Cranberry Mascarpone Tart with Pecan Crust
If you’re searching for a non-traditional pie for your holiday table, then look no further than this creamy cranberry mascarpone tart with pecan shortbread crust.
This festive tart has so many things happening all in one dessert, and they all work together with a delicious combination of flavors and textures. You’ll love how the rich cheesecake-like filling pairs with the tart jammy cranberries, and the crisp pecan shortbread crust holds it all together so delightfully.
There’s a little something for everyone to love in this cranberry mascarpone tart, and I promise that they will!
It’s also a fabulous make-ahead option for Thanksgiving or Christmas since it finishes setting up in the fridge, leaving your oven free for other dishes.
Table of Contents
- 3 parts to this cranberry mascarpone tart
- Ingredients you’ll need
- How to make this cranberry mascarpone tart
- Tips for storing and making this tart in advance
- FAQs for this recipe
- More holiday tart recipes
- Get this recipe
3 parts to this cranberry mascarpone tart
- Nutty butter pecan shortbread crust
- Rich and creamy no-bake mascarpone and whipped cream filling
- Cranberry sauce topping spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus
If topping a pie or tart with cranberry sauce sounds odd to you, let me assure you that it is 100% at home in this recipe. It balances out the rich creaminess of the filling and provides a lovely seasonal fruity element.
Ingredients you’ll need
How to make this cranberry mascarpone tart
- Make the pecan crust. The pecan shortbread comes together quickly and easily with the help of a food processor. Just don’t skip out on toasting the pecans, they have such a more pronounced flavor. Once the dough is mixed, press it into a 9-inch tart pan and blind bake at 350°F until crust is golden brown. See all of my tips for blind baking crust here.
- Make the mascarpone filling. This filling is pretty much a no-bake cheesecake, made with whipped cream and mascarpone cheese. If you can’t find mascarpone, regular cream cheese will work too. After you’ve spread the filling into the baked crust, place it in the refrigerator to set up for at least 6-8 hours.
- Make the cranberry sauce topping. In a medium saucepan, add cranberries, apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and the sauce thickens. It will thicken even more as it cools, so don’t cook it too long. (I prefer the sauce to be a little looser.) Let it cool completely before spooning it on top of the tart.
- Store in the fridge until ready to serve. See my tips below for making this tart in advance. You have lots of options!
Tips for storing and making this tart in advance
All of the elements of this cranberry mascarpone tart can be made in advance and stored separately, partially assembled, or fully assembled.
Pecan shortbread crust: Once baked, it will keep at room temperature covered with plastic wrap for 3-5 days. It can also be frozen (baked or unbaked) for a month or more. Make sure that it is wrapped well. If baking from frozen, do not thaw.
Mascarpone filling: Once prepared, the filling should be spread into the baked tart crust immediately and placed in the fridge to set up. You can chill the tart partially assembled this way for up to 2-3 days.
Cranberry topping: The cranberry sauce topping can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I recommend adding it to the top of the tart no more than 12 hours before serving so that it looks its best. It can also be added right before serving, or spooned over individual tart slices as you’re serving if you prefer.
FAQs for this recipe
Yes, you can. The filling won’t be as creamy or rich, but will still be delicious. Most stores now carry mascarpone cheese however, look for it in the specialty cheese section.
Yes, this recipe will also work in a traditional 9-inch pie pan.
If you don’t want to use the pecan shortbread crust (if you’d like the recipe to be nut-free, for example), you can use a standard shortbread crust, a graham cracker crust or even butter pie crust.
More holiday tart recipes
Get this recipe
This cranberry mascarpone tart recipe was originally published November 2015 in partnership with Diamond of California.
Cranberry Mascarpone Tart with Pecan Crust
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (150 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ½ cup pecans , toasted (56 grams)
- ½ cup unsalted butter , cold and cubed (1 stick, 113 grams)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoons ice cold water
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese , at room temperature (113 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (250 ml)
- 6 oz cranberries , fresh or frozen (half a bag, 170 grams)
- ⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (70 grams)
- ⅓ cup apple cider juice (75 grams)
- Zest of 1 orange
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
To make the crust:
- Grease a 9-inch by 1-inch tart pan (preferably with a removeable bottom) with non-stick baking spray or grease with butter and flour.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and pecans. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the pieces of butter are broken up. Combine the egg yolk and 1 tablespoons of water and add to the food processor while it is running. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together (the processor will make a loud sound).
- Press the mixture into the prepared tart pan. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line chilled crust with greased foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes until edges of the tart appear set, then remove weights and foil and bake until the bottom is barely golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Let cool completely.
To make filling:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
- Beat heavy cream to soft peaks with wire whisk attachment (first transfer mascarpone mixture to a separate bowl if you need to use the same mixer bowl). With mixer on low, slowly spoon mascarpone cream mixture until incorporated and smooth. Spread into cooled crust.
- Place tart in the fridge to set up for at least 6-8 hours before serving. The tart can be stored like this for up to 2-3 days.
To make topping:
- In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, brown sugar, apple cider, orange zest, nutmeg and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce is thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Spoon the cranberry sauce over the tart. It can be stored in the fridge this way for up to 12 hours (after that it doesn't look as nice). If you want to store the tart in the fridge for longer, I recommend storing the cranberry sauce separately (in the fridge for up to 2 weeks) and adding it right before serving.
- All tart leftovers should be stored in the fridge.
- Freshly grated nutmeg is preferred for flavor but you can also use ground nutmeg.
- Toasted pecans have more flavor than raw pecans. Toast in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, then cool completely.
- Look for mascarpone cheese in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store. You can substitute for full-fat cream cheese, but tart won’t be as rich or creamy.