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Nov 20, 2021

Cranberry Crackle Tart

This cranberry crackle tart is a delicious combination of sweet meringue and tart fresh cranberries on a sweet cookie crust. 

Cranberry tart slice on a plate.

The tart also had a layer of sour cherry jam (you can use any jam, such as raspberry, blackberry, or strawberry) spread on the sweet pastry crust. This helps keep the cranberry juices from soaking through. 

This cranberry tart is baked in a 300 degee oven for an hour. The lower temperature helps the meringue get crackly and crisp-tender without over browning. Plus, the cranberries hold their shape and do not burst at this temperature. And because cranberries are naturally high in pectin, the tart holds together really well without any other added ingredients. 

The texture is kind of like a Pavlova with fruit baked inside. 

Whole cranberry meringue tart.

I have made this tart many times since I first heard about it on The Splendid Table podcast, and later in Dorie Greenspan's book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere (2014). The book is a collection of simple desserts from French chefs and home cooks. 

According to Dorie, cranberries, although getting easier to find, are quite dear in France, where she lives. 

How lucky are we in the U.S. to be able to buy multiple bags of them this time of year. They are so easy to freeze and use whenever we get a cranberry craving. In fact, I doubled the amount of cranberries in the recipe.. because I could! 

Sweet tart crust before baking.

This tart begins with a sweet pastry crust that is almost cookie-like. It's a combination of flour, confectioner's sugar, egg, and butter (of course). It takes no time to mix together in the food processor, and you roll it out between two layers of parchment or wax paper. 

Because you trim this dough down in the pie plate, you will end up with extra dough. You can wrap it up and freeze it for later to make mini tarts or fruit filled hand pies. 

You par bake the crust under foil or parchment that is held down with pie weights. Once you've baked the crust, let it cool and fill it with the cranberries and meringue and bake the tart. 

Cranberry pie slice with meringue.

I recommend using foil under the pie weights, or parchment and then foil, because you will want to make sure that the crust is fully covered so that it doesn't brown on the edges until you remove it. Otherwise, it might burn. 

I used a pastry/ravioli wheel to get the cute zig zaggy edge on the crust. 

Close up photo of cranberry tart slice.

We loved this tart. From the crackly meringue, the juicy tart cranberries, to the sweet crust, all of the flavors and textures go together so well. This is a cranberry lover's dessert. It's also a great way to incorporate cranberries into your holiday dinner if you want to skip the cranberry sauce. 

I only have one regular oven, which was occupied with the Thanksgiving turkey, so, the first time I made this, I actually baked this tart in my (albeit large) toaster oven. It turned out great. I've since made it several times in my regular oven as well. 

While the book says the tart should be served the same day, based on the tastiness of the leftovers, I think you could get away with making this the night before. I've been known to have leftovers for breakfast. 

Cranberry tart slice.

This has become my signature holiday pot luck dessert, and everyone loves it. 

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Updated post: Originally posted in November, 2014, this post has been updated with all new photos, re-written and updated information, and a printable recipe. Plus, we were able to enjoy this tart once again! 

One slice of cranberry crackle tart on a plate.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

Cranberry Crackle Tart
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 15 M
This cranberry crackle tart is a delicious combination of sweet meringue and tart fresh cranberries on a sweet cookie crust.


For the Tart Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (204 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces; 128 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
For the Tart
  • 2 tablespoons cherry (or other) jam
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 9 to 10 ounces cranberries (if they're frozen, don't thaw)


