Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield
12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Making perfect pastry depends mostly on how well you coat flour proteins with fat—more difficult in a low-fat recipe. You want to leave small clumps of fat in the dough (here, from vegetable shortening) so they'll melt during cooking and give off steam, creating luscious layers. Meanwhile, we melted the butter so it would coat more than it would in solid form.

How to Make It

Step 1

Weigh flour. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine 1/4 cup boiling water and melted butter in a bowl. Pour butter mixture into center of well. Gently draw flour mixture into butter mixture until moist clumps form. Press dough into a 4-inch circle; cover. Chill for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step 3

Unwrap dough; place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch round tart pan coated with cooking spray. Remove plastic wrap. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pan; fold excess crust back in and press. Pierce bottom and sides of dough lightly with a fork; freeze 10 minutes. Line bottom of dough with foil; arrange pie weights on foil. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Step 4

Combine cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup hot cranberry mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to pan. Cook until a thermometer registers 160°, stirring constantly.

Step 5

Place a food mill or fine sieve over a large bowl. Pour cranberry mixture into food mill, and press through. Discard solids. Add 2 tablespoons butter; stir. Spoon into baked crust. Cover and chill.

Step 6

Preheat broiler.

Step 7

Place egg whites and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 238°. Gradually pour hot sugar syrup into egg white mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over cranberry curd.

Step 8

Broil meringue for 30 seconds or until lightly browned.

Ratings & Reviews

jmeleeS's Review

itsjustluc
April 29, 2011
I absolutely adore this dessert around Christmas time when fresh cranberries can be found in almost all the grocery stores! I never bother with making my own crust (WAY too much time when Pilsbury sells a great one pre-made!) and so this recipe is actually put together fairly quickly. I did change it slightly by only using half fresh cranberries and then supplementing with 1/2 frozen raspberries to help cut the tartness of a cranberry-only dessert. Be sure it eat it up the day you make it or the next as the juices will tend to make the crust soggy. Otherwise, this is an excellent dessert. Fair warning - does not travel well due to the meringue (can slide off the tart and the meringue can fall quickly) so either make it when you are entertaining at home or be prepared to make the meringue when you arrive at your destination; either way, top with meringue right before you serve.

sprky182's Review

msollid
April 19, 2011
Used a store-bought crust but otherwise followed the recipe. This was a hit at an after Christmas party and everyone appreciated a "light" tasting dessert after all the overeating! I thought the cranberries tasted slightly metallic when I tasted them after straining, but I believe that was because of the pan I used. Nobody else seemed to notice and everyone loved it and asked for seconds.

jazzwood's Review

Bbrun47
December 28, 2010
Made for Christmas Day using store bought pie dough. Interesting and well received but not a solid hit. For Christmas I found that people wanted more a traditional dessert.

itsjustluc's Review

sprky182
December 28, 2010
Just finished making this and eating a slice and I'm a big fan. I can't speak to the crust as we used a store-bought, but the curd and meringue where both easy to make and tasty. I do think the curd could be a little more tart and maybe slightly less meringue to even up the curd/meringue ratio.

TracyRose's Review

jmeleeS
December 27, 2010
This dessert was awesome! I made it in parts (I cheated and used a pre-made pie crust) since I didn't want to make the whole thing on Christmas day. I had neither a fine-mesh sieve nor a food mill, but ended up finding a really nice food mill on CraigsList for $5, woohoo! I cut out 1/4 of the sugar because I like things slightly more tart, and the meringue had plenty of sweetness to it anyway. I also doubled the cranberry curd filling and made this in a pie dish instead of a tart pan. It turned out so pretty we hardly wanted to eat it, but the whole thing was scarfed up almost immediately!

dcdori's Review

FrannyFran
December 13, 2010
Very impressive looking and tasty. However, serve immediately because the meringue prepared this way gets watery quickly. It is not good left over. In the future, I may just make the filling to use like lemon curd, it's actually more delicious on its own!

msollid's Review

dcdori
December 12, 2010
I made this tart this weekend and was so pleased! I'd never heard of cranberry curd before, and while it was a bit of a chore to make (mainly the muscle it took to get the curd through a strainer), the results were stunning! I've never seen a prettier dessert - was a fabulous bright red/magenta color. The tart was big hit with my guests and perfect for the holidays.

jqlauren's Review

jqlauren
November 23, 2010
The metallic taste could have come from the pan you used. Like tomatoes, cranberries are highly acidic, and react with aluminum -- I am attempting to make today, and will let you know!! :)

FrannyFran's Review

jazzwood
November 23, 2010
So far I have only made the filling but I just wanted to say that it turned out great - my husband and little boy gobbled up all the solid part left after pushing it through the mesh strainer. It's tart but not too tart, and a beautiful color.

Bbrun47's Review

TracyRose
November 20, 2010
It was probably something I didn't do correctly but the cranberry curd had a slight metallic taste. Any suggestions would be appreciated.