Don't increase heat or your cranberries will pop.
- Remove from heat and using a slotted spoon place your cranberries over a rack over a cookie sheet. Let sit for 1 hour
- If you are using regular granulated sugar, then run your sugar through your food processor for a minute or two to make it superfine-ish.
- Gently toss the cranberries in the sugar and let sit to dry for another hour.
- These cranberries will only keep for a day before they start oozing their juices, so make them right before you will be serving them.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Place cold water in a small microwaveable bowl, sprinkle gelatin over it and let it sit for 5 minutes while you continue with the next step
- Add heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment
- Once the gelatin is set, place the gelatin bowl in microwave and heat until gelatin turns to liquid, about 7-10 seconds.
- Turn on mixer and let it run for about 1 minute on medium. Turn the mixer on high and very slowly pour in the melted gelatin in a thin but steady stream.
- Continue beating cream until you reach medium-stiff peaks. Use a piping bag or spread whipped cream as desired.
- Tart shells and curds can be made days ahead, but tarts should be assembled shortly before serving.
- Preheat oven to 350'
- Place tart shells on a baking sheet and put small dollops of curd into each tart shell
- Bake for 10-15 minutes
- Let cool over rack until fully cooled.
- Pipe or dollop a wee bit of whipped cream
- Place a sugared cranberry and a mint leaf on each tart.
We’re busy planning our holiday desserts and pulling out our Christmas cookie recipes. I’ll be making more of these Cranberry Chocolate Tarts for my upcoming gathering this week. If you’re looking for a festive holiday dessert to brighten your table, this mini Chocolate Tart recipe may be just the thing! Oh yes, and the cranberry thing….these tarts would be gorgeous creations for your Thanksgiving dessert menu as well!
And if you are looking for more festive Cranberry recipes, look no further. These Spiced, Pickled Cranberries became an instant family favorite and are so very versatile. From cocktail garnishes to an ingredient on your charcuterie board to an accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey, they do it all! And for a sweeter alternative, this Winter Cranberry Conserve is a spoonful of all the flavors that we love during the winter and holidays.
If you think you’d like to save this Cranberry Curd Tart Recipe for a future baking day, then bookmark this page or pin the following image for your future reference.
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