I set out to make a Vegan Cranberry Tart that is simple, requires just a bare minimum of ingredients, and tastes absolutely fantastic. The recipe I have for you today checks all those boxes, and more.
Jay and Desi love cranberries in any flavor or form, so while they are available for a few happy weeks around Thanksgiving, I end up packing them into as many recipes as possible. In a tart like this one, they remind me why we love them so much. Their impossible, lip-puckering sourness makes this a rather tart tart, but it is a pleasant tartness that you’ll want to savor over and over again. I, honestly, couldn’t stop after one slice.
There are just four ingredients in the filling; cranberries, sugar, ginger, and cornstarch, which works as a thickener to soak up all those cranberry juices. I used two kinds of sugar– maple syrup and regular, unrefined cane sugar, but you can just go with regular sugar or all maple syrup. I like the mellow sweetness of maple with the tart cranberries.
Tarts are pretty enough and elegant enough as they are when baked in fluted tart pans, but because this easy recipe left me with more time on my hands than I’d bargained for, I made a rather easy yet special decorative top crust. It’s not going to make any difference to how your tart tastes, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if you have a little one around. All I did was cut out little heart shapes in my top crust with a cookie cutter, and then paste those little hearts to the edges of the tart with water. Jay was so taken with the beautiful tart, he wanted to eat all of it.
You might want to, too, but luckily you’ll have all those guests around fighting for a slice.
- Make the dough for the crust: You can do this by hand or in a food processor.
- If working with a food processor, place the flour, butter, and salt in the food processor.
- Pulse a couple of times, then continue to pulse, drizzling in very cold water while the motor running, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Do not overmoisten. The dough should just come together so you can shape it into a disc.
- If working by hand, place the flour, salt, and butter in a bowl.
- Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or a pastry cutter.
- Drizzle the cold water in slowly, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap each portion tightly in cling wrap, shaping into discs with your palms as you go.
- Refrigerate until you make your filling.
- Make the filling:In a saucepan, place the maple syrup and sugar. When everything has melted, add the cranberries and ginger and mix well. Turn off the heat. Set aside while you assemble the tart.
- Assemble the tart:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out one of the discs of dough into a circle that will fit into the base and the sides of an 8-inch tart pan (you can also use an 8-inch pie plate). Flour the surface and rolling pin before rolling.
- Fold the dough into half and transfer to the tart pan. Unfold it and fit it into the pan, pressing into the sides and the bottom to make sure it cover the pan uniformly. Use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the fluted pan and remove any overhanging bits of dough.
- Place the tart pan in the refrigerator while you make the bottom crust.
- To make the bottom crust, roll out the second disc of dough. Measure the diameter of the top of the tart pan and, leaving a 1-inch border, cut out little shapes into the dough using a cookie cutter. I used a heart, but stars of little circles cut with the cap of a bottle, would look beautiful too.
- Mix the cornstarch thoroughly into the cranberry filling.
- Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator and pour the cranberry filling into it.
- Carefully, place the top crust over the filling. Use a knife or your fingers to press over the edges and remove any overhanging bits of dough so you have a neat edge.
- With a drop of water dabbed to the bottom, paste the little hearts or whatever shapes you cut out of the dough along the rim of the tart pan, pressing in slightly to ensure they stick.
- I like to brush on a mixture of 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp nondairy milk on the top crust to get an extra-golden and shiny glaze on the tart. You can skip this step, but your tart won't look as golden.
- Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, until the top crust is golden and the cranberry juices are bubbling.
- Remove the tart and let it cool 10 minutes. If using a pie plate, you can let the pie cool in the plate before serving. If you baked the tart in a pan with a removable base, separate the tart from the base at this point and let the tart cool thoroughly on a rack before serving.
More tarts and pies for Thanksgiving: