To Taste: Cranberry-Pear Shortbread Tart

Last week, fresh cranberries (Sunny Harvest | Kirkwood, PA) showed up in my Greensgrow Farm CSA and I can’t say I was thrilled. Throughout the summer, the CSA challenges me to cook with items I wouldn’t usually purchase or, in this case, was convinced I didn’t like. But I needed a dish to take on a weekend trip to see friends in North Jersey and just couldn’t resist the stunning ruby of these cranberries.

After too much time scanning my cookbooks & the internet for inspiration, I finally settled on a simple recipe for cranberry bars. I really don’t enjoy baking (messy flour + precise measuring, oh my!) so I was really excited to discover how insanely delicious and easy this was to make.

In an obvious improvement of Gourmet’s version, Picky Cook added raspberry jam & lemon to brighten the cranberries, but I still lived in fear of an over-tart end product. To buffer this anxiety and use up some produce “on the edge”,  I decided to add the sweetness of yellow pears (Three Springs Fruit Farm | Aspers, PA) reduced into a coulis which created beautiful rosey waves baked atop the cran-raspberry compote. It was the perfect slice of early autumn for an awesome weekend with friends. If only I could always shoot with this natural light and scenery!

Check out my Cranberry-Pear Shortbread Tart recipe after the jump!

Cranberry-Pear Shortbread Tart

Recipe adapted from Picky Cook who improved it from Gourmet

Equipment + Prep

  • oven
  • food processor
  • blender or immersion stick
  • 10″ pie dish for tart or 9″ sq dish for bars
  • heavy 2qt saucepan
  • parchment paper
  • rubber spatula
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375degrees.
  2. Trace a circle of parchment using the base of the pie dish or criss-cross 2 sheets if using a square dish.
  3. Grease parchment and sides of dish w. butter.

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  1. Blend cubed butter, 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 T of vanilla extract in a food processor for approx. 1-2 minutes until combined but not over worked.
  2. Press into bottom of greased dish with fingers and create a slight lip up the side.
  3. Bake for approx. 25 minutes until golden.

Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

  • 3 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  1. While crust is baking, combine 3 cups of cranberries, 2/3 cup white sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 6-10min, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in 1/4 cup raspberry preserves and zest of 1 lemon.
  3. Puree mixture in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion stick. (You can push through a sieve, instead, but I enjoy the texture and nutrients from the skin)
  4. Pour over cooked shortbread crust and smooth evenly with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until slightly firm.

Pear Coulis

  • 1lb pears (or apples), peeled + cored + chopped
  • 1T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. While cranberry tart is baking, melt 1T butter in saucepan over medium heat and add 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Stir and allow to dissolve for 1 min.
  2. Add pears and lemon juice.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly and using rubber spatula to mash pears. Once pears are almost dissolved, remove from heat.
  3. Puree pear mixture in small food processor or with a immersion stick.
  4. Spoon over baked cranberry-raspberry compote and smooth w. a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for approx. 10 minutes.

Cool and serve in pie slices or cut into bars w. a heavy dusting of powdered sugar, fresh whipped cream, or as is. Enjoy!

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