A cranberry tart usually consists of a cranberry sauce or fresh berries combined with sugar, other fruits, or a dairy base. The tart can have a buttery crust or a phyllo dough crust. Cooks prepare cranberry tarts using either fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries. As the fruit is very tart and can be bitter, sugar is a necessary ingredient. When making a cranberry tart using fresh berries, the fruit needs to be in peak condition.
Fresh cranberries are available only in the fall and early winter of each year. The fruit is native to North America. During the rest of the year, a cook can replace the fresh berries in a cranberry tart with frozen or dried berries. Dried berries are usually soaked before they are adding to a tart batter. A cook cannot use dried cranberries to make a sauce filling, though.
When selecting fresh berries to use in a cranberry tart, a cook should look for plump, firm berries. If the cranberries are bruised or split open, he should leave the bag on the shelf. The berries should be red or pink in color. A green cranberry isn't ripe.
It is possible to over-cook cranberries when preparing a tart. The berries are ready to be added to the tart's crust when they split open under pressure from the heat. If a cook leaves the cranberries over the heat for too long, they will become too soft and mushy.
Sugar is a necessary ingredient when preparing a cranberry tart. Usually, one part sugar to four parts cranberries should be enough to sufficiently sweeten the berries. Another way to sweeten the berries when making a tart is to combine them with a sweet fruit, such as an apple or pear.
A cook can use a traditional buttery tart dough to make a cranberry tart. She can use a purchased frozen pie dough and roll it out to fit in the pan or prepare the dough on her own. Another option is to use a graham cracker crust to make the tart. For an even healthier option, the cook can substitute the pie dough with sheets of phyllo dough for a thin, flaky crust.
The crust of the tart can be free-form, such as in a galette. A tart pan with a removable bottom can also be used for a dessert with fluted, raised sides. If phyllo dough is used, the cook may wish to shape the tart in a pie dish.