“These are better than lemon bars.”
That’s what my old boss (the caterer) said about these cranberry curd bars with a pistachio crust.
You know I love my lemon bars. I even created an easy cookie recipe geared toward capturing the intense sweet-tart combination of the perfect lemon bar. But about a month ago, I was reviewing some of the old candy recipes from last year, and remembered falling in love with the candied cranberries. That’s how the search for a cranberry version of lemon bars started.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to look far. The Kitchn posted a recipe for cranberry curd bars back in 2010, which looked like it was on the right track. But it just looked so time-consuming.
So I tinkered with the recipe, and found a winner. This recipe makes a smaller batch of bars, just in case you’r not sure you or your guests really want these bars (by the way, you do). And I think this curd recipe is simpler and perfectly delicious.
These cranberry curd bars with a pistachio crust are are delightfully tart and sweet. But they’re not cloyingly sweet. The crust is flaky, but it doesn’t fall apart.
I had to give away half the pan just to avoid eating them all myself. And now you know how my old boss got a taste.
Cranberry Curd Bars with a Pistachio Crust
(adapted from The Kitchn)
Pistachio Shortbread Crust
- 3/4 C chopped pistachios
- 3/4 C All-Purpose Flour
- 2/3 C powdered sugar
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/8 t cinnamon
- 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1/2 C water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 12-oz package cranberries
- 2/3 C granulated sugar
- 1/4 C brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter, cubed and softened
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Prepare a 9×9 pan with criss-crossing sheets of parchment paper. Tip: Use a spritz of cooking spray between layers to keep the parchment in place.
- Prepare the crust: Grind the pistachios in a food processor until course. Add flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until finely ground like flour.
- Add cubed butter on top of nut mixture and pulse until mixture holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.
- Press into the prepared pan. With a layer of parchment paper in between, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup, or a cold package of butter to make the layer as even as possible.
- Freeze for 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F
- After freezing, Preheat oven to 350°F and bake the crust for 20-25 minutes, until only lightly golden around the edges.
- While the crust is baking and cooling, prepare the cranberry curd.
- For the Cranberry curd: Combine the water, lemon juice, and cranberries in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat mixture until cranberries pop. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Rinse saucepan and sieve. Set sieve aside for later.
- In the rinsed and cooled saucepan combine fruit puree, sugars, eggs, egg yolk, and salt. Stir with a whisk on low heat until well combined.
- Add butter and increase heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens and you can see drag lines in the mixture from your whisk, about 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture through the cleaned strainer into a clean bowl to ensure all solids are removed.
- Pour the warm cranberry curd onto the pistachio crust. Bake at 350°F until curd is set, but still jiggles in the center, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature and dust with powdered sugar immediately before serving.
Do you love lemon bars?
What’s the most surprising recipe you tried lately?