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Friday, December 18, 2009

Cherry Cream Cheese Mini-Tarts

These little mini tarts are eye-catching and tasty!  With cherries on top, they make a festive holiday dessert.   In the summer, fresh blueberries or strawberries are a nice way to add flavor and color.  If you choose to use boughten pie crust dough, this project would take about 1/2 an hour from start to finish.  

It is helpful to have a few "tools".  A few years ago, my niece was selling Demarle at Home products.  I purchased my tartlet sheet and cutter from her. You can see it here.  You can use a mini muffin tin instead - and a 3 inch cutter is about right.  I'm not sure where I got my mini tart shaper from Pampered Chef.    Hunt through what you have on hand - I'll bet you have tools that will do the job.

Cherry Cream Cheese Mini-Tarts

1 recipe of pie crust dough (found HERE ) OR a box of rolled pie crust dough... enough for 1 double crust pie

3 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla flavoring
1 can cherry pie filling, or other fruit as desired

Roll out dough, cut with 3 inch cutter, press into tart-let pan or mini muffin tin.  Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until they look flaky... they may puff up some and look like they'll lose their shape, but once they're filled, you can't tell anyway so no big deal. :)  remove from pan and cool.

Beat the 3 packages of cream cheese until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat again until well blended.  (If you want a lighter filling, add a few spoonfuls of whipped topping at this point)  Fill a decorator bag with filling and pipe, in a swirl, into each baked shell.  Pour part of the can of pie filling onto a plate...  using 2 spoons, lift cherries and set one on top of each tart, pressing the cherry into the filling slightly.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Joy's Notes:  The reason for pouring the cherries on to a plate, is to keep from getting to much of the syrup along with the cherry.  If you get too much, it will look messy.  Probably tastes great, but looks messy.  LOL  To pipe the filling, I use a cake decorating bag like THIS ONE  and a tip about like THIS ONE .... about a size 32, though a 21 or 22 would work.  If you don't have decorating bags, try using a sturdy baggie - like a freezer bag.  Fill it half full with filling and snip one of the bottom corners off to pipe the filling into the shells.  It is easiest for me to arrange the shells on the serving tray and then fill them there, than to move each tart after it's been filled.... I'm more likely to break them or drop them (sometimes into my mouth LOL!) that way.

Enjoy creating this fun little dessert in your kitchen!  Happy Holidays!

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