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Turn fresh cranberries into tart and sweet cranberry curd with just a few simple ingredients. Perfect for spreading on seasonal goodies and breads or using as a topping or filling for cakes, cupcakes, pies, cheesecakes, and more!
It is no secret here at Fresh April Flours that I am a giant fan of cranberry during the entire winter holiday season. I kick things off with cranberry sauce (my homemade spiced version + a can because YES) at Thanksgiving and then the cranberry train keeps rolling all the way through Christmas.
Whether it’s dried in a white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookie, fresh in my cranberry gingerbread, or mulled in my winter sangria, I welcome cranberry EVERYTHING as soon as I can find them in the grocery store.
Last winter season, I saw a photo on Instagram from my friend Katherine at Love In My Oven of her gorgeous cranberry curd. At that very second, I vowed to add an easy cranberry curd recipe to my site, and alongside it, I added a cranberry curd tart and sugared cranberries to the mix so now we have no shortage of more fresh cranberry recipes scattered throughout my recipe collection.
I’m certainly not mad about that, and if you love tart cranberries and different ways to use them up, I think you’re going to love having this luscious cranberry curd at your fingertips.
Curds take a little time and elbow grease, but they’re pretty simple. What I love about them is that you only need a handful of ingredients.
For this cranberry curd recipe, you’ll need fresh cranberries (frozen are fine, too!), orange juice and zest, granulated sugar, some whole eggs and yolks, unsalted butter, and a bit of salt.
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY CURD
In order to get this cranberry curd going, we’ll first need to make cranberry puree, and this whole process starts out the same way my homemade spiced cranberry sauce and winter sangria do, and it’s simple!
COOK THE CRANBERRIES
Start by combining the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar in a medium size saucepan. You’ll bring this mixture to a boil, then simmer it while stirring occasionally until the cranberries are macerated, the sugar has fully dissolved, and the mixture thickens slightly.
Since there will be a lot of skins and seeds and such in the mixture, we’re going to take the mixture further and turn it into a silky smooth one, and here’s where it gets fun!
PUREE THE COOKED CRANBERRIES
Pour the cranberry mixture into a blender (my preference) or a food processor. You don’t need to wash the saucepan, since we’ll be coming back to it in a bit.
Purée the cranberry mixture until there are no large cranberry pieces remaining, then set aside.
TEMPER THE EGGS
Next, we’re going to add eggs to the mixture, but since the mixture is hot and the eggs are not, we’ll need to temper them into the hot cranberry mixture.
Add the eggs and egg yolks to a medium size bowl, then whisk to combine. Next, add about 2 Tablespoons of the cranberry mixture to the egg mixture and whisk again to blend the eggs. These are now your tempered eggs.
Add the tempered eggs, which have now been safely warmed without cooking, and the cooked cranberries that are still in the blender back into the saucepan.
COOK THE MIXTURE
Cook the cranberry mixture + eggs over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 160ºF (71ºC), about 3-5 minutes. I use my digital instant-read thermometer to check the temperature quickly.
ADD THE BUTTER
Add the butter and salt then stir until all of the butter is melted. At this point, you can turn off the heat and just keep stirring. The heat of the mixture will allow the butter to continue to melt.
ALLOW TO COOL
Once your butter is fully incorporated, it’s time to let the cranberry curd cool. Normally, this is where you press plastic wrap to the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
BUT, since cranberry curd is so full of skins and seeds, we’re going to press all of that out once the mixture has cooled below the temperature at which a skin would form.
Did I lose you? It’s simple. Once curd is below 125ºF (52ºF), you can be sure that a film has formed and moving forward, your curd will stay nice and smooth.
Again, use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature quickly.
PRESS THROUGH A MESH SIEVE
When your curd is at the appropriate temperature, press it through a fine mesh sieve into a medium size bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout.
You will acquire a lot of cranberry pulp in your sieve, so be sure to strain cranberry mixture in batches (3 or 4 batches is fine) in order to keep the holes of the fine-mesh strainer clear.
HELP! MY CURD IS NOT PRESSING THROUGH NICELY!
Not to worry! If your curd has cooled too much, it may be harder to work with. Just reheat it over medium heat until it has thinned out a bit (no more than 1-2 minutes– you don’t need to cook it any more, just looking to loosen the butter).
It also helps to keep the sieve clean, so I rinsed it between each batch of cranberry pulp.
USE IN A TART
Once your curd is completely cool, you can store it in the fridge. If you’re interested in a cranberry curd tart recipe, you’ll want to add the curd to the tart shell while it’s still warm, so pop on over to that recipe to continue the curd magic.
Of course, no cranberry treat is complete without sugared cranberries, which are so simple to put together, you’ll LAUGH. That one is entirely up to you, but I strongly encourage going full cran and just making all the cranberry things.
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh cranberries1
- ½ cup (120mL) fresh orange juice2
- zest of one orange
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 4 slices
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar. Bring to a boil then simmer while stirring occasionally until cranberries are macerated, sugar has fully dissolved, and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
- Pour the cranberry mixture into a blender (my preference) or a food processor. Don't wash the saucepan yet. Purée mixture until there are no large cranberry pieces remaining. Set aside.
- Add the eggs and egg yolks to a medium size bowl then whisk to combine. Add about 2 Tablespoons of the cranberry mixture (does not have to be measured or perfect) to the egg mixture then whisk again to temper3 the eggs. Add the tempered eggs and the cranberry mixture that's still in the blender back into the saucepan.
- Cook the cranberry mixture + eggs over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 160ºF (71ºC), about 3-5 minutes. I use my digital instant-read thermometer to check the temperature quickly. Add the butter and salt then stir until all of the butter is melted. Allow the cranberry curd to cool in the saucepan about 45 to 60 minutes.
- When your cranberry curd has cooled significantly, check to be sure it is below 125ºF (52ºF). This will insure a film has formed and moving forward, your curd will stay nice and smooth.
- When your curd is at the appropriate temperature, press it through a fine mesh sieve into a medium size bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout. If it has cooled too much, it may be harder to work with. Just reheat it over medium heat until it has thinned out a bit (no more than 1-2 minutes– you don't need to cook it any more, just looking to loosen the butter). Work in 3 to 4 batches and remove the skin/seeds/chunks that don't pass through the sieve before adding another batch of curd. You may need to rinse it.
- Allow curd to cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Cranberries: you can also use frozen. No need to thaw.
- Fresh orange juice: you may not get a full ½ cup of fresh orange juice from one orange, depending on the size. That’s ok! Just add water to the ½ cup mark. You could even use another citrus juice if you wanted to.
- Tempering the eggs: this just means you’re adding a portion of your hot liquid (in this case, the cooked cranberries) to eggs to heat them up slowly so they don’t cook when you add them to the whole batch of hot liquid.
- Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.