These cranberry brie puff pastry tarts are altogether sweet, savory, salty, buttery, and flaky. You can use store-bought puff pastry, but if you can spare a few hours for the dough to chill in the refrigerator, I urge you to try this surprisingly simple homemade puff pastry instead. Finished with a sparkle of coarse sugar and flaky sea salt, these cheesy handheld tartlets will steal the show at any holiday gathering.
Today we’re taking a pie hiatus (pie-atus?!) from dessert with these cranberry brie puff pastry tarts. Pies and tarts shouldn’t be limited to dessert—that’s why we can enjoy recipes like quiche, cheesy vegetable tart, and chicken pot pie. Today’s personal-sized tartlets are perfect as an appetizer before the main meal, or offered on a tray at a cocktail party.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Brie Puff Pastry Tarts
- Texture: You can actually hear the crispy texture of baked puff pastry. When you bite into it, the delicately light layers crackle as they separate, a full-on sensory experience! That crispy flaky texture holds a soft interior—melty brie cheese and jammy cranberries.
- Flavor: Buttery, creamy brie cheese pairs beautifully with sweet, fruity cranberry sauce with hints of orange. A sprinkling of coarse sugar, flaky sea salt, and fresh thyme take all these flavors to new heights. You can also add pecans for a little nuttiness. (You may already have enough nuttiness at your holiday gatherings, but a little more couldn’t hurt, right? 😉 )
- Ease: Making the cranberry sauce is very easy, and you can do it ahead of time. If you use store-bought puff pastry dough, the entire recipe is quick and convenient for beginner bakers. With the homemade puff pastry dough, I’d categorize this tart as intermediate-level baking. It’s not complicated at all; it just requires shaping and precise folding.
Look how flaky! This is my homemade puff pastry dough.
You Can Make the Puff Pastry From Scratch
You can use store-bought puff pastry for these tarts, but homemade puff pastry is next-level good. The pictured cranberry brie tarts are made from the same handmade rough puff pastry dough I use for berry turnovers, butternut squash tart, and cinnamon palmiers. Hundreds of readers have tried the homemade dough and are pleasantly surprised with its ease. (It was a community baking challenge recipe one year!) If you can find a few hours, which can easily be broken up over a couple days, try the homemade dough. It’s so worth it! You can watch a video tutorial in the rough puff pastry post.
More About This Shortcut Pastry Dough
- 5 Easy Ingredients: Flour, salt, sugar, butter, and water
- No Yeast, No Laminating: Unlike the breakfast pastries dough, this dough does not require any yeast, and unlike croissants and traditional puff pastry, this dough does not require laminating with a separate layer of butter.
- Flatten & Fold Dough: Flatten dough and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After that 1st refrigeration, flatten and fold the dough like a business letter 6x. Chill in the refrigerator 1 more time for at least 15 minutes. After that, the dough is ready to use for this recipe.
Here’s Everything You Need for Today:
Make Your Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Have you made this cranberry sauce before? It’s a family favorite, and it’s really quick and easy. For these tarts, I halved the recipe because you don’t need as much (this version yields a heaping 1/2 cup, or 180g), but feel free to make the full recipe from that post if you are also going to be serving cranberry sauce with your meal. You can make this ahead of time because it keeps well in the refrigerator.
Here’s what you need to make it:
- Orange (juice + zest)
- Sugar (or brown sugar)
- Vanilla Extract
FAQ: Can I Use Frozen Cranberries? You can use fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried). If using frozen, no need to fully thaw—just rinse them with water before using.
When you have your puff pastry dough and cranberry sauce ready, grab the remaining ingredients:
- Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with a little milk or water.
- Brie Cheese: You need about 6 ounces, or 170g, of brie cheese. You don’t need to splurge on expensive cheese—any mild double cream or triple cream brie will do.
- Coarse Sugar & Flaky Sea Salt
- Pecans: Nuts are optional.
FAQ: Should I Leave the Rind on the Brie?
Cheese aficionados say yes, absolutely. The bloomy rind is there intentionally and its earthy flavor is meant to complement the soft cheese inside. But you’re in charge of your flaky little cheese tarts, so if you want to cut the rind off, go ahead. The tarts will be tasty either way.
How to Assemble the Cranberry Brie Tarts
Roll out the dough to be *about* 12×16 inches:
Squares don’t have to be perfect; mine never are!
Place a slice/piece of brie, about 1/2 ounce or 14g, in the center of each dough-lined muffin cup. Add 2 heaping teaspoons of cranberry sauce on top of each.
