CRANBERRY SQUARES WITH WALNUT SHORTBREAD
The refreshing tartness of cranberry curd pairs elegantly with walnut shortbread. Not fussy to make, Cranberry Squares with Walnut Shortbread remain content in the fridge until showtime. The small red berries bite back, as the creamy walnut shortbread melts in your mouth. Cranberries, rumoured to have been served at the first Thanksgiving, still symbolize peace and abundance. Your guests will love this simple unusual dessert. I hope you try them.
This recipe is by Emma Christensen of thekitchn.com. It's expertly written. Take a look at the original post.
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- Makes roughly 24 squares
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces/125 grams) walnut pieces
- 1 cup (4.4 ounces/125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces/60 grams) confectioner sugar, tamped lightly down and levelled off
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
- 12 ounces (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries with 1/2 cup water OR 1 liquid cup of unsweetened cranberry juice
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from half of one lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened cut into tablespoon pieces
- powdered sugar for dusting
- lemon zest for garnish
FOR THE WALNUT SHORTBREAD CRUST
FOR THE CRANBERRY CURD
MISE EN PLACE THE SHORTBREAD CRUST
- Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment so it extends over the long edge. This will give you something to grab onto when unmoulding the Cranberry Squares. Leave the pan ungreased as it will be easier to remove from the pan.
- Weigh or measure your walnuts and place them in the bowl of a food processor and coarsely grind, about 15 one-second pulses. Alternately, finely chop the walnuts by hand. How to Weigh and Measure for more details.
- Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Measure the butter and set aside.
COMPLETING THE SHORTBREAD CRUST
- Add the dry ingredients to the ground walnuts and pulse until combined thoroughly.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse just until the mixture holds together, when pressed between your fingers.
- Sprinkle the dough into your baking dish and press evenly over the surface.
- Press the crust mix into the baking dish, and smooth making it as even as possible.
- Freeze for 30-60 minutes.
BAKING THE SHORTBREAD
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and set it directly in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until beginning to color around the edges.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the cranberry curd.
MISE EN PLACE THE CRANBERRY CURD
- Place the cranberries and water in a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat and stir.
- Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the cranberries have popped and become mushy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour them into a fine-meshed strainer set over a medium-sized mixing bowl and press the cranberry puree through using a spatula
- Allow the puree to cool to room temperature. Discard the cranberry skins and clean the strainer for use in the next step.
- Separate the eggs and place in a saucepan. How to Separate Eggs for more details.
- Measure the sugar and lemon juice in separate bowls and set aside.
- Measure the butter and set aside.
- Set out yourinstant thermometer.
COOKING OF THE CRANBERRY CURD
- To the saucepan, add the cranberry puree or juice, sugar, lemon juice and salt to the eggs.
- Stir thoroughly until the mixture is even.
- Set the saucepan on the burner to medium.
- Stir the curd continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Cook until the curd starts to thicken, coats the back of a spatula, and registers about 150°F on an instant-read thermometer (no need to be exact here. The curd will finish cooking in the oven). This should take 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter all at once.
- Stir until the butter has completely melted, then pour the curd through the strainer into a clean bowl or spouted measuring cup.
- Pour the warm cranberry curd onto the baked walnut crust.
BAKING THE CRANBERRY CURD AND WALNUT SHORTBREAD
- Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has set but still jiggles slightly in the center.
- Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
CUTTING THE SQUARES
- To cut the squares, lift them from the pan using the parchment paper as handles.
- Dust powdered sugar over the cranberry curd. The sugar will disappear and will create a shiny glaze without adding too much sweetness.
- Trim off the sides to make even edges if desired.
- Use a sharp knife to cut them into squares
- Serve cold from the fridge.
- Store in the refrigerator.