Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tartelettes or Mini Tarts

A trio of mini pies or tartelletes
The French have cute names for desserts, don't they? Tartelettes or mini tarts are cute little pies that are such a joy to prepare and ideal for parties and birthdays. Like their bigger siblings, mini tarts or pies are made of basically two components, the pie crust and the filling. If you master the pie crust you will be able to prepare hundreds of sweet and savory recipes using a different filling each time.

The pie crust evolved throughout history. In the past it was made out of a simple flour water mixture and was used as a carrier to the filling and not as an essential part of the recipe. Pies, in the past, served societies' classes in a a rather peculiar way, the rich would eat the filling and leave the crust for the poor to consume. 

During the Renaissance, the pie pastry experienced many changes, fat began to be added and the recipe was taken to another level. It was made more malleable, served many purposes and became essential to the success of the recipe.

Shortcrust is one of these crusts that are used for tarts, pies or quiches. It is done by incorporating cold fat (butter or shortening most of the times) then adding a bit of ice water.
As the rule of thumb, the proportion of fat is half the amount of flour. There are some other varieties where egg is added or sugar, and sometimes even increasing the amount of fat to give even more flaky, delicate and buttery dough that melts in the mouth.

As for the filling you have an endless choices savory or sweet varieties. From a simple pie with jam to more elaborated and sophisticated fillings, where various textures might be mixed together to get a balanced but  surprising taste.

After enjoying the summer pudding I prepared earlier, I had many summer berries left, so I decided to use them in mini tarts or tartelletes with different shapes and fillings.

For the crumbly and buttery shortcrust you need (enough to prepare  9 to 10 mini tarts):
  • 200 g of flour
  • 100 g of butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspon of sugar
  • Ice cold water (cold water mixed with ice cubes)
How to:
The easiest way to make the  dough is by mixing the butter, flour, sugar and salt in  a food processor and pulse for just few seconds, you don't need more than a minute. At this stage the dough should look like wet sand, the kind that sticks to your feet while walking on the beach!

Transfer the mixture to a working surface or to a bowl, and start adding some water,  teaspoon by teaspoon. When you add the first spoon, mix it to the dough, but do not knead, and if the dough comes together in a ball, stop mixing. Usually for this amount you might need two teaspoons of water. However, flours differ in their capacity to absorb water. Therefore be careful when not to add too much water at once which will leave you with a sticky dough in need of more flour.

Another important thing to remember when preparing these kind of buttery and crumbly doughs is that you should not mix and knead like you would do when preparing a bread or pizza dough. If you do so, the pie crust will be hard which goes against the purpose of this dough.
When the dough is ready roll it into a disk or ball and let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour before using it.

Preheat your oven to 180 C. On a floured surface, slowly start flattening the pastry with a lightly floured rolling pin. The dough should almost half a centimeter in thickness. Cut the shapes you want, put in them in the tray and again leave them in the fridge for 10 minutes. This additional resting step will allow the pie to keep its shape as it bakes in the oven.
Pie crust, few ingredients needed for sublime texture and taste
Before baking the pie shells, cover them with baking paper and some rice, beans, chickpeas or whatever you have available to keep the dough from rising. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and the beans and bake for an additional 5 to 10 min or until the pastry acquires a beautiful lightly golden color.

I prepared several fillings, and they are all easy to make.

For the white chocolate ganache and blueberry filling you will need.
  • 125 g white chocolate
  • 75 ml  of heavy cream 
  • Few drops of creme de cassis which is a liqueur flavored with black currents
  • Some blueberries 
Heat the cream with the berries, pour them over the chopped chocolate, stir until well combined then add the creme de cassis.
Let it cool for some time then add it to the cooled pastry, you can add some drops of toffee, and then cover  fresh blueberries. The ganache might be a bit runny but is absolutely amazing.
For the love of angels, try this tart
For the mascarpone and raspberry mini tarts
  • 100 g mascarpone
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 
Whisk the mascarpone cheese. At first it might get liquid but as you beat it more it will get thicker.
Mix the sugar with the cream and whisk until it thickens a bit then add to the mascarpone. Mix the cream and the cheese and beat until you get a fluffy and creamy texture.
Pipe the mascarpone cream into the pastry shells and decorate with fresh raspberries.

Red, white and golden, the colors of a great dessert
 For the redcurrants and chocolate ganache tartelettes
  • 100 g of semisweet chocolate
  • 70 ml of heavy cream
  • A teaspoon of vanilla
  • Some redcurrants
In a saucepan, heat the cream with the redcurrants. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, mix until well dissolved and combined, add the vanilla and mix again, cool and pour into the tarts. Decorate with fesh redcurrants.
Red currants and chocolate ganache, a pure delight
And here you have it with one pie crust recipe and simple fillings you will have three different and delicious types of tartelletes, a pure delicacy that will surely impress.
Mini tarts with summer berries


  1. Ritiki, can I have something like this in my next birthday? ;) Why dont you ad the pic of the cake you made me this year and last year? I love this idea of you and I say CONGRATULATIONS to you. Keep on like that!!!! Brave Ri :)

    1. Gracias Isa, sure you will! Ur wish is my command! ;)

  2. hallo ... I love your blog, you also food lovers huh???? next time a recipe for a lot of ya .. I want to learn from your recipe ...

    1. Thank u so much! Sorry for the late response and I hope u keep enjoying the recipes! :)