Cranberry-Meringue Tart

Cranberry-Meringue Tart
Photo: Pieter Estersohn
Prep Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
8 to 10 Serves

Martha bakes this spectacular cranberry tart at Thanksgiving. It has an easy press-in crust made with a buttery mixture of crushed saltines which balances out the pucker-perfect curd filling. The finishing touch is a creamy meringue "wreath" piped on top.



  • 4 ounces saltine crackers (about 36; 1 sleeve)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • ¼ cup sugar


  • 3 ½ cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries (one 12-ounce package)

  • cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 2 large egg yolks (reserve whites for topping), plus 1 large whole egg


  • 3 large egg whites

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add butter and sugar; pulse to combine. Firmly press mixture into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze 10 minutes. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  2. Filling: Meanwhile, combine cranberries, orange juice, 1/2 cup water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries burst and are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, scraping back of sieve to get all of pulp (you should have about 1 3/4 cups pulp and liquid); discard solids. Return mixture to pan; stir in sugar and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until dissolved. Whisk in butter.

  3. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together yolks and whole egg, then gradually whisk in half of hot cranberry mixture. Add egg mixture back to pan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and coating the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Strain through sieve (to remove any bits of cooked egg) into tart crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of curd and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. (Tart can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated up to 2 days.)

  4. Topping: When ready to serve, whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over (but not in) a pot of simmering water until hot and sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a mixer bowl and beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Whisk in vanilla.

  5. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large petal tip (such as Wilton 127D) or other decorative tip. To create a wreath, hold bag so wider part of tip faces away from you and bag is almost perpendicular to tart (about 2 inches in from edge, and at a 45 degree angle to it). Press on bag, holding it in one place for a few seconds, then lift up slightly and pull toward you, creating an elongated dollop angled toward edge of tart.

  6. Repeat, starting at the same point but angled toward center of tart. Continue to repeat around edge of tart to create wreath shape. (You can also dollop all of meringue over top of tart and create swoops with the back of a spoon.) Brown meringue with a kitchen torch or under broiler, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Finished tart is best eaten the same day, but can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1day.

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