This Cranberry Sauce Tart pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving turkey

Turn your Thanksgiving cranberry sauce into a photogenic dessert.

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Cranberry sauce tart pie
Photo: Allison Robicelli, Graphic: Libby McGuire

We’re turning all our Thanksgiving favorites into pies this year. Welcome to Piesgiving 2021. Bring your appetite.


If we’re being totally honest, canned jellied cranberry sauce is the king of all the cranberry sauces (haters be damned). It doesn’t matter if your homemade cranberry sauce is made from berries you’ve plucked from a bog yourself; there’s an unbeatable lowbrow joy that comes from something slowly sliding out of an aluminum can with that audible “plop.”

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Plus, homemade cranberry sauce can cause drama. If there’s homemade cranberry sauce on the table, it’s impossible to opt for the canned stuff without insulting the person who made theirs with love. I have unfortunately lived through this scenario and I do not wish its pettiness on anyone. And that’s why I’ve come up with a solution: a multi-cran holiday.

Instead of serving homemade cranberry sauce in a bowl, I put it into an easy crumb pie crust made from ground gingersnaps. It looks like a pie, but it’s really just a tart, barely sweetened cranberry sauce in an edible container. You can put this on the table in addition to canned cranberry sauce, and though they both serve similar functions, they’re different enough that nobody’s feelings will be hurt.

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More importantly, you get to eat cranberry sauce two ways in a single meal, and if that isn’t classy, well, then I don’t know what is.


Cranberry Sauce Tart

  • 12 oz. gingersnaps
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 (12-oz.) bags fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger
  • 2/3 cup apple butter
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a crumb crust: in a food processor, blitz the gingersnaps until pulverized, then add the honey and melted butter and pulse until a smooth mixture forms. Press into a large pie or tart pan and bake for 10 minutes. (For more detailed directions on how to make a crumb crust, click here.) Once the crust is set, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Put three-quarters of the fresh cranberries in the food processor (no need to wash it out first), add the sugar, salt, apple butter, and crystallized ginger, and pulse 5-10 times until roughly chopped. Add the remaining whole cranberries and cornstarch, mix thoroughly by hand, and pour into the gingersnap crust.

Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until it appears set, then allow to cool completely. This tart tastes better after it sits overnight. Serve at room temperature.

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(This is one of those great dishes that can seamlessly transition from the dinner table to the dessert lineup and no one will question it.)