I found this yummy tart in a recipe book from 1954, Elegant Desserts written by the Staff Home Economists at Culinary Arts Institute. The tarts looked really cute, so I wanted to give them a try and determine how time consuming they were for individual pies.
Pie Crust - Elegant Desserts cookbook
|Sifted Flour||2 Cup|
|Lard or Shortening||2/3 Cup|
|Cold Water||5 TBSP|
Sift together the flour and salt. Cut the fat in with a pastry blender or two knives until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle water gradually over mixture, a teaspoon at a time. Mix lightly with a fork after each addition. Add only enough water to hold pastry together. Work quickly and do not over handle. Shape pastry into ball and flatten on a lightly floured surface.
What I Did
There are a few things that I did not have for this recipe. One was a pastry blender and of course the food processor was not an option back in 1954 so I mixed my pie crust by hand. This is something I really enjoy because I feel like I have more control of my dough texture. The second thing I did not have was lard or shortening, in todays world that ingredient is no longer a staple in one's kitchen. I remember growing up there was always a tub of crisco in the back of our refrigerator. Now I am in love with butter, real butter because nothing beats it's flavor. Pie crusts with shortening are wonderfully flakly and the crust holds it's shape much better. Sorry, but I went with butter for my crust.
It mixed up quickly and I only needed to use 4 Tbsp of water before my crust came together and was ready for the refrigerator. I flatten it into a disk shape and wrapped it in plastic wrap. For those of you who are new to pie crusts, here's a very important tip - rest your crust! Let the pie dough relax in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you roll it out and it will roll out easier.
Cherry Pie/Tart Filling recipe - Elegant Desserts
|Sour, pitted, red cherries||2 No. 2 cans (about 4 Cups)|
|Reserved cherry liquid||1 Cup|
|Lemon juice||1 tsp|
|Almond extract||1/2 tsp|
Drain and reserving liquid from cherries. Put in a saucepan. Gradually add cornstarch and stir in. Mix well and bring rapidly to boiling, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and clear. When clear, stir in sugar. Remove from heat and mix in lemon juice, extract and salt. (For brighter color, stir in a few drops of red food coloring) Gradually blend in cherries. Cool filling.
What I Did
This is actually a really easy recipe and it works out really well, but I did have to change a couple of things so I would be successful. First, I do not recommend adding food coloring to this recipe. Cherry pie has a gorgeous color and adding lemon juice (which this recipe does) enhances the color and flavor of the fruit. So I ignored that part of the recipe. Secondly I had frozen cherries in my kitchen so I used the volume measurement of 4 cups instead of buying cans of cherries. Lastly, cornstarch is a wonderful thickening agent, but it clumps really easily. To help keep it smooth I used a little of the reserved cherry juice from my thawed cherries and created a slurry. To do this just mix a small amount of the juice with the cornstarch and stir until you have a smooth thick liquid then pour that liquid into your saucepan with the hot cherry juice. Be sure to stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and boil for at least 45 seconds.
Cornstarch needs to boil or you will have the taste of the chalky starch in your food.
Once the liquid was thickened and boiled for an appropriate amount of time the sugar is added. I removed the thickened liquid from the heat and added in the lemon juice, salt and extract. The thawed cherries are stirred in and set aside to cool. While the filling is cooling I go back to work on the crust.
I have jumbo muffin tins so after I rolled out the dough I used my round cookie cutters to cut out the petals. I made sure that the cutters I used created rounds large enough to cover the bottom of the muffin tin and over lap the edges when place around the sides of the tin to create the petals. I alternated tin holes so the petals did not bake together. The jumbo muffin tin reduced the total number tarts I was able to get out of this recipe. I ended up with 6.
The recipe suggested cutting 5 rounds for each tin so I followed that direction. The rounds of dough need to be pressed together really well so the crust does not fall apart after it is baked. Use egg wash or water along the seams of each petal to help seal them together.
Once the petals are formed in the tins the dough was chilled again before baking to help guard against the dough shrinking.
The oven is preheated to 450 ℉ and the muffin tin is removed from the cooler to get ready for the oven. First I do a process called docking, this is where you take a fork or the tip of a knife and poke holes throughout the dough so the dough does not bubble up during baking. The dough is baked for 10 - 15 minutes and then cooled.
Scoop the cooled filling into the petal dough cups and serve - these are great with vanilla bean ice cream!
- Easy recipe and cute way to several individual pies
- With jumbo muffin tins I would add one more petal so the cups are not so fragile
- For extra flavor try adding in a 1/2 tsp of cardamom or cinnamon into the pie dough recipe
- If you can only find bing cherries instead of red tart cherries then reduce the amount of sugar because bing cherries are sweeter