The ZXD Recipe Collection

Cranberry Pear Tart

I first made this recipe 5 or 6 years back and have made it every Christmas since. It’s a beautiful, delicious and festive tart and since the filling is a spattering of fruit and streusel it’s pretty low-pressure in terms of presentation. The red of the cranberry reminds me of all things holiday–holly berries, santa’s cloak, blood. Wait, what? The first year I made this, my husband accidentally bumped into me as I was carrying the remainder of the tart away from the dinner table. Still in it’s tart pan, it flipped over completely and cut my hand. Blood (and tart) everywhere. And to this day I have a scar to remind me of that cold winter’s night and the ol’ tart tussle. ❡ Fun fact — Tart pans are sharp. Enjoy!


Shortbread Walnut Crust

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp half and half
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • ⅓ c walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Cranberry Pear Filling

  • 2 large ripe Anjou pears
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • ⅔ c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp flour
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • a pinch of nutmeg and cloves

Streusel Topping

  • ⅓ c + 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ c packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


Make the crust

[Preheat oven to 400 degrees]

  1. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, 1 tbsp half and half, and ½ tsp vanilla.
  2. In a food processor, add 1½ c flour, 3 tbsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt and pulse to combine.
  3. Add the cubed stick of butter and pulse until the butter is no longer visible.
  4. Add the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream with the food processor running, then pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add ⅓ c walnuts. Mix. The dough should be crumbly.
  6. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9½ inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Start with the sides of the pan and firmly press dough to create a crust. Press the remaining dough to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Prink bottom of crust with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

Make the filling

[Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees]

  1. Peel, quarter, and core pears. Cut lengthwise into ¼" slices.
  2. In a food processor, coarsely chop 2 c cranberries.
  3. Mix the pears, cranberries and tbsp brandy in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the ⅔ c sugar, 2 tsp flour, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp salt, and pinch of nutmeg and cloves. Add the cranberry/pear mixture and toss to combine.
  5. Spoon filling into the par-baked crust.

Make the streusel topping

  1. In a small bowl, mix the ⅓ c + 1 tbsp flour, ¼ c packed brown sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt.
  2. Add the 2 tbsp melted butter and ¼ tsp vanilla.
  3. Combine with your fingers until the mixture clumps together in small pieces.
  4. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork and the streusel and tart edge are golden brown. Cover with foil or crust cover if the crust begins to overly brown. Allow the tart to cool on a rack and serve when just barely warm.