Thanksgiving may have come and gone but fresh cranberries aren't just for holiday cranberry sauce. These sweet-tart, juicy berries are grown on vines in bogs that were originally created by glacial deposits, and thrive in the Southeastern part of Massachusetts, which happens to be Amy's home state. Cranberries possess a variety of health benefits, most notably that they are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, and are known to assist in urinary and digestive health. Fall is when cranberries are harvested, so fresh cranberries are plentiful now.
We've made lemon curd before, which you can read about here, and while looking at a beautiful bag of fresh cranberries in the store, Amy wondered if one could make cranberry curd by heating up the cranberries to get the juice out of them. There would be only one way to find out!
We heated the cranberries with sugar, orange juice and orange zest until the pop-pop-popping of the berries told us they were done. We squeezed the sugary juice into a bowl, and created a curd by adding eggs, egg yolks and butter. After it cooled, we piped it into those little store-bought phyllo mini-cups and baked them for about 10 minutes so they could set. The color was a little strange (Amy likened it to a slightly darker pink than Pepto-Bismol) but otherwise, these were creamy, tangy, sweet and crunchy all at once. The orange flavor was a bit too strong, so next time we would probably add only the orange zest.
1 lb. bag fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
juice and zest of one large orange
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 packages mini-phyllo shells
Place cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries pop and soften to let out their juice (about 10 minutes). Press through a sieve into a large bowl. Cut the stick of butter into four pieces and whisk the pieces into the warm cranberry liquid. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks. Slowly add a half-cup of the cranberry liquid into the eggs, whisking quickly to temper the eggs. Then continue to pour the remaining cranberry liquid into the eggs and whisk to combine. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, constantly stirring, until thick and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then pipe or spoon the curd into the phyllo cups. Bake the tartlets at 350 for 10 minutes to set.