Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mini Tarts

I love pies. The crispness of the pie crust and the soft filling provides contrast in texture. A few months ago, I had an idea for a mini apple tart, composed of some apple slices placed on top of a round of pie crust. It was quite delicious, but I found that the apples weighed down the crust and didn’t allow for the maximum rise. I had debuted the mini apple tarts during a large gathering among friends and one of my mom’s friends had really enjoyed the tart. With summatives and projects wrapping up, I finally had a some time to study for exams bake something. I decided to make some mini pie crusts for my mom’s friend.

The concept is very simple: I baked the mini pie crusts and after they cooled, I topped them with various jams, creams, and fruits. In retrospect, these mini pie crusts are quite similar to puff pastry. But the process of making this sort of dough is much simpler and less time-consuming than preparing puff pastry.

from top to bottom:
sweetened whipped cream with fresh berries,
mascarpone with soaked dried cherries,
apple butter with parmigiano reggiano.
I didn’t have any apples on hand, so I couldn’t recreate the original apple tart. Instead, I developed three new combinations: sweetened whipped cream with fresh berries, mascarpone cream with soaked dried cherries, and apple butter with parmigiano reggiano.

Parmigiano reggiano and apple butter might sound like an odd combination, but believe me, it tastes good. Even my mom, who’s not a big fan of sweet and salty fusions, agreed that the apple butter and cheese worked well together. The slightly salty bite of the cheese cut through the sweetness of the apple butter and contributed some creaminess to the mini tart.

Who doesn’t love mini desserts?

Click below for the recipe.


Mini Tarts

You could really top these mini pie crusts with anything: jam, whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, fruit etc.

Yield: 12 mini tarts
                             
Ingredients:
Pie Crust:
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water

Fillings:
  • ½ cup apple butter
  • 3 oz parmigiano reggiano
OR
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dried fruit (I used dried cherries) 
  • enough juice to cover the fruit (a clear juice like apple, or white grape would work well; I use what I had on hand: mango)
OR
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh berries

Directions:
Pie Crust:
In a large bowl, stir flour and salt together. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form.
In a small bowl, stir lemon juice with water. 

Gradually add a few teaspoons of water to the flour-butter mixture at a time. Stir and push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat until all flour is moistened. Form the pastry into a flattened ball, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to ¼-inch thick. Using a 3 or 4-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place on a baking sheet and prick the dough with a fork. 

Bake pie shell for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow the mini pies to cool before topping.

Filling: 
For the apple butter/parmigiano reggiano combination, spread a thin layer of apple butter (it’s very sweet) on the mini pie crust. Grate some parmigiano reggiano cheese over top. 

For the mascarpone cream, beat the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread the cream over the mini pie crust and top with some dried fruit. 

For the sweetened whipped cream, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together until medium peaks. Spoon some cream onto the mini pie crust and top with fresh berries.

3 comments:

  1. These tarts look so delicious! And easy =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. omigoodness, these are sooo adorable! they look scrumptious!

    ReplyDelete

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