Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, where she shares seasonal, (mostly) healthy recipes. She works as a freelance writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She also contributes to several blogs including Design Mom. Her other loves are traveling, gardening, and participating in the local food scene where she lives in Utah. Lindsey and her husband are the parents of three budding foodies. Follow Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Years ago when I bought my first tart pan (of many), I had no idea how much I would end up loving tarts. I love looking at them. I love eating them. I love making them. For me pie is sort of a once or twice a year kind of thing. But tarts? They’re perfect on a weekly basis. And even though I never thought it was possible, they’ve just edged out ice cream as my favorite sweet treat to make, especially when the holidays roll around.
Sometimes I think it’s because I love tart crust so much. It’s more crispy and buttery like a cookie. Other times I think it’s because the filling to crust ratio is more to my liking. And then there are the endless filling options. When I saw the recipe for Cranberry Tarts on BHG.com, I was instantly smitten. Another great love of mine is cranberries. Oh how I live for cranberry season! I’m the crazy lady buying two or three bags every time I grocery stop so I can fill up my freezer. And while I’m at it, let me just say that I’m glad to see cranberries getting some of the spotlight. They were always destined for better things than canned jellies and sauces, though they have their place too, I suppose.
This recipe called to me! I put my own little twist on it, like I love to do. They weren’t big changes, but simple ones that made it my own. Instead of smaller tarts, I made one large tart. I love nut crusts, so I added some ground pecans. I also used all butter. I used gluten-free flour in place of wheat flour.
The filling itself turns out almost jam-like. It’s sweet and tangy, and perfect on its own, but I wondered how a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and a dash of vanilla extract would taste. It just pushed in a slightly different direction that I really loved. Not so much you would say, “Oh, it’s spiced!” But enough for you to wonder what that extra special something was. I just love chocolate and cranberry together – the tartness of the cranberries and the bitterness from the chocolate are magical. I decided to drizzle the cooled tart with both white and add dark chocolate shavings. By the end, I had one fantastic, festive tart on my hands!
Let me show you how easy it is to make this gorgeous, holiday cranberry tart.
Mix the dry ingredients for the crust together.
Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter. You can also use two butter knives, or your hands. The goal is to work quickly so everything stays cold.
Then add ice cold water – not too much at once. And only enough for it to hold together. The dough will come together into a ball.
Then quickly press it into the tart pan and let it chill while the filling is prepared. (The original recipe directs to roll the dough, but I find that to be a little challenging with the crust is gluten-free. Pressing it works just fine here.)
To make this tart 100% gluten-free, I used gluten-free all-purpose flour in the crust and I substituted cornstarch for the flour in the filling.
The warm filling is poured into the tart shell and baked. The smell as it’s baking is absolutely divine!
Let it cool and drizzle with melted white chocolate and dark chocolate shavings. I used about 2 ounces of white chocolate melted with 1 teaspoon of butter. I couldn’t wait to share this with my family! We all agreed it was a fine tart and would be added to our list of holiday recipes.
Get the Cranberry Tarts recipe here.