Mini Twofer Tartlettes

For a holiday party I’m attending this weekend, I made these Mini Twofer Tartlettes to share. Recently, fellow food bloggers prepared Dorie’s Thanksgiving Twofer pie. This pie combines both pecan and pumpkin pie into one. Using this pie as my inspiration, I made my favorite Pecan Tassies recipe but added canned pumpkin for addition flavor and texture. I haven’t made or tried Dorie’s Thanksgiving Twofer pie, but if it tastes anything like these tartlettes, I’d gladly take a slice!

Mini Twofer Tartlettes
inspired by Dorie Greenspan of Baking: From My Home to Yours.
makes 48 tartlettes

Tartlette dough:
1 cup butter
1 brick cream cheese
2 cups flour

Filling:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup canned pumpkin

For dough – Beat butter and cream cheese. Add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Chill for 5-10 minutes.

For filling – Melt butter/margarine and stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Add chopped pecans.

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare a mini muffin pan by spraying wells with cooking spray.

Take chilled dough and break off a small piece of dough and roll into a ball. Place ball of dough in each well of your mini muffin pan. Dough will make 48 balls of dough.

Using a tart shaper or your fingers, press the ball of dough up the sides of each well to form a mini tart.

Fill each tart with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin and top with a 1/2 teaspoon of pecan filling (or vice versa – pecan filling first, pumpkin on top).

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden around the edges.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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Heirloom Tomato Tart

The following recipe was made & shared for my Tomato Event. You can read and get links to other recipes shared HERE.

Heirloom Tomato Tart
shared at the event by Chrissy
recipe HERE

2 large onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
butter pastry dough for a single-crust 12-inch tart
1/2 pound Jack or Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound plum tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 pound medium yellow tomatoes (about 2) or 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 cup Niçoise olives, pitted

In a large heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in oil, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid evaporates. Remove skillet from heat to cool onions slightly.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll dough into a 14-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick). Fold round in half and transfer to a 12-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim or a 12-inch quiche dish. Unfold dough, easing to fit, and trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang toward center and press against side of pan or dish. Spread onion mixture over dough and top with cheese. Arrange tomato wedges and olives in concentric circles over cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Bake tart in middle of oven 1 hour, or until pastry is golden, and cool on a rack. Remove rim of pan if necessary.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Key Lime Tarts

And for dessert during our Independence Day, I made Key Lime Tarts, using a recipe from Peabody of Culinary Concoctions of Peabody. She has a delicious blog that always has me wishing I were in the Pacific Northwest! What inspired me to use Peabody’s recipe was the recent Tasty Tools blog event entry of Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life. Carrie recently made the same recipe last month. So seeing her recipe submission and having some fresh key limes from Florida on hand (from my friend Jessy), it was only logical for me to make it. Whoa – that was a long explanation for why I made this, huh? Sorry… I wanted to make sure I give credit where credit was due!Here is Peabody’s recipe for Key Lime Pie, which I made to fill small tart shells:

1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated key lime zest, divided
5 egg yolks
whipped cream, for garnish
6 pre-made graham cracker tart shells

Whisk sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolks. Whisk in Mascarpone cheese. Stir in whipping cream and lime juice. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest. Pour into a prepared graham cracker tart shells and bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes.

What a day in the kitchen! Although it wasn’t quite a day of freedom from cooking and baking, I thoroughly enjoyed it… and sharing my creations with my husband. Here’s wishing you all had a fabulous Fourth of July!

It’s TART-tastic!

Today my What’s Cookin Chicago group and I spent the afternoon at Delightful Pastries bakery where my friend, Chef Dobra, is the head pastry chef/owner. We learned quite a bit about tarts, from making the perfect dough, sweet & savory fillings and making them ourselves. It was a great opportunity to play in a bakery kitchen! Each of us made our own sweet and savory tarts (2 of each) under the instruction of Chef Dobra. Here are pics of the event, along with the tart & filling recipes shared with us by Chef Dobra.

Ricotta & Creme Fraiche Savory Tart Base Mixture
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
choice of quiche fillings*

— Combine the above ingredients except for the fillings.
* Note: vegetable fillings should be cooked & cooled prior to adding to the quiche mixture.

