Have you ever cooked or baked something that made you ask yourself: “Where has this been all my life, and why am I just now discovering it?”
It’s a really great feeling.
I experienced it when I made today’s recipe.
Seriously, one of the best cooking decisions I ever made was begin making my own cranberry sauce from scratch. I don’t know how people can eat the canned gelatine stuff. Real cranberry sauce not only has better texture, making it from scratch allows you to give it so much more and better flavor. Canned cranberry sauce just tastes like jellied Ocean Spray. Which…is pretty much all it is.
I say all of that because a significant part of what makes today’s recipe so delicious is the cranberry sauce filling, and I don’t want people who aren’t used to making it to be scared off by it as an ingredient. It’s worth it, y’all. It really is. Should you accept the challenge, and you want to ensure you’re making a tart that tasted just like ours did, or you just need an easy and delicious recipe for cranberry sauce, there’s one here, and here on the blog for your convenience, though I always just make the Cranberry Clementine sauce as a rule now; it’s that delicious, trust me.
Would you believe it’s a cinch to make? Yes, even though it’s a tart. And once your cranberry sauce is made, the whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes. The base is a brown sugar shortbread that bakes up super light and crisp. This isn’t the Great British Bakeoff, so you don’t have to be too concerned about overworking your dough. 3/4 of it gets pressed into the pan, then the rest of it gets dropped on top of the cranberry sauce in chunks that form little pockets of cookie, rather than dropping it on in one large sheet.
Be prepared, y’all: they smells that are going to be coming out of your kitchen while this thing is baking are going to be enough to make you start salivating for it before it’s even done. I wish there was a Bath and Bodyworks candle for this scent; it would sell out, I guarantee you of that.
As I said earlier, from the very first bite of this that I took, I was asking myself how I went so long without discovering this thing. It’s so delicious, y’all. The crust is warm, buttery and crisp and its sweetness gets balanced PERFECTLY with the tartness of the cranberries. Because the filling is both cranberry sauce and fresh cranberries, there’s an textural element to it that has a nice balance of being both smooth, and somewhat chunky.
We loved this SO much, it was gone in a single weekend. So I did what any of us would do; I made another one. I’ll be having a very generous slice of it for my dessert tonight. Don’t be jealous; just make one for yourself.
Be sure to keep following along for more recipes for the 12 Days of Christmas!
Day 4: Cranberry Cookie Tart
Cranberry Cookie Tart
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of cranberry sauce or good quality cranberry preserves (if you need a cranberry sauce recipe, this is the one I always use. This one will work too.)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cranberries Note: if using frozen cranberries, defrost before using and strain the juices.
Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Grease a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan* and place this on a baking tray.
Using a food processor or mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and brown sugar vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. It’s an important step to beat the butter and sugar well together when making shortbread as this ensures the shortbread is light, crisp and will hold together.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until blended (forming large clumps). Turn onto a floured surface and using floured hands, press two-thirds of the mixture evenly into the prepared pan (including the sides).
Spread with the cranberry sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border and then scatter with the cranberries.
Crumble the remaining dough into large crumbs and scatter evenly over the filling, covering most of the surface.Bake the tart for 40 – 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
Leave to cool completely in the pan.
*If you do not have a tart pan, I do think that this would also work in a 9-inch roudn cake pan, you just won’t be able to lift the whole tart out of it. It’ll still taste great though.