Less Is More - Making Mini Tarts
In the arena of 100-calorie packaging, these little tarts fill the bill. Depending on what ingredients you use, you can keep these little tarts to 100 calories more or less per serving. They work great for parties and for small snacks when you just need something! The durability of the tart dough is unsurpassed thus far in my experience and all the tarts freeze up like a dream in freezer bags. They are ready within minutes after thawing. I try to always have a supply on hand "just in case", especially around the holidays.
Be creative with the dough as well! I have used the dough to experiment and have made mini pumpkin tarts, mini apple tarts and several quiche recipes. The important thing to remember with these little tart shells is that the ingredients themselves need to be chopped extremely fine so they will all fit inside the tart shells.
Photo: Flickr by ginnerobot
Another important point to make is to check periodically to make sure
they are not getting overly done if you experiment with other fillings.
There are hundreds of recipes on the Internet and in countless
cookbooks for tarts and/or mini-tarts and I have found the dough to be interchangeable for all recipes.
I also use it to make a large pecan tart for Thanksgiving and it performs beautifully. Same ingredients and same tart dough. You just have to watch the baking time as it is longer but you can tell as it begins to set up.
Only necessary equipment is a mini-muffin pan. A tart tool is a wonderful "luxury" but at only $3.95, it is well worth it and works both for large tarts and small tarts to press out the dough.
I always get rave reviews on these little tarts and they are very simple to make for the rewards of indulging in a few little bites of heaven!
This dough is wonderful because it holds together so well and can be kept for several days in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. Thaw out for an hour or so if you have refrigerated it and then proceed. If you are using same day, it needs to chill in the fridge for 1 hour. You can also use this dough for a 7-inch or 8-inch tart shell as well.
This recipe is extremely freezer friendly so I usually double the recipe and make up several kinds or lots of the pecan tarts and then freeze. They thaw out in minutes and hold their texture extremely well even with freezing.
INGREDIENTS (Makes 24)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened (calories go down using fat-free)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- For tart shell dough, beat butter and cream cheese in small bowl until smooth. (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer or food processor to blend)
- Add flour and salt and mix until soft dough forms. (Again I do in the mixer or processor, then scoop out into ball)
- Place in plastic wrap, chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pinch off dough and shape into 1-inch balls.
- Place balls of dough into cups of ungreased mini-muffin pan.
- Dip tart tool in flour; press into dough evenly to form tart shell. (If you do not have a tart tool, you can simply use floured fingers to press each tart shell into shape in pan)
- Fill tart shells evenly with filling mixture - see recipes for fillings - make into mini-pecan tarts or do mini-quiches, mini-lemon tarts or use another filling.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Place muffin pan on cooling rack (loosen edges with a knife if needed).
- Cool completely; pop out of muffin pan.
- Freeze if desired in freezer bags.
NOTE: These thaw out from the frozen state in just a few minutes and are just small enough to pop in your mouth - bet you can't eat just one~!
Mini Pecan Tart Filling
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, beaten (or egg substitute 1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pecans, chopped very fine
I have done this both ways, sprinkling the pecans in the formed tart shells or mixing the pecans with the other ingredients for the filling. I prefer mixing all the ingredients together as you get more a more consistent distribution of filling that way.
Either sprinkle pecans into individual tart cups or mix with all the above ingredients to prepare the filling part of the recipe. Mix all ingredients well. Then pour or spoon into the individual tart shells and bake as above 20-25 minutes. Cool and remove from pan as above.
Mini Quiche Lorraine Recipe
Prepare tart shells as above. Preheat oven to 375. Makes 24
- 1/4 pound bacon, fried, finely crumbled
- 1 cup Swiss cheese - finely grated
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup half and half (or substitute milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Dash cayenne
Fill mini-muffin shells with bacon equally. Top with grated cheese. Beat eggs, cream (or milk), salt and cayenne together lightly. Pour or spoon into shells. Note: You can also mix all ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine and fill the tart shells.
Bake 20 minutes at 375.
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Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on January 06, 2012:
Thanks, Eddy - glad you enjoyed and Happy New Year to you!
Eiddwen from Wales on January 06, 2012:
Mmm I love this one and another to bookmark.
I will let you know how I get on with it; I hope that you are having a great New year so far.
Take care and enjoy your day.
Marci on September 09, 2011:
I love this idea! Instead of mini tins I used regular muffin tins and filled them with berry filling. Delicious!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 04, 2011:
Betty - They are indeed - I always make them up though when company comes ahead of time and have them all ready in the freezer~! They take just minutes to thaw and they are SOOO good!
