Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

Sometimes it’s not enough for a dessert to just be rich and creamy, yet light and airy, sweet and wholesome, and made from scratch. Sometimes you need a dessert that’s adorable, too. Well, here’s the dessert for you. Mini-pumpkin tarts. With a buttery, flaky crust and sweet, custardy filling, they’re the perfect fall dessert, and since you make them in a muffin tin, they look like a little pie for elves. Or conversely, you can pretend you’re a giant eating regular-size pies.

Mini Pumpkin Tarts
makes 12 mini tarts

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons ice water
3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

In a food processor, process flour, salt, and sugar together until combined, about 10 seconds. Add butter and pulse until the butter is size of large peas, about ten pulses. Mix the vinegar and ice water in small bowl. Drizzle the mixture onto the dough and pulse food processor 3 times. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, gather the dough and then flatten into a disc. Wrap the round in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours, before rolling.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin. Prepare a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 12 pieces, roughly 5 x 5” each. Fold the dough square into the buttered muffin tip cups, folding any extra dough under the edge. Use a fork to poke several holes in the crust. Cook the pie shells for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is barely golden. Remove from oven and allow shells to cool.

For the filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup pumpkin or squash puree
2 room temperature eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar (more for a sweeter pie)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds of black pepper

For the filling, whisk together 1/4 cup of the cream and the flour, and continue whisking until it thickens. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup cream and whisk until ingredients return to a boil, then remove from heat. In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin and eggs, and then whisk in the sugar and the spices. Slowly add the cream mixture to the pumpkin. Whisk thoroughly, and pour into the small shells, being careful not to overfill.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for an hour. Gently lift the tarts out of the tin and serve.

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