Cranberry Custard Tart

A New Thanksgiving Tradition!


A few years ago I was inspired by a post from @whiskandwhittle and decided to add a new dessert to my Thanksgiving line-up. Experimenting with a new recipe on a holiday can be risky, but this was a huge hit in my housefold!  It's become a new family tradition, and every time we make it we harvest wild cranberries from the Walking Dunes near our home in Amagansett. I hope you enjoy the recipe and add it your list of go-to holiday desserts as well! 

serves 8-10

recipe barely adapted from @whiskandwhittle 


Pie Crust:

1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt 

12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes

3 Tbsp Vodka on Ice

1 tsp Lemon juice

Pastry Cream

2 Cups Milk

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup Cornstarch

1 Scraped vanilla bean

2 Oz Butter

Cranberry Filling

3 cups Fresh Cranberries

1/2 Cup Orange Juice

1/2 Cup Water

3/4 Cup sugar

1 Cinnamon Stick

1/2 teaspoon of thyme

pinch of salt

Egg Wash

1 egg yolk whisked with 1 Tbsp Heavy Cream

Coarse sugar (for sprinkling)


Pie Crust:

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The butter cubes should be about the size of a pea. Slowly pour the vodka and lemon juice over the butter and flour mixture.  Using a fork, incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients . Knead dough a bit so all of the shaggy pieces come together. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Cranberry Filling:

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat. Stir until berries start to split and juices start to thicken. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and let cool.

Pastry Cream Filling:

Start by getting everything ready: Place two cups of milk in a medium saucepan with ¼ cup sugar and the vanilla bean. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch in a large bowl.

Add egg and yolks to a  small bowl. In another large bowl, add butter and place a mesh strainer over it.

Slowly heat milk just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.

Whisk egg mixture into cornstarch, and while still whisking, slowly add the milk. You are tempering the eggs in this step, so take care not to rush, or you will scramble the eggs.

Pour the mixture back into the pot, and stir with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape to bottom of the pan so nothing sticks to it. When the mixture starts to thicken (and look like pudding) remove from heat.

Strain the custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the butter. Stir until the pastry cream is smooth and the butter is incorporated. Place over an ice bath and stir while it cools (you don’t want to let a ‘skin’ form on top, so make sure to stir every once in awhile).

Pie Assembly:

On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼” thick, in a round shape that is about 2 inches wider in diameter than your pie dish. Add to pie dish and crimp edges.  Spread pastry cream over the prepared dough and top with cranberry mixture.  Let pie chill in fridge while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. When oven is preheated, brush exposed pie dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until crust is nice and golden brown.