This dessert was the only one on my list that I was a little weary of making. I've found that fresh ginger in a dish can turn people off, but since I knew I'd love this dessert, I figured I wouldn't mind eating it for dessert, breakfast the next morning, dessert the next day, and so on. Well, with the exception of 2 slices, I pretty much did! The recipe is written with a chocolate cookie crust, but I didn't have enough chocolate cookies left, so I used the ginger cat cookies that I used for the bourbon pumpkin cheesecake.
I loved the cranberry topping, and would definitely consider making a cranberry/lemon/ginger relish in the future! I don't know that this is a big crowd pleaser, but if the ginger was omitted and a little more zest (orange + lemon) was added, I think it would satisfy most. Also, don't cover it tightly with plastic wrap, you'll have a flat layer of cranberry... not so pretty!
1/2 cup cranberry juice, divided
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (made from about 6 1/2 ounces cookies, finely ground in processor)
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Thin strips of crystallized ginger (optional garnish)
For cranberry topping:
Pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over.
Let stand until softened, 15 minutes.
Combine 1/4 cup cranberry juice, cranberries, and next 5 ingredients in medium saucepan; bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat to medium; simmer until cranberries are tender but still plump, 5 minutes.
Strain into bowl; set cranberries aside.
Add gelatin mixture to hot juice in bowl; stir until gelatin dissolves.
Stir cranberries back into juice.
Chill until cranberry mixture is cold and slightly thickened, at least 8 hours or overnight.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Stir chopped crystallized ginger into cranberry mixture.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Combine chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and stir until crumbs feel moist when pressed together with fingertips, adding remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter if mixture is dry.
Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
Bake chocolate crust until beginning to set and slightly crisp, pressing with spoon if crust puffs during baking, about 14 minutes.
Transfer tart pan to rack and cool crust completely before filling.
For mascarpone filling:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients except ginger in medium bowl just until thick enough to spread (do not overbeat or mixture may curdle).
Spread filling in cooled crust.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Spoon cranberry mixture evenly over mascarpone filling.
Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
Garnish with crystallized ginger strips, if desired.
Cut tart into wedges and serve cold.