Monday, January 23, 2012
Do you enjoy eating tarts and tartlettes? Well I surely do! When I was a youngster, one of my favorite things to do was watch my Mom bake. Ma baked the best pies I've ever had. Her crust was just so light and flaky, it just melted in your mouth.
Of course back in those times her crust was lard based--but if you wanted flakiness that's the way they did it. And with the scraps of leftover dough, she always let us 'help' to make either turnovers or tarts. Her favorite, as well as mine were her lemon curd or raspberry jam tarts. Oddly enough though, she seldom made apple tarts even though this was a pie that she made practically weekly through the cooler months of the year. To this day I can't say that Ma made pies simply to make leftover dough tarts or if she made her dough with the tarts in mind in the first place, she enjoyed them that much. All I remember is how pretty they were, and how good they tasted.
So recently when I had some dough scraps left over from making a raspberry peach galette, Ma's tarts came to mind. If ever there was to be a chance of making some jam tarts this was going to be it. I used raspberry shiraz jam, and limoncello mint as this is what I was testing this week, but you could use any of your favorite fruit preserves you prefer. The limoncello tartlettes seemed to have disappeared around here, so sorry no picture of them. When I baked the tartlettes, I started them at 350 degrees for ten minutes, but saw that they were not browning, so I turned up the heat to 400 and they browned nicely with the jam bubbling hot in another ten minutes. Next time I would try it at 425 degrees for ten minutes or so, as if I were blind baking a pie crust.
I suppose, here would be a good place to let you in on a little secret. I began another blog right before the holidays were upon us, and simply haven't really had the chance to post about it until now.
Many of you already know, making seasonal herbal jams and wine jellies made with the freshest of hand picked fruits along with organic herbs right out of our gardens has always been appealing to me. During the summer months, if I'm not in the gardens, then no doubt you'll find me in a local orchard nearby. For years I'd made jars upon jars of old and new family recipes solely for gift giving. But after a while, and so many encouraging words from those gift recipients, we've decided to venture forth and begin seriously offering our scrumptious jams and jellies to the public, and so Vintage Garden Jellies is officially open... though I'm still working on the descriptions and the darn shopping cart.
I started making wine jelly over twenty years ago and really liked the flavor and how well the jellies complimented other foods. I began to share my jelly with family and friends and was encouraged to start selling it. So, as I presently do three farmers markets weekly, I decided to finally give it a go. I applied for my state kitchen license and we are just thrilled to now be able to offer my Nunie's cantucci biscotti, herbal baked goods and confections, wine & herbal jams, giardiniera and other seasonal goodies along with our fine line of herbal dips and seasoning blends and herbal soaps all made from our own organic herb gardens to the open market.
Indeed, wine and herbal jellies are delicious and make a very special gift. We use chardonnay, merlot and cab, limoncello, pinot and a new cordial jelly, with wine I made this past Autumn that hails from the Abruzzo region of Italy called ratafia, yet to come to name a few. Have you tried savory herbal or wine jelly on a cracker with fresh goat cheese or as a basting sauce for poultry or pork?…oh my gosh, it’s so darn good. And so weren't these sweet mini tartlettes. I used a cream cheese dough recipe found here, filling simply little mini muffin tins with the dough. These were so good, I already made another batch of dough..tucked safely away in my freezer... that I've planned for future R&D testing that will need to be done for my jellies. Ha. Who am I kidding, these tartlettes were awesome! I can really get into this R&D stuff :) Roll, shape and bake this dough into tart crusts, sweet turnovers, rugelach, and other sweet or savories. It will keep several days wrapped in the refrigerator, and freezes well. For these mini tartlettes, try several jams at once--use whatever you have in your cupboards--raspberry, strawberry, apricot,blueberry, orange marmalade--think of the endless possibilities and enjoy their many jeweled colors while they last-- which won't be long! Enjoy!
Raspberry Shiraz Tartlettes
Cream Cheese Dough:
8 oz cream cheese, cold
8 oz unsalted butter, cold
2 cups all-purpose flour
Place flour and salt in food processor and process a few seconds, to blend. Chunk butter and cream cheese in pieces over flour, then process, using on-off motion, until dough just forms a ball. Turn out onto floured surface and knead lightly into a smooth mass. After kneading lightly, cut dough in half. Wrap and reserve half for another use (snacking is good.)
Roll remaining half of dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/8″ thick. Using a medium-round cutter – I use a 2″ round – cut circles from dough, re-rolling scraps and cutting circles until done.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the mini muffin pan onto the sheet pan and gently begin pressing your dough circles into the muffin holes pressing the dough snuggly on bottom and up the wall of your tins. Place about one teaspoon of jam in the center almost to the top. I wasn't sure this would bubble over during the cook, so I used a sheet pan underneath, but this never occurred--the jams just became bubbly, but not oozing over. Repeat with each muffin cup in the same manner, changing jams as desired. Once baked, cool completely, and serve with or without a bit of sifted confectionary sugar. Enjoy!