Gently fold in each corner of the dough squares toward the centers of the tarts, tucking in that delicious filling. (Night-night!) Sprinkle a little bit of coarse sugar over the top of each one (sweet dreams!) and they’re ready to bake. 🙂
If adding pecans, wait and add them halfway through the baking time, to ensure they don’t burn.
Don’t Forget Your Finishing Touches!
You’re almost done.
After the cranberry brie tarts have finished baking, sprinkle some chopped fresh thyme and flaky sea salt on top, and serve immediately. They taste best warm, but that shouldn’t be a problem… in my experience, they’ve never lasted long enough to get cold!!
I hope you LOVE these.
These cranberry brie tarts come together with puff pastry dough, brie cheese, and homemade cranberry sauce. You can use store-bought puff pastry, but if you can spare a few hours for the dough to chill in the refrigerator, I urge you to try this surprisingly simple homemade puff pastry instead.
- 1 lb homemade rough puff pastry, or store-bought frozen & thawed puff pastry (2 sheets)
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) water or milk
- 1 cup (100g) fresh cranberries, rinsed*
- 6 Tablespoons (90ml) water
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh orange juice*
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest*
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 6 ounces (170g) brie cheese
- coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- optional: 1–2 pecan halves for each
- optional for garnish: flaky sea salt & fresh thyme
- Dough: Prepare homemade rough puff pastry dough through 2nd refrigeration. If using store-bought frozen puff pastry, make sure it’s thawed. Keep either dough in the refrigerator until step 4 below.
- Make the Cranberry Sauce: After rinsing the cranberries, set 1/4 cup (25g) cranberries aside. You will stir these in at the end for extra texture. Combine the remaining cranberries, water, orange juice, and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the mixture comes to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low. While stirring occasionally, continue to cook until liquid has reduced and cranberries have burst and thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup reserved cranberries, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Allow to cool slightly while you continue.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan (I use nonstick spray).
- On a lightly floured work surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll pastry dough into a 12×16-inch rectangle; it doesn’t have to be perfect. (Tip if using 2 sheets of store-bought: place the edge of one sheet over the other and use a rolling pin to adhere them together. Roll the whole thing out into a 12×16-inch rectangle.) With a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 4-inch squares. (Again, doesn’t have to be perfect.)
- Egg Wash & Assemble: Brush egg wash all over puff pastry squares, including the edges. Transfer the squares to the prepared muffin pan, pressing them down to fill each cup as a “crust.” Slice the brie into 12 pieces, about 1/2 ounce (14g) each. Place the slices of brie in the centers of the dough crusts. Top each with a spoonful (about 2 heaping teaspoons) of slightly warm or cold cranberry sauce. Gently fold the corners of the dough in toward the center of each tart. Sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops of tarts.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until tarts are golden brown. If adding pecans, at the 10-minute mark, gently place them in the center of each tart and continue baking for the remaining 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and garnish each tart with flaky sea salt and fresh thyme leaves. Cool for a couple minutes, and then use a spoon to help remove the tarts from the pan. Serve warm.
- Cover and store leftover tarts in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for a few minutes before serving.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: If using homemade dough, see the detailed dough recipe instructions for make-ahead and freezing details. You can essentially prep the dough 48 hours in advance or freeze up to 1 month. You can prepare the cranberry sauce up to 3 days ahead of time. Cool completely, cover tightly, and then refrigerate until ready to use. You can freeze the baked and cooled tarts for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat (covered with aluminum foil) in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 15 minutes before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Rolling Pin | USA Pan Muffin Pan or Wilton Muffin Pan | Zester | Citrus Juicer
- Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. No need to fully thaw. Rinse the frozen cranberries with water in a colander before using. No need to pat dry.
- Orange Juice & Zest: You need fresh orange juice and orange zest. I recommend zesting the orange first, setting the zest aside, then cutting the orange for the juice. (Harder to zest a cut orange!)
- Brie: You can use any brie cheese, double or triple cream. No need to remove the rind.
- Full-Size Tart: You can turn this recipe into a full-size tart baked on a baking sheet, and the baking instructions will be different. I recommend following the assembly and baking instructions from this recipe for butternut squash tart. Spread cranberry sauce over egg-washed dough and dot pieces of brie on top before baking. Feel free to sprinkle with coarse sugar, then add pecans halfway through bake time, and finish with flaky sea salt and fresh thyme before serving.
Keywords: cranberry brie tarts