Mini Cherry Tarts

So, I know that Valentine’s Day is mostly a made up Hallmark holiday. But guess what? I don’t care. I like all the construction paper hearts and random heart shaped confections and reading stories about ‘love day’ to the littles. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll add that I also totally love it when my amazing husband brings me flowers and treats and something shiny. Or even when he just purposely does something extra cute, like years ago when we had just one little person, he left him with our sitter and showed up at my office at the time to take me for coffee and wander around Toronto for hours – which is one of my all time favorite pre-children thing we used to do together. Maybe if he sucked at Valentine’s Day I’d hate it, but he rocks so I don’t. Plus I think all holidays are so much more fun with the kids to add their energy and magic to everything. So that’s your heads up that for the couple of weeks, it’s going to be very Valentiney around here.

Baking tarts is no exception. The flurry of pink, purple and red construction paper is in full swing here already and when it was time to bake tarts for dessert naturally my first thought was cherry for the color but Miss Wee One #2 was inspired to cut a little heart in the corner of one of the crusts. Never to be outdone, Wee One #3 took that idea a step further and insisted we cut wee hearts from the leftover pie crust for small, flaky pie crust cookies. Cute!!

I used my granny’s pie crust recipe (from her treasured book published in 1932). I had intended to make actual cherry pie, you know, from actual cherries, but they just didn’t exist this week at the market and I was determined to make these. Enter the cherry preserves. Still, my husband ate 3 of them, so they couldn’t have been bad. <3

At the very least, here is the simple, but amazing pie crust.

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter
3 (ish) tablespoons cold water

Cut the cold butter into the flour and salt with two butter knives or a pastry cutter. Once it’s oatmealy, use a fork to mash the mixture into itself with a few tablespoons of water. You want it to all come together without becoming a sticky cookie-like dough. More like a barely holding itself together crumb topping. Then turn it out onto a counter or cutting board sprinkled with flour and roll it around until it takes shape.

Roll it out to fit your pie plate. I have bowls for the littles that I turn over an use as cutters for muffin pan tarts, and a shallow 9″ pie plate that only needs a 10.5″ circle to fill. My most often used pie plate is a 9″ deep dish so really I need a circle of dough more like 12″ or so for that, so plan accordingly! Unless you’re making pumpkin or lemon you’ll need a top crust as well!

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