This simple and elegant Cranberry Cheesecake Tart is a festive treat that can be made ahead and assembled right before a party - it's one of my favorite holiday desserts!
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It's time for a festive holiday dessert! I love baking SO much. There have been many a time where I have considered turning Sweet Cayenne into a baking blog because, if it were up to me, I would just bake all of the time! During the holiday season, I'm always drawn to trying out new baked treats with cranberries. They are such a stunning ingredient and add such a festive element to any dessert that I can't help myself!
This eye-catching Cranberry Cheesecake Tart is one of my favorite ways to enjoy cheesecake. I've always been a fan of cheesecake, but it's such an indulgent dessert that I don't make them too often. A cheesecake tart, however, is something I can get on board with making occasionally because you get the flavor and texture of a delicious cheesecake in a smaller, more balanced amount! While this tart isn't near as rich as a regular cheesecake, it's just as creamy, luscious, and festive. A fragrant and nutty pecan and graham cracker crust is topped with lightly-sweetened cream cheese filling, baked, chilled, and then slathered with a juicy cranberry compote topping. Since the cheesecake tart can be made up to a day ahead and topped with the cranberry compote right before serving, it's perfect for a dinner party menu!
Ingredients for Cranberry Cheesecake Tart
- For the crust - graham crackers, toasted pecans, butter, and sugar. I always toast my pecans before adding them to any baked goods because I think they have a better texture and flavor that way.
- For the cheesecake filling - reduced-fat cream cheese (or Neufchatel), reduced-fat sour cream, egg, sugar, vanilla. Using reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream will save some calories and reduce the saturated fat. However, this dessert is still incredibly luscious and creamy - I promise that you won't miss the full-fat products!
- For the cranberry topping - fresh cranberries, maple syrup, sugar, and lemon juice. This makes for the most delicious cranberry compote. The flavor of maple compliments the pecan flavor in the crust, and a splash of lemon juice adds a finishing note of brightness to the dessert. If you have extra compote leftover, it's delicious on pumpkin waffles or gingerbread pancakes!
Ingredient amounts/instructions listed in the recipe below.
How to Make a Cranberry Cheesecake Tart
- Make a graham cracker crust - while the recipe calls for making the graham cracker crust in a food processor, you can simply put the graham crackers and pecans in a plastic zip-top bag and crush them finely with a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the melted butter and sugar. Once everything is combined, you will press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to help evenly press the crust into the pan. At this point, you will lightly bake the crust for 10 minutes to help it set.
- Make the cream cheese filling - this step is also done quickly in the food processor, but can also be accomplished in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer! Pour the filling into the lightly baked crust, then smooth it out with an offset spatula.
- Bake the tart - you will bake the tart until it is just set.
- Make the cranberry compote - while the tart is baking, make the cranberry topping.
- Chill, then top, then serve! You will chill both the tart and the topping for 8 hours, then top the tart with the cranberries just before serving it.
Complete instructions are found in the recipe below.
Other Festive Holiday Desserts:
- Very Best Bread Pudding with Vanilla Butter Sauce
- Old-Fashioned Chess Pie
- Back Pocket Chocolate Fudge Cake
- Apple Dumplings with Sparkling Cider Sauce
Are you ready to make this Cranberry Cheesecake Tart? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
Cranberry Cheesecake Tart
- ⅓ cup pecan halves, lightly toasted for 7-8 minutes
- 6 whole graham crackers
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 (8-ounce) blocks of reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup light sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked through
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a food processor, combine the pecans, graham crackers, and ¼ cup of the sugar. Process until everything is incorporated and finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer this mixture to a tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Wipe the bowl of the food processor clean. Add ½ cup of the granulated sugar, the cream cheese, sour cream, egg, vanilla, and salt. Process until completely creamy and smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Transfer to the prepared crust and use an offset spatula to smooth the filling into the crust. Bake for 28-32 minutes until just set (the filling will jiggle but not have waves when the tart part is shaken). Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the tart is baking, place the cranberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until most of the berries have burst, about 10 minutes.
- Chill the tart and the cranberry mixture for 8 hours or overnight. Carefully remove the tart from the tart pan ring and place it on a serving tray or platter. Spoon the cranberry sauce on top, slice, and serve!
- To toast the pecans, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 7-8 minutes.
- The baked cheesecake tart can be wrapped tightly and frozen, without the cranberry topping, for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours before topping and serving.
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