Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets for a Special Holiday Dessert

Carol Lander
by Carol Lander
12 tartlets
45 min

Do cherry cheesecake tartlets that are not too sweet and topped off like Rudolph’s red nose sound delicious? These bite-size treats are so pretty that Santa would trade in his milk and cookies for them.

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Although delicious, a slice of this rich, cream cheese dessert can be filling at the end of a meal. I have an alternative – Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets – a little bite of goodness.

These mini-cheesecakes are a super small version. The just-right size dessert provides a satisfying finale to a holiday meal, but doesn’t leave you feeling like Santa Claus after a night of milk and cookies.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

These cherry cheesecake tarts just have the look of Christmas to them.

You know me. I love mini-desserts. The great thing about the cherry cheesecake tarts is that they contrast beautifully with the brownies with raspberries that I’ve shared, both in flavor and presentation.

Nervous about making cheesecakes? (I used to hear that from students over the years.)

Don’t be. I’m going to walk you through the preparation. At the end of the post, I have a PRINTABLE CHEESECAKE TIPS for you.

Special Holiday Dessert: Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

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How hard can a 6~ingredient dessert be? Most of these ingredients are ones you may keep in your pantry, fridge or freezer.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Ingredients for the Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Crust Ingredients

  • graham crackers
  • unsalted butter

Filling Ingredients

  • cream cheese, softened
  • large egg
  • vanilla extract
  • granulated sugar
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Equipment for the Cherry Cheesecake Tarts

A regular-size cheesecake requires a cheesecake pan (It has solid sides with a pop~up bottom and at least 3~inch sides.).

These cheesecake tarts use a 12-cup mini cheesecake pan, readily available online or at your local kitchen store. Each cup has a removable bottom, making getting the cheesecakes out a breeze. I’ve also used this pan, each cup lined with foil, to make individual cakes.

A food processor is the best tool to make your graham cracker crumbs. I’ve had my Kitchen Aid for about 18 years and it is just a workhorse.

An electric mixer is used to make the filling. Mine is also a Kitchen Aid and it’s the best mixer I’ve ever had.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Making the Cheesecake Crust

Make the graham cracker crumbs. Break the crackers up as you put them in the processor bowl. Pulse several times first and then turn to ON to process into fine crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick) in the microwave.

Add the melted butter to the cracker crumbs and stir until completely moistened. It may not look like there is enough butter, but I promise there is.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Spray the cheesecake cups with cooking spray.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of cracker/butter mixture into each cup. Equally divide any remaining crumb mixture among the cups.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Using a tart tapper, press the crust down until firm in the cup. (I love this little gadget.)

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Place in the freezer until chilled thoroughly.

NOTE: The crust can be placed in the freezer several hours ahead, if necessary.

Making and Baking the Cheesecake Filling

NOTE: Make sure that all your ingredients – the cream cheese and egg ~ are room temperature. It may take a few hours. It’s O.K. to leave out overnight if you are planning to bake in the morning.

Beat the cream cheese in the electric mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.

Gradually add the sugar and beat for another minute.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Add the egg and beat until completely blended. The batter will turn a pale yellow.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Evenly divide the filling in the 12~cup pan.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

NOTE: I like to use an ice cream scoop for this step. Each cup will need a little over 2 tablespoons of filling. Use it all!

Bake the cheesecake tarts for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

Remove the cheesecake pan from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Using a small metal spatula or paring knife, go around the edge of each cheesecake tart, loosening the cheesecake from the side of the cup.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Using a wooden spoon handle or your finger, push up the bottom of the cup to release the cheesecake tart. Then use the tip of a paring knife to separate the metal bottom from the cheesecake.

Sometimes the bottom just falls off.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Set the cheesecake tartlets on a parchment-lined sheet pan and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Garnishing the Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Using a small spoon, place 1 ~ 3 cherries on the center top of each cheesecake tartlet.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Other toppings: fruit preserves, such as strawberry or raspberry.

Return the cherry cheesecakes, covered, to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlet Recipe

Equipment You’ll Need for these Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets

Aren’t these the prettiest little bites of cherry goodness? I hope that you’ll make them. I’m taking them to an annual Christmas dinner for a group of my sorority sisters. I know they’ll love them. Wouldn’t you?

Get your Printable Cheesecake Tips and be sure to PIN this recipe and tutorial.

Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets for a Special Holiday Dessert
Recipe details
  • 12  tartlets
  • Prep time: 25 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Cheesecake Filling and Garnish
  • 1 8-ounch package cream cheese softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup pie cherries or fruit preserves of choice
Graham Cracker Crust
Use cooking spray to grease each cheesecake cup.
Break up graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to break up. Then run the processor until the crackers are fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl.
Add the melted butter to the cracker crumbs and thoroughly combine.
Divide the mixture among the cheesecake cups, about 2 tablespoons each. Add any remaining crumbs evenly among the cups. Press down the crumbs/butter mixture with the tart taper.
Freeze the cheesecake crust while preparing the filiing.
Cheesecake Filling
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Using an ice-cream scoop, divide the mixture evenly among the chilled cheesecake cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on the counter for 20 minutes. The cheesecakes may sink a bit in the middle. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve, preferrably for at least 2 hours.
To remove cheesecakes from cups, run a small metal spatula around the edge of the cup. Using a wooden spoon or your fingers, push up the bottom of the removable cup bottom. Remove the disc from the bottom of the cheesecake with a paring or butter knife. Place the tartlets on a parchment-lined sheet pan as you remove them from the cheesecake pan.
Using a small spoon, place about ½ teaspoon of cherries or chosen preserves on top of each cheesecake. Either serve or place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to serve.
  • NOTE: All cheesecake ingredients should be at room temperature to ensure a smooth filling.
Carol Lander
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