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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Blackberry Mini Tarts Recipe

Blackberry mini tarts
Last week Driscoll's held a wonderful event for bloggers that I got to have a hand in planning. Bloggers brought dishes made with fresh blackberries, got insider cooking tips from cookbook author and cooking teacher Rick Rodgers and an inspiring food photography tutorial and demo from food photographer Caren Alpert.

I learned about pastry tampers, (the secret to quickly forming small tart shells in mini muffin pans) improvising with FedEx boxes and tin foil to get more light in food photos, ate a fabulous of dinner made from Rick's recipes, and tasted some divine desserts from some of my fellow bloggers. I particularly loved Irvin's tangy lemon and blackberry pie. I hope he posts the recipe soon! Rick made a cream cheese crust pastry with a savory filling and a blackberry topping. It was surprisingly similar to my dessert recipe.

I got the original recipe from the Land 'O Lakes website. I adapted it for Thanksgiving using cranberries and no nuts or glaze, then tweaked both the ingredients and the techniques to make it work with blackberries. Driscoll's blackberries are so good right now that I wanted to use them raw. I like desserts with at least some tangy flavor and blackberries have such a great balance of sweet and sour, thanks to a good ratio of natural sugars and organic acids. You could top the custard filled tarts with any kind of fresh berry you like. What makes this recipe so easy is that you mix the dough and the filling in a food processor. You could probably do it using a stand mixer if you prefer.

mini tarts

Blackberry Mini TartsMakes 36

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

2 6-oz packages blackberries, each berry cut into two or three pieces

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine flour, butter, cream cheese and salt in food processor. Blend until dough forms a ball.

Divide dough into 36 equal pieces. Place 1 piece of dough into each ungreased mini muffin pan cup. Press dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of cup or use a pastry tamper! Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a bowl or food processor, cream together the sugar and butter then mix in egg, vanilla and salt. Spoon about a teaspoon into each tart crust then bake another 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden and the top of the custard begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes then remove from pans using a knife if necessary. Place about 3 pieces of berry in each tart shell.