Getty/Stacey Cramp

Maybe it's time to elevate our dessert game—tasty tarts and all. 

Tarts are always a crowd-pleaser. They’re tasty, they're not too difficult to make, and they look fancy on a plate. (Think about these pretty cranberry sparklers for a garnish.) For fall or winter, bring a bright pop of crimson to your table with a cranberry tart. Variations on this theme are endless, but we’re partial to a smooth cranberry curd tart, or, if you’ve been to the orchard, an apple cranberry tart can be especially tasty.

A few things to keep in mind: If you don’t have a tart pan, it’s still possible to pull this off with a pie pan. Pick your favorite crust, whether it’s a pie crust, a pate brise, or a sour cream crust. We prefer to use fresh cranberries, but frozen will work as well—just make sure to thaw them thoroughly. If your recipe calls for citrus zest, don’t be tempted to skip it; the subtle accent is well worth the extra purchase.

If you’re making a jewel-toned cranberry curd, we have a few tips. Make sure to use a double-boiler so that you don’t overcook your curd. Use a whisk or a flat wooden spoon to stir. Be sure to strain your cranberry mixture well before adding to egg mixture—you don’t want any solids in your smooth cranberry curd. If you find yourself with extra curd, simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The bright curd will keep for up to two weeks. We recommend spreading it on toast (or scones) with butter.

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Finally, don’t be tempted to cut into your tart before it has fully cooled. If you’re using curd, then it really needs a chance, and the time, to set. If you’re using whole fruits, the juices need to solidify because it will make cutting into the tart easier—and the presentation will be much more attractive. (And that'll make Mama so much happier.)