Betty Reid from Texas on August 04, 2011:
Thanks for the recipes. These would be great for a party!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 21, 2011:
Emma from Houston TX on March 19, 2011:
Contains lots of attractive deserts recipes.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 09, 2011:
Just watch out Phillip - they are addicting!
phillip goodson on March 09, 2011:
I've never made those! They don't look too complicated and only a few ingredients, this is one I'll try, thanks.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 03, 2011:
Thanks phen375 for stopping by - hope you enjoy!
phen375 on March 03, 2011:
Thanky you. When I have some time I will try your recepie.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 13, 2010:
Thanks, Vaselli - me too!! And most of my family and friends have taken it to heart as well, which is so cool.
Vaselli on November 13, 2010:
Love this recipe!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 12, 2010:
Thanks Katie for stopping by - these are my favorite as they are just little bites for dessert, which I love as believe it or not, I'm not a huge dessert fan! I love making them but not eating them....go figure. They work great for so many things though....really a neat recipe for everyone.
Katie McMurray from Ohio on November 11, 2010:
What fun and delicious ideas on using mini tarts. I love your mini tarts ideas and how great for thanksgiving. This is a fun dessert kids can help with. Love and Peace :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 09, 2010:
Neweyeguy - I will have to work on those post haste and maybe you should come by for a taste testing!
neweyeguy on November 08, 2010:
I need a recipe for cocunut cream mini tarts please
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on September 09, 2010:
Thanks so much for the read creamwhipper - and hope you love 'em!
creamwhipper on September 09, 2010:
I'm definitely making these this weekend. I love how versatile these seem!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 09, 2010:
Thanks for the tip, Terri - I do freeze quite a few of these empty and filled because they're great to have on hand!
Terri on August 09, 2010:
I have the pan and the tool I make a variety for wedding receptions and parties and also to stick in my Christmas goodies platters. You can make the sheels ahead - freeze them and them decide later how to fill them
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 05, 2010:
Thanks Lamme for stopping by - truly these are SO good. My favorites are the pecan mini tarts and they thaw out in a few minutes. Pop in your mouth kinda good - and you can get your fix for a piece of pie and be done with it!
Lamme on August 05, 2010:
another yummy recipe! Thanks again. :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 25, 2010:
Super! Thanks so much for stopping by!
candle62 from London on July 25, 2010:
i tried it. its wonderful
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on June 19, 2010:
My yawn - I just made some the other day with tart shells from my freezer, some lemon curd and a strawberry - delish! I hope you enjoy...it is a little morsel that you can enjoy and not feel so terribly guilty.
myawn from Florida on June 19, 2010:
sounds yummy I love fruit tarts will make these soon Thanks!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on May 31, 2010:
Thanks so much for stopping in, youngcurves!
Youngcurves19 from Hawaii on May 31, 2010:
Totally Bookmarking!!! Theres only a few ingredients!!! this is a great hub thanks for posting!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on May 06, 2010:
Thanks, Katie - hope you like them - I love the pecan tarts the best although lemon tarts or apple run right in there!
Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 06, 2010:
akirchner, OMG I love the fact you make your own dough and or crust. I DO and feel it's the only way to do it, the crust is vital to a great finished treat. I love these tarts and am adding the ingredients to my shopping list for tomorrow, MOTHERS Day will be more special with these treats and yummy tarts, I like fruit... Thanks and Peace :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 19, 2009:
Yes - I love the dough though because it is foolproof and it is so delicious - not too sweet and not too bland. And of course if they are mini tarts, you can have several! That is the theory I'm going with anyhow....thanks for stopping in....Audrey
Gustave Kilthau from USA on December 19, 2009:
Akirchner - From what I read here, you can put anything into those little shells and they would be just great. Gotta have some sugar for the dessert stuff, right?
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 03, 2009:
You can about add anything you want to these little tart pies....I just saw a Japanese recipe last night and thinking I'm going to do those up in the tarts - they are call egg custards I think....the possibilities are just endless!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 23, 2009:
These are so cute and would be great finger food for parties. Think I'll whip some of those mini-quiches up - they look wonderful!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 11, 2009:
I am thinking they would be a great gift too for the holidays, for instance a basket with the recipe nicely done up and then a mini-muffin pan and a tart tool. I think they are the easiest thing ever and can't wait to present them again for Thanksgiving!
Benny Faye Douglass on October 10, 2009:
Thanks for your hub on pecan tarts, I'll have to try themm. thanks for sharing. creatvieone59
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 07, 2009:
Yes - on Amazon.com they have several different varieties!
katiekirchner on October 07, 2009:
Did you ever find more of those tart tools?