Basic Quiche Base Mixture
1 quart heavy cream
8 eggs
1 teaspoon salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
choice of quiche fillings*

— Combine the above ingredients except for the fillings.

* Note: vegetable fillings should be cooked & cooled prior to adding to the quiche mixture.

Flaky Short-Crust Pastry
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons ice water

— Combine flour, butter and salt in food processor or mixing bowll. Process for 10-12 seconds, or mash with your fingertips until the mixture has a dry & crumbly resembling coarse cornmeal.
— Add the water to the mixture and pulse 12-14 times or work together with your fingertips until the dough begins to hold together into a mass, but before it turns into a ball. (The dough can become tough if overprocessed.)

— If the dough is too dry or dense, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and pulse 2-3 times, or work with your fingertips.

Sugar Tart Crust

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup cake flour
all-purpose flour for dusting

— In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter & sugar for about 2 minutes.
— Add the egg yolk. Continue mixing on med-hi speed for 1-2 min, until pale yellow in color and smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.
— Add cake flour; mix on low speed just until blended – don’t over mix! Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and gently pat into a ball. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
— Lightly butter your tart pan or rings.
— Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Let dough sit on counter for 20 min until pliable yet cool to touch.
— On lightly floured surface gently knead dough a few times. Pat into ball and flatten into a 5 inch round disk. With a floured rolling pin, begin rolling from the center out, lifting & turning every 90 degrees until about 1/8 inch thick. Dust board and pin with flour as needed.
— Gently lift & roll the dough onto the rolling pin. Place dough in the buttered tart pan or cut rounds to fit into mini tarts.
— Work dough into the tart pan/ring and up sides. Allow prepared tart pan/rings to chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. When chilled, trim tops of tart pan/rings of excess dough.
— Dock bottom of dough with tines of a fork to prevent the dough from puffing in the oven.

Tip- remove tart pan bottoms and bake without them. This produces a wonderfully golden bottom crust and easy removal from the tart pan/ring.

Classic French Pastry Cream

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar, halved
2 tablespoons cornstarch

— Combine 1/8 cup sugar, milk and vanilla. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.

— In a mixing bowl, combine remaining 1/8 cup sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Mix with the paddle attachment until smooth.
— When milk mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and slowly add it to the mixing bowl with the egg yolk mixture.

— Mix on high until fully combined. Spread cream onto a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until cooled.Here are pics from the class:

Mini Pecan Pie Tarts

Here are the recipes for the desserts on my Thanksgiving buffet dinner menu. I figured I’d post the recipes now before the kitchen chaos begins (and I’ll post pics of the final products by Thursday)…

Mini Pecan Pie Tarts:

1 cup butter
1 brick cream cheese
2 cups flour
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups pecan halves, chopped

For dough – Beat butter and cream cheese. Add flour and mix until a soft dough forms.

For filling – Melt butter/margarine and stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Add chopped pecans.

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare a mini muffin pan with small balls of dough (melon baller size) in each well.
Using a tart shaper or your fingers, press the ball of dough up the sides of each well to form a mini tart.
Fill each tart with filling.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Lemon Tartletts

These are great little desserts that are wonderful during the summer months, especially for company. I prepared these for my Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Dine event so that guests could see how well citrus flavors paired with the wine.

Lemon Tartletts

3 egg yolks

1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel

lemon juice from 2 lemons
24-36 tartlett shells

In a large bowl, slightly beat egg yolks and salt together w/whisk; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, and cornstarch; stir in water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat – it will be very thick.

Gradually stir a small amount of the cornstarch sugar mixture into the egg yolks to temper.
Slowly add all of the cornstarch sugar mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then transfer it all back into the suacepan.
Boil for a few seconds and remove from heat.

Stir in butter until melted.

Add zest and lemon juice; stir.

Place filling into a piping bag.

Fill with tartletts.

* For the tartlett crust, I used refridgerated pie crust dough cut in 1.5″ x 1.5″ squares and formed little cups baked in a mini muffin pan. You can also use ready to use tartlett shells and fill with other sweet or savory fillings.