Mascarpone and Cranberry Tart with Pecan Crust
A creamy tart with spiced cranberry topping and pecan shortbread crust.
This post is sponsored by Diamond of California.
Sometimes simple really is the best. I’ve been fussing with a few slightly high maintenance Thanksgiving tart recipes for the last week and I kept having fail after fail. Of course, it doesn’t help that I suddenly have a high maintenance three month-old either. I’ve forgotten crusts in the oven and spaced over important steps, all because I was trying to do too many things at once (i.e. stir a pot with one hand while trying to soothe a crying baby with the other).
So from here on out, at least for the time being, I’m going to keep things simple. This mascarpone and cranberry tart with pecan shortbread crust is just the answer for any of you time-constrained folks out there. There’s three separate but simple steps, with lots of built in breaks for multitasking (or a nap— oh, how I want a nap!). And it’s a fabulous make-ahead option for your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Step 1— 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.
Step 2— the 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, the whole thing can chill in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to serve it.
Step 3— the cranberry topping is pretty much just a traditional cranberry sauce, flavored with apple cider, cinnamon and nutmeg. If that sounds odd to you, let me assure you that it is 100% at home on top of this tart.
The whole ensemble is pretty much perfect— rich and creamy, sweet and tart, and with a hint of earthy nuttiness. Plus you just can’t argue with simplicity. If there’s room on your Thanksgiving menu for another dessert alongside the traditional pumpkin and apple pies, this should definitely be it!
Mascarpone and Cranberry Tart with Pecan Crust
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (210 grams)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (65 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 cup pecans , toasted (113 grams)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter , cold and cubed (85 grams)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2-3 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)
- 12 oz bag cranberries , fresh or frozen (340 grams)
- ⅔ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (140 grams)
- ¾ cup apple cider (180 ml)
- Zest of 1 orange
- A few grates of nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
To make the crust:
- 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 2 tablespoons of ice 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 a large greased tart pan (see Notes). Chill in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line chilled crust with greased foil and fill with pie weights or dried rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and foil and bake until barely golden brown, about 20 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. Transfer mixture to another bowl and clean mixer bowl (or use a new mixer bowl).
- Beat heavy cream to soft peaks with wire whisk attachment. With mixer on low, slowly spoon mascarpone cream mixture until incorporated and smooth. Spread into cooled crust.
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 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Spoon onto tart filling and chill until ready to serve.
- I made this tart in an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. You can make this tart in a smaller tart pan or even a standard pie dish, though you may have leftover tart dough and the filling will be thicker. Baking time may need to be shortened, crust is done when it is just turning golden brown.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Diamond of California as part of a long-term culinary ambassadorship. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands I love and believe in, which make Completely Delicious possible. All opinions are always 100% my own.