Pie Crust and Mini Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts
I realized I haven't posted anything about the pie crust I use when I make my crostatas or galettes. It is even more expensive when I make them from scratch but they're worth all the extra $$ because they are more flaky, more buttery and in short, more delicious. I use this pie crust for my egg tarts as well. Texture and taste, outstanding; but I have to learn how to make uniform size when making mini tarts. Somehow they don't turn out the same although I use the same cutter. Any way, here's the recipe for my fool-proof pie crust which I adapted from here
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 sticks unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 to 8 tbsp ice water
1 Cut the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes; should be thoroughly chilled.
2 Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
3 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days
Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts
I've been making crostatas or galettes all the time so I think I should make something different this time. I remember my failed mini cheesecakes from last year and these little beauties gave me a felling of vindication because of how they turned out. Flaky and buttery crust with light and fluffy cheesecake-like filling topped with strawberry preserves, blueberries and Mandarin oranges. Delicious but none of the guilty feeling even after eating three, I swear!
For cream cheese filling:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
For the topping:
Canned or bottled Mandarin oranges, drained
3 tbsp strawberry preserves, microwaved with a tablespoon of water to loosen
half a cup blueberries
Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
Add egg, milk and vanilla and blend until creamy. Set aside.
Lightly grease and flour muffin pan, set aside
Unwrap the plastic from the dough and flatten in a well floured surface using a floured rolling pin.
Use a cookie cutter to cut small rounds to fit your muffin pan.
Press firmly on bottom and side (do not over stretch). Fill the pie crust dough with the egg mixture (about 80% full).
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.
Use a thin knife to release from muffin pan
Cool in a wire rack
Once completely cooled, spread a teaspoon of strawberry preserves on top
Arrange blueberries and a slice of Mandarin orange
Garnish with mint leaves.