This time of year, adorable mini cranberry tarts are the perfect gluten-free dessert! They will take you through the holiday season… starting with Thanksgiving through festive baking at Christmas and New Year’s and all the way to Valentine’s Day.
- 24-Cup Mini Muffin Pan: You’ll only use 12 of the 24 cups.
- Baking Sheet: The baking sheet stabilizes your muffin pan, recommended if you are using a silicone muffin pan. You’ll also need it to bake the decorative tart crust shapes to top the mini cranberry tarts.
- 3-Inch Circle Cutter: The top of a glass or jar also works for cutting out the mini pie crusts.
- Small Cookie scoop: Optional for scooping cranberry sauce. Or use a tablespoon.
- Seasonal Mini Pastry Cutters: Choose from leaves, snowflakes, stars, hearts, or any seasonal shape to decorate beautiful tarts. I use these adorable leaf-shaped pasty cutters for this recipe, and for my gluten-free pumpkin pie.
- Flour Sifter or Fine-Mesh Sieve: Optional for sprinkling powdered sugar on these holiday desserts.
One of the best things about this treat is that it can be made with leftovers. Unused pie dough (or even excess dough scraps) and leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday table are transformed into a charming tart recipe the next day. I’m the biggest fan of keeping things simple!
You couldn’t dream up an easier dessert that’s this impressive!
You can adjust the quantities up or down depending on how much leftover cranberry sauce and pie dough you have to work with.
Gluten-Free Pie Dough
I use one dough disk from my easy Gluten-Free Pie Crust recipe, made with gluten-free flour, cold butter, salt, and cold water. It makes a buttery, flaky, mini tart crust.
The recipe makes two gluten-free crusts, so I often have a leftover crust from baking holiday pies. I wrap the unused pie dough disc in plastic wrap and store it in a Ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer until needed.
To double the recipe for 24 cranberry tart crusts, use both pie crusts.
Or use your favorite gluten-free pie crust recipe or even ready-made Schar Gluten-Free Puff Pastry.
I use my homemade Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce Recipe. You simply combine sugar, a bag of cranberries, apple cider, and warm spices in a medium saucepan on medium high heat until most of the fresh cranberries have popped. The tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with seasonal spices and sweet cider.
Use your favorite cranberry sauce recipe or pick up ready-made gluten-free cranberry sauce.
Like the pie crust, you can use a whole recipe of cranberry sauce if you want to double the recipe.
This ingredient is optional and purely decorative. The cranberry sauce already has just the right amount of sweetness.
Preheat the oven to 400℉. Roll out the pie dough to about 1/8″ thickness on a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking. You can also use a light dusting of gluten-free flour.
Cut out twelve 3-inch circles. Just like cutting out cookies, you can gather scraps and re-roll the dough until you get all 12 circles.
Also, cut out twelve seasonal shapes from the dough. Leaves for Thanksgiving, snowflakes for Christmas, stars for New Year’s Eve, and hearts for Valentine’s Day add a beautiful decorative (and delicious) touch to these tarts.
Place the decorative shapes on a baking sheet and place in the fridge until ready to bake.
Place the dough circles in the cups of a mini muffin pan, gently pressing the dough into the bottom of every other cup.
I stagger the dough crusts in the muffin cups to make room the crust edges.
For the edges, fold the top of each crust down along the edge of each cup. You can be as creative as you want here. I leave a simple edge, but you can crimp edges with a fork or create a decorative edge, just as you would with a large pie.
Fill each tart shell with the cranberry mixture. A small cookie scooper, if you already own one, makes this an easy job. Otherwise, a heaping tablespoon works just fine.
Place the decorative shapes and cranberry tarts in the oven and bake at 400℉ until the crusts are golden brown.
Because I use a silicone muffin pan, I place it on a baking sheet to stabilize it and tuck the cut-out shapes along the edges.
The decorative shapes will be ready in about 7 minutes, and the cranberry tarts in approximately 15-18 minutes.
Let the tarts cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Decorate the tarts with the seasonal shape cut-outs and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Or choose one of the garnishment ideas below. Enjoy warm!
- Seasonal Pie Dough Cut-Outs: From leaves to snowflakes, these little pastry toppers add a dressed-up touch.
- Powdered Sugar: Sprinkled over the whole tart or just the seasonal cut outs.
- Orange Zest: If your family recipe sauce includes oranges or orange juice, top the tarts with a little bit of orange peel shavings.
- Sugared Cranberries: This easy (and surprisingly delicious) garnish glistens next these cranberry tarts.
- Whipped Cream: You’ll love this recipe for Homemade Maple Whipped Cream Recipe sweetened with pure maple syrup. Or grab a can of Reddi-Wip, it’s labeled gluten-free.
These tarts can be served at room temperature, but they are at their very best when served warm.
If you are looking for a make-ahead option, prep the tarts and store unbaked, covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Pop in the oven about 20-25 minutes before serving. Your house will instantly have the feel-good aroma of Thanksgiving!
If baking ahead, store in an airtight container in the freezer, as the crust will dry out in the fridge. Thaw the tarts on the counter prior to serving.
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Cut these fabulous pumpkin cheesecake bars into bite-sized treats and add them and cranberry tarts to a stunning Thanksgiving Gluten-Free Dessert Charcuterie Board.
- Easy Gluten-Free Crepes Recipe: Another great use for leftover cranberry sauce… filling for gluten-free crepes!
- Gluten-Free Turkey Pot Pie: This 1-skillet recipe will use up more Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, veggies and pie crust).
Gluten-Free Mini Cranberry Tarts
- Mini muffin pan – 24 cup
- 3" circle biscuit or cookie cutter (the top of a glass or jar also works for cutting out mini pie crusts)
- small cookie scoop (optional for scooping cranberry sauce)
- Mini seasonal cookie/pastry cutters (optional for topping with decorative seasonal shapes)
- fine mesh sieve (optional for sprinkling powdered sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 400℉.
- Roll out the pie dough on a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Cut out 12 3-inch circles and 12 seasonal shapes (such as leaves for Thanksgiving, snowflakes for Christmas, stars for New Year’s Eve, and hearts for Valentine’s Day).
- Place the decorative shapes on a baking sheet and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake with the tarts.
- Place the dough circles in a mini muffin pan, gently pressing the dough into the bottom of every other cup. Fold the top of each crust down along the edge of the to create a simple mini crust.
- Use a cookie scooper or heaping tablespoon to fill each mini pie dough with cranberry sauce.
- Bake decorative shapes and cranberry tarts at 400℉ until golden brown. The decorative shapes will be ready in about 7 minutes, and the cranberry tarts approximately 15-18 minutes.
- Allow tarts to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Top tarts with decorative seasonal shapes and sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional). Enjoy warm!