Cranberries & Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust

December 15th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Have I got a treat for you today!

The striking colors of the festive tart speak boldly of the holiday season, and believe me when I say that the flavor does not disappoint. If you like berries and cream, you’ll be head over heels in love with this gem of a dessert.

Comprised of three elements, the tart comes together easily—even though it may look daunting from the ingredient list and directions. Take it step by step and you’ll be amazed as you easily discover your inner pastry chef!

The chocolate crust holds up well even after slicing, something that’s hard to come by with a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free crust. After you spread a layer of orange-scented cashew “cream” into the tart shell, you’ll add the shining star of the dessert: ruby red cranberry sauce. As the tart sets in the refrigerator for a few hours, the layers meld together to create a sweet, tangy, creamy filling. A few chopped pistachios on top add the element of crunch along with eye-catching, festive holiday flair.

You really can’t get more quintessentially “holiday” than with a stunning red and green dessert like this one that brims with the flavors of the season. Serve this to your guests and you’ll be remembered and applauded for years!

We’re in the final week of A Gluten-Free Holiday and we’re going out with a bang: it’s all about the dessert! Stop by She Let Them Eat Cake for Maggie’s fabulous Gingerbread Cupcake recipe and a chance to win one of these gluten-free cookbooks. You can also link up your healthy gluten-free recipes fitting with this week’s theme. (Think cookies, pies, bars, candy, and cakes.)

More of my favorite healthy holiday treats:

Cranberries & Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust
Serves 8-10

For the crust:
1 ¼ cups blanched slivered almonds
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon dark maple syrup, preferably Grade B

For the cranberry layer:
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon dark maple syrup, preferably Grade B
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

For the cashew cream layer:
1 cup raw cashews, covered with water and soaked at room temperature for 4-6 hours
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons dark maple syrup, preferably Grade B
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the crust: in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the almonds for about 1 minute to form a meal. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Process to combine. Add the grapeseed oil and maple syrup. Process until thoroughly combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

Bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and firm to the touch. Set aside to cool.

Make the cranberry layer: in a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring the cranberries, 1/3 cup of the water, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cranberries burst and the mixture becomes saucy, about 5 minutes. Dissolve the arrowroot starch in the remaining tablespoon of water. Stir this mixture into the cranberry sauce and cook until it thickens, 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While the cranberry sauce cools, make the cashew layer: drain the cashews of their soaking liquid. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix), combine the cashews, orange juice, maple syrup, and vanilla. Process until very smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Spread the cashew cream over the bottom of the cooled tart shell.

Spread the cranberry sauce over the cashew cream layer. Sprinkle with the pistachios. Refrigerate for 3 hours before unmolding, slicing, and serving.


  1. Mmmm this sounds amazing, Hallie! Cashew cream plus tart cranberries is a match made in heaven. Beautiful, too. :)

  2. Wow, this is gorgeous. And I can imagine this is a bit lighter and brighter than other rich holiday desserts. Yum.

  3. Oh Hallie, you’ve outdone yourself! This is amazing. I LOVE the ingredients. Want to come to my house for Christmas dinner :)

  4. This is beautiful, Hallie! I would totally savor this dessert. I love pistachios and chocolate together!

  5. You just MADE my FIL’s Christmas. He gets this right after his birthday Cherry Pie next week. That is if it makes it out of the house alive.

  6. What a stunning dish! Lovely photograph too.

  7. Yes, you’ve outdone yourself! It looks delish! I think this would be lovely as mini-tarts, too.

  8. Thanks, all!

    Laurel: Enjoy! I hope he loves it. :)

    Amy: Yes, mini-tarts would be so cute.

  9. OoOOh! This looks awesome!! I made a gluten free double chocolate tart using cocoa powder and pecans once – with cream and dark chocolate melted together for the filling – super super good!! I want to try this now!

  10. Em – That sounds incredible! Maybe I’ll use that idea for inspiration come Valentine’s Day. :)

  11. this looks amazing . I will have to make it Thanks for sharing !

  12. This looks divine! I’ve never made a cashew cream, but I keep seeing these delicious recipes and it’s so tempting to try!

  13. This looks so decadent! I really want to try this soon. What a wonderful vegan, gluten free dessert!

  14. Rebecca A. said on December 16, 2011 at 2:15 am

    This sounds so good. It is being added to my list of dishes to try.

  15. This looks delicious Hallie! It is going on my list of things to make over the holidays! Thank you for another great, healthy recipe!

  16. These recipies sound lovely, BUT: I seem to have a problem with cashew cream… = upchuck! Could I make your recipies with blended almonds instead?

  17. Jean: If you have a high-speed blender (such as a Vita Mix or BlendTec), you can make nut creams out of just about any nut. I haven’t tried anything other than cashews in this recipe, but any nut cream should do fine. It just may not be quite as creamy or mild tasting as the cashews.

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I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.