Smaller gatherings call for smaller desserts. I don’t know if that is actually true, but what I do know is that these tiny tarts are not only adorable, but they are easy to make and totally delicious. I have long held that baby anythings are cute. Except baby birds, right? But these tiny boozy, Cranberry Cheesecake Mini Tarts are absolutely stunning.
During the holidays, or Tuesdays, adding booze makes it a celebration. A splash on the wrist, in my coffee, on a salad, and yes, in my desserts just really screams festive. But in all seriousness, because we grew up with my Mom’s famous New England Rum Pie, I am a firm believer that booze and cheesecake have a natural affinity. Depending on what kind you add, it acts as a flavor enhancer, adds some depth, and can help temper some of the richness of a cream cheese filling.
I knew when I saw this recipe in Southern Living I’d have to adapt it to be gluten-free. But I can never leave well enough alone. I think that the addition of Grand Marnier is so perfect in both the (no bake!) cheesecake filling and the cranberry compote that tops it. I believe that these two-bite Cranberry Cheesecake Mini Tarts will be making a regular appearance at our holiday parties (haha) from now on, especially this year because tiny parties = tiny desserts.
Drizzled with a cranberry compote that is both bright in color and flavor, and topped with sugared cranberries, these Boozy Cranberry Mini Tarts are the perfect addition to your holiday dessert lineup. Happy Holidays!
Looking for more holiday recipes? Check these out:
- Rum Soaked Prune Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce
- Cranberry Frangipane Tart
- Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cupcakes
- Mini Caramel Apple Cakes
If you make this recipe, or any of my others be sure to tag me on Instagram, and use the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes!
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- sanding sugar or granulated sugar (for tossing cranberries in)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cups finely crushed crisp gingersnap cookies (about 12 ounces - I buy my gluten-free gingersnaps from Trader Joes)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup fresh cranberries
- zest and juice from one orange
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 2 (8-oz.) pkg. light cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup light sour cream
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Make a simple syrup by putting one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan and heating just until the sugar is dissolved (do not simmer). Remove from heat, add cranberries, cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour or overnight. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat with sanding sugar or granulated sugar. Remove the cranberries from the sugar syrup with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drip off. Place cranberries on sugared baking sheet and roll to coat in sugar, adding more as necessary. Allow to dry. Sugared cranberries can be stored up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Make the gingersnap crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside. Crush the cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Stir in the melted butter and sea salt and divide the mixture evenly into the muffin cups pressing up the sides with the back of a spoon. Bake for about 15 minutes or until set (it will look buttery). Press the crust firmly into the bottom and sides of the cup using a spoon. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes. Then gently lift from the cups.
- While the crusts are baking make the compote. Stir together orange zest, orange juice, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and cranberries in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally and mashing cranberries with the back of a spoon, until mixture is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a fork, mash cranberries until mixture is almost smooth. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. (If needed, stir in up to 1 tablespoon water, ½ teaspoon at a time, until mixture has consistency of loose jam.)
- Make the filling. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, Grand Marnier, and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cheesecake mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large (¾-inch) open star tip.
- Pipe the cheesecake mixture decoratively into the cooled tart crusts. Drizzle over the compote and top with sugared cranberries (and fresh mint if you have any on hand). Serve immediately or refrigerate up to one day.