Cranberry curd is so delicious and so easy to make. My homemade recipe for cranberry curd is creamy, wonderfully tart, and requires only 30 minutes of hands-on time before the curd is chilled in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Orange juice and orange zest balance out the tartness of the cranberries and provide a beautiful citrus flavor. This recipe can be prepared with fresh or frozen cranberries.
I discovered a knack for making them, when I made homemade Strawberry Curd and realized you can use other fruits besides lemon. Since then I've made other fruit curd recipes including:
If you're looking for a cranberry dessert idea then this curd recipe is a great idea. The curd is easy to make and on its own, it's great as a topping for ice cream, biscuits, and pancakes.
As part of a dessert, it can be used as the main ingredient in cookies and tarts such as in Cranberry Linzer Cookies or Cranberry Meringue Tart.
What is Fruit Curd
Fruit curd is an indulgent, luscious, tart, creamy fruit spread usually made with citrus fruit. Cranberries make a great alternative to lemons and limes, because of their tartness and the natural pectin which helps thicken the curd as it chills.
If you're looking for a cranberry dessert idea then this cranberry curd recipe is a great idea. The curd is great as a topping for ice cream, biscuits, and pancakes.
Cranberry Curd Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this delicious curd:
- Fresh or Frozen Cranberries. This recipe can be made with either fresh or frozen cranberries. If using frozen berries, you don't need to thaw them before starting the recipe.
- Orange Juice. The orange juice enhances the flavor of the cranberries and adds a nice citrus taste to the curd.
- Orange Zest. The zest adds citrus flavor, but it also adds a slight floral flavor.
- Granulated Sugar
- Large Eggs and Egg Yolks. This recipe uses a combination of whole eggs and eggs. Save the leftover egg whites for macaroons or Swiss meringue buttercream
- Unsalted Butter. Use only unsalted butter for this recipe. Salted butter will make the curd too salty.
How to Make Cranberry Curd
The first step to making cranberry curd is to extract as much juice from the cranberries as possible before combining them with the eggs and butter. I revised the recipe to make this step easier.
Step 1: Chop the cranberries in a mini food processor. This step makes it easier to cook the cranberries and strain them to remove the solids.
Step 2: Place the chopped cranberries, sugar, water, salt, orange zest, and orange juice in a saucepan.
NOTE: Use a stainless steel or enameled coated saucepan for making fruit curds. Don't use an aluminum pan. The acid in the cranberry curd will react with the aluminum and cause a metallic taste in the curd.
Step 3: Cook the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, the cranberries are soft, and the mixture starts to thicken.
Step 4: Once the cranberries are cooked, strain them through a medium coarse strainer to remove the large solids, such as the cranberry skins.
Taste the cranberry puree and add more sugar if the mixture is too tart.
Step 5: Allow the cranberry curd to cool to room temperature or until it is just barely warm (about 85 degrees). Return the cranberry puree to the same saucepan and quickly whisk in the eggs.
Step 6: Place the saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 175°F (80°C). When the curd reaches temperature remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time.
Quick Tip: It's important that the curd reaches the correct temperature to ensure that it thickens as it chills. The best way to ensure the correct temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer.
Strain the curd a second time to remove any remaining solids.
Step 7: Refrigerate the curd until it is completely chilled. As with all curds and custard-type dishes cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming on top.
How Long Can Fruit Curd Be Refrigerated
Refrigerate: The cranberry curd is good in the refrigerator for 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Freezer: The curd can be frozen for up to one year. If you freeze it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before you're ready to use it.
- Use it as a topping for pancakes, waffles, ice cream, yogurt, cheesecake, other cakes, and even just plain toast.
- Use it as filling for layer cakes, tarts, crepes, or pies, such as this Cranberry Cheesecake Pie.
Pro Tips for Making Fruit Curd Curd
- Use a heavy bottom non-reactive pan. Stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and enamel all work well. Some materials, such as plain aluminum or unlined copper, will react with the acid in the cranberry and orange, discoloring the curd and giving it a metallic flavor.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the curd.
- Don't let the curd boil. Boiling the curd will cause it to curdle. Take your time and keep the heat moderate.
- Whisk constantly after adding the eggs so the curd doesn't curdle or burn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, if the curd is allowed to boil it will curdle the eggs and make the curd grainy. You can try straining it twice through a fine-mesh strainer, but that may not remove all the grainy bits.
Yes. If you're allergic to dairy you can make the curd without butter. It will be a little less creamy, but still taste delicious.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) white sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 (100 grams) whole eggs
- 2 (40 grams) egg yolks
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- You don't need to thaw the cranberries for this recipe.
- In a small bowl whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks. Place a bowl with a medium-coarse strainer next to the stove.
- Place the cranberries, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Zest the orange directly into the saucepan. Juice the orange and add 1/4 cup of orange juice to the saucepan.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, until the mixture starts to occasionally bubble up, thickens, and measures 1 1/2 cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain the cranberry mixture through the medium-coarse strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula to extract as much puree as possible.
- Whisk eggs and yolks into cranberry mixture in the bowl. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Place a clean bowl with a fine-mesh strainer near the stove. Cook the cranberry mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or whisk, until the mixture is thickened and registers 175 degrees in multiple spots, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Off heat, whisk in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time until well incorporated. Strain the cranberry mixture through the fine-mesh strainer. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- The curd can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.