These mini tarts are the perfect dessert to serve a crowd and most of the work can be done ahead of time. There are packaged shells available made out of shortbread, fillo and chocolate and they are very convenient to use. Homemade is extra work but for these tarts it is worth it – the taste is much better and in this case, homemade is cheaper. See my recipe Tart Shell Fillings Five Ways.
Tart Shell Doughs
Pastry Dough I:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup flour
In a bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth; mix in the flour. Butter two 12-cup mini muffin pans. I use a 1-1/4-inch stainless steel scoop to measure out the dough for each well; it comes out perfect. If needed, flour your hands and press the dough onto the bottoms and up the sides of the cups.
Prick with a fork and bake at 325°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before removing.
Makes 2 dozen
Pastry Dough II:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Follow directions in Pastry Dough I above.
Pastry Dough III:
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 tsp. almond or vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1-3/4 cup flour
Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat in the next 3 ingredients and gradually add the flour.
Follow baking directions above.
- 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
Melt the chocolate on top of the stove on low or in the microwave; stir until smooth. Spoon some chocolate into each foil liner and using a paint brush with 1/2-inch thick bristles, spread the melted chocolate, gently, over the bottoms and up the sides of the muffin cup liners. Be sure to cover the entire foil liner. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm. Do not rush this step as the chocolate needs to be firm.
Carefully remove the foil liners from the chocolate cups. Start at one point on the top of the liners and gradually peel the liners off. Be careful as they are quite fragile.
Graham Cracker Crust (Taste of Home):
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp. butter, melted
Combine the two ingredients and press gently onto the bottoms of 18 miniature wells. You could also reduce the amount of crumbs by 1/4 cup and add ground pecans. Fill as desired or see Tart Shell Fillings.
Recipe by cooking with aunt juju
This picture shows a finished chocolate shell and one still inside the foil.
The three shells on the left are store-bought ( 2 sizes of shortbread and fillo) and the two on the right are homemade (chocolate and a flaky homemade tart)