Are you planning a shower, reception, or a graduation party? These Mascarpone Cheesecake Mini-Tarts are a sweet idea perfect for any celebration–except maybe a kid’s birthday party.
If you have followed this blog for more than a week or two, you know I love to make mini-tarts with various fillings. Recently, I accepted an assignment to make blueberry cheesecake tarts for a wedding shower at our church. The bride picked a blue color scheme, so blueberries and blackberries were the obvious choice for the fruit on top.
The Backstory on Mascarpone Cheesecake Mini-Tarts
Because I enjoy shortbread more than graham crackers (unless they’re homemade), I wanted to use my favorite shortbread crust recipe for the tart shells. However, store-bought shells are perfectly acceptable. Because the shells are pre-baked, an uncooked filling seemed preferable to traditional baked cheesecake filling with eggs.
I used to work with a gal (Hi, Daphne) who put me on to mascarpone cheese. It’s the fancy, more expensive, creamier, and Italian cousin of cream cheese. If you can’t find mascarpone at your grocery story, you could substitute cream cheese.
Did you know you can make your own mascarpone cheese? I just tried it myself last night. Wow! That stuff is dangerous!
Back to the tart filling…mascarpone cheese combined with melted white chocolate chips and sour cream creates a little bite of heaven in your mouth. Fold in some frozen whipped topping (sorry, I know–not the healthiest ingredient, but you won’t be getting that much unless you eat the whole batch) to lighten the mixture. A touch of vanilla bean paste adds sophistication. That’s it.
Spoon or pipe the slightly-chilled filling into your tart shells for a two-bite dessert just rich enough and sweet enough to enhance whatever fruit you choose to put on top. Beside that, you can eat them out of hand like a cookie if you want, making them a good choice for a buffet or dessert table.
Here’s the best news of all. You can prepare these little jewels at least 2-3 days ahead of time except for placing the fruit on top which should wait until you are almost ready to serve.
Kitchen Secret for Mascarpone Cheesecake Mini-Tarts:
When you make the filling, it’s VERY IMPORTANT the mascarpone cheese be at room temperature. If it is still cold when you add the warm white chocolate, the chocolate will harden as soon as it hits the cold cheese, leaving you with a lumpy filling. 🙁
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature (may substitute cream cheese)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 5 tablespoons frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 24 mini-tart shells (store-bought or make them yourself)
- 2 teaspoons apple or currant jelly, warmed slightly until runny
- Beat mascarpone cheese in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. (I use a portable mixer.)
- Melt white chocolate chips in a small oven-proof bowl in a microwave. Heat for 45 seconds on 50% power and stir. Repeat until chips are melted.
- Add chocolate to cheese and whip. Then add sour cream and keep whipping until well-combined.
- Use a light touch and a spatula to fold in the whipped topping just until filling is smooth.
- Spoon or pipe (ziplock bag with a small snip across one corner works well) filling into baked mini-tart shells, either store-bought or hand-made.
- Chill. Before serving, add fruit of your choice. Refrain from washing the fruit, but gently wipe each berry clean with a damp paper towel.
- Lightly glaze fruit by dabbing melted apple or currant jelly onto each piece of fruit after you have placed it on the tart. No worries if you have the occasional drip.
Please note the amount of tarts you end up with is in direct proportion to the size of your tart shells and how much filling you put in each tart. I use these tart shell liners from Amazon if you want to know the size you see in the pictures.