There is no better way to spend a cold winter day than baking a batch of cookies or a loaf of bread. I'm sure that many of us have been spending the past few days indoors. The thermometer currently reads 22 degrees Fahrenheit...and I'm in Austin, Texas.
Needless to say, I've been baking this week. While the trees shiver, I whisk up more eggs, butter and sugar...I knead another round of dough. My house smells like a bakery, and my kitchen counters are covered with cooling racks and steaming baked goods. But my sink? My sink overflows with pots, measuring cups, and pans.
Usually, Ryan swoops in to rescue my hands from the hot, sudsy water that clean-up requires. But since Ryan does not live the life of a graduate student, he has been at work this week, and I've been asked to do dishes on my own.
So as I sit and type this blog post, I'm happy to report that many of my friends have been bestowed with tarts, kolaches and muffins. But I'm sad to report that my hands are in sore need of a high quality shea butter moisturizer.
But I think these treats are worth the small pain that cooking and cleaning inflicts. I know that when I get home from class tonight, I will be grateful for the last cream cheese tart sitting in my refrigerator...and I'll be sure to pick up some hand creme from Whole Foods tomorrow.
When Kylie, from a Hungry Spoon, mentioned a blackberry cream cheese tart...my stomach began to growl. To make her comment even better, she then suggested a dark cherry tart with a chocolate crust. I loved both of her ideas, and I decided to combine them into one delicious tartlet.
These Raspberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Tarts are both beautiful and delicious. The decadent pastry dough with the inclusion of dutch-process cocoa pairs perfectly with the sweet and subtle cream cheese filling. I found myself wanting to eat two, three, four of these tartlets in one sitting.
I swirled raspberry jam into the cream cheese in order to add color and flavor. Any jam variety would work, but I loved the thought of placing a raspberry on top of each tiny tart...so raspberry jam it was.
This pastry dough is simple...the only change I made to my traditional recipe was to replace just a bit of the flour with cocoa powder.
Once these tarts are made, they need to chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. So keep this in mind if you want to make them for a party.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. My Dad's birthday is today, and I wish I could show up on my parent's front door with a plateful of these treats.(although I know my dad would prefer apple pie)
It can be so hard to be away from home! So know that I love you, Daddy, and I wish that I was with you today. In my eyes, you hung the moon.
*makes 9 mini pastry cups
3 TBSP ice water, plus extra as needed
1.5 TBSP sour cream
1 cup + 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 TBSP dutch process cocoa
1/2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 10 min
1. Mix 3 TBSP of ice water with sour cream together until combined. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Scatter the butter pieces on top and process the mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until the butter is the size of large peas.
2. Pour half of the sour-cream/water mixture over the flour mixture and stir until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture. If the dough doesn't hold together when pinched, sprinkle 1 to 2 TBSP more ice water over the mixture.
3. Flatten the dough into a 4 inch disk, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough outward from its center into a 12-inch circle. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out 9 circles of pastry dough. Carefully place each circle of dough into a muffin tin. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of each tin. Prick dough with fork.
5. Line each prepared muffin tin with a small piece of foil. Place pie weights or dried beans in the center. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, discard foil, and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring in filling.
Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBSP sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP jam or jelly
1. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl (1-3 minutes). Gradually beat the granulated sugar until incorporated, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg until combined. Beat in the sour cream, the vanilla extract and the jam until incorporated.
2. Pour the filling into the partially baked pastry cups. Fill almost to the top of the cups and then return to a preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly.
3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before carefully removing to a wire rack. Allow to cool for an additional hour before refrigerating until fully chilled, at least 3 hours. Garnish with fresh berries or shaved chocolate.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
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