To Prepare the Crust Dough
  1. Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely.
  2. Whisk the yolk and add it slowly, pulsing after each addition. Once the egg is incorporated, process in long pulses, about 10 seconds each, until the dough forms clumps and the sound of the processor changes. Once the sound changes, stop processing.
  3. Turn the dough out and knead briefly with the heel of your hand to further incorporate the butter.
  4. Shape the dough into a disk and put it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough out to a 1/8 inch thick round.
To Prepare the Tart
  1. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with spray oil.
  2. Lift the rolled out pastry dough into the pie pan, with the excess draped over the sides. Gently press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan and trim the dough to about one third down from the rim of the pan. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Line the crust with a piece of parchment or a buttered piece of aluminum foil (preferred) and weight it down with rice, dried beans or pie weights. Make sure the dough is completely covered so that it doesn't over cook or burn. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the paper or foil and weights and bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, or until the crust is golden brown. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.
  5. To bake the tart, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  6. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of crust. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they turn opaque. While the mixer is still going, slowly add the sugar and keep beating, increasing the speed to high, until the whites are shiny and form droopy peaks.
  7. Add the cranberries to the bowl and fold them into the meringue with a rubber spatula. Spread the meringue over the jam, adding a few swirly flourishes.
  8. Bake the tart for 1 hour, until the top is light beige and likely cracked a bit on top.
  9. The tart can be kept in a refrigerator for about 2 days.

Nutrition Facts



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pie, tart, cranberries
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  1. I loved this cranberry crackle tart..I had to put it in the freezer so I would stop nibbling..
    Looking forward to our Baking Chez Moi baking project, hope all the recipes are as delicious as this one ;)

  2. I am glad I am not the only one that had trouble with the crust. My son did eat it but I advertised that it tasted like marshmallows:) I think I might add this to my Thanksgiving rotation next year.

  3. Wow! It looks just like the book! Beautiful...well done :-)

  4. Your tart is fabulous! Mine is a little "too beige", though the colour did not affect the taste one bit! It was good! Interesting to know that this tart can be baked in the toaster oven too!

  5. Gorgeous slice shot! I almost wish my kids hadn't liked it - there would have been more of my mini tart for the adults!

  6. Ooh, your slice looks great with all those berries! Tasty tart, for sure!

  7. Gorgeous, absolutely flawless. Good to know that you can do this in a toaster oven, and also that the night before would work out as well. Valuable tips...thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Karen, can't wait to get my hand on that cookbook, this looks gorgeous!

  9. Picture perfect! Did you use the whole bag of cranberries? I used the one and a half cups called for in the recipe, and thought it definitely could use more.

    1. Thanks Cathy! I used a bag that was about 10 ounces that I had on my freezer. I've noticed that the new bags are 12 ounces and 340 grams, so how can 10 ounces be 150 grams? I think the old bag had the wrong amount of grams listed on it. What a happy mistake! Serendipity! I'm definitely going with the 10 ounces! Thanks for catching that!

    2. I would have loved this, using a whole bag of cranberries! I Googled the conversion, and 150 grams equates to just over 5 ounces! Lucky you!

    3. Definitely go for it next time. My lack of attention to detail just paid off, lol!

  10. Beautiful tart and what a great idea to bake it in the toaster oven! I will have to remember that trick since mine is fairly large as well. Glad you all liked it (except for the kiddos, that is)!

  11. Your tart is beautiful. I think I'll try more cranberries next time, yours turned out so good. There will be a next time because we really liked this one.

  12. This tart makes me want to lick my monitor - is that wrong?
    I loved this one!

  13. Wow this tart looks incredible, I wish I would have stumbled on your entry before Thanksgiving! I guess there are always Christmas and day-after-Christmas dinners...

  14. Yours looks just gorgeous! We loved this one, too. So much so that I think I'm going to make another one at Christmas.

  15. Whoa!! I've never seen anything like that before! I can see why everyone would love it. Thank you for sharing something new and intriguing!

  16. Karen this is gorgeous. I'm seriously considering making it for Thanksgiving dessert!

  17. That topping is unreal! I have got to try this ASAP.

  18. Oh my gosh! I can see why everyone would love this!

  19. This looks scrumptious. The stores are out of cranberries, though. I need to plan ahead a lot better!

    1. I always keep a few bags in the freezer just for that reason!

  20. This is definit3ely going on my must try list of cranberry tarts! ANd love the meringue topping!

  21. This is a show stopper! The flavors are amazing and I know this recipe will be a super hit rightaway here.

  22. That is just the perfect festive little slice!


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