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June 19, 2013
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Red Pen Recipes: Single-serving tarts pack a punch of flavor

I like to bake with fresh fruit when I have some on hand. After making strawberry shortcake and pineapple upside-down cake, I froze the leftover fruit to use later. When I recently came across this recipe, I knew I had found a good use for the leftovers.

The original recipe only used pineapple, but I didn’t have enough so I substituted strawberries for the rest. I was glad I did. The tarts would have been too sweet with only pineapple. The strawberries helped to mellow the tartness, which brought nice balance to the overall flavor of the finished tarts.

The syrupy mixture that resulted from simmering the fruit and sugars was delicious. It had a lot of layers of flavor, and the mini tarts had a great balance of crust and flavor-packed filling.

The crust isn’t the stiff tart crust I expected. Instead of the usual version that can sometimes take a bit of might with a knife to cut through, this crostata dough is sweet and has a bit of give to it. It perfectly complements the filling.

Instead of making one large tart and taking it to work, I opted to make mini tarts. They were adorable.

I highly recommend this recipe. The single-serving format I chose eliminates the need for serving utensils.

CRUST

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup ice water

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and combine until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and mix until mixture just begins to hold together.

Shape dough into one disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to three days (or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw in refrigerator before using).

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pineapple, peeled, quartered and cored

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup dark rum

Divide crostata dough into 12 parts. Pat each part into a muffin cup in a muffin tin. Trim excess dough. Combine excess dough into a single mass and flatten into a rectangle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Freeze tin and excess dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

Cut each pineapple quarter crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Combine sugars, vanilla seeds and pod, and lemon juice in a large saute pan. Add pineapple and strawberries and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugars dissolve and mixture becomes saucy, about 3 minutes. Add rum and simmer until pineapple has softened and almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool in pan. Discard vanilla pod.

Remove muffin tin from refrigerator. Divide pineapple-and-strawberry mixture evenly into each cup. Take remaining rectangle of dough and cut into thin strips place four strips crosswise over each cup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tarts are golden brown around the edge. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes before removing. Unmold and serve immediately.

— Trisha Leonard is the editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Check out her food blog at www.redpenrecipes.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 20, 2013 07:31PM Published Jun 19, 2013 04:00PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.