I have a dual relationship with entertaining at home. As I love cooking, setting a nice table and spending time with my friends, I am the fan of it. But on the other side, each time I sign up for this (read, I insist people come to my home for a relaxed evening with good food and wine) anxiety kicks in and I am always stressed that it will be a fiasco. And a few times anxiety got the best of me. I like having my friends with me in the kitchen as I cook, and there are no problems usually (even if there are, we have a laugh). But for more “formal” dinners, where people are coming and expect to find me nicely dressed and the food ready or almost, I usually freak out. And it results in some small “disasters”, at least for me: forgetting ingredients, overcooking food (which for me is strange, as I am on the other side of this, preferring to leave food more al dente), spilling things (on my nice clothes) etc.
So, over the years, getting wiser with age, I decided to go to some tried recipes and making sure I am making my life easy. And still impress people.
Dessert is one of the things that usually gives me the most difficult time: I am more of a savory person plus I totally disagree with having dessert after a meal (from a nutritional perspective) so I seldom make desserts. I like fruits, cheese plates and simple things. But sometimes, especially for some people, I like to offer the choice of a spectacular dessert.
So keeping it simple, but still perfectly delicious and esthetically pleasing, I give you the simplest tarts you can make. I chose to make three versions, but you can choose to go with one of the ideas or all, or even add to them (if it’s the case, please let me know, I am always looking for inspo).
Simplest tarts with the most delicious fillings
Makes 6 tarts
1 pack of store bought short-crust pastru (I chose the unsweetened one as I use it for quiches / savoury tarts as well and I usually buy it like that)*
- 1 pack of Philadelphia cream cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
- seasonal fruits – I used cherries
- Pistachio spread (I discovered it during my last trip to Italy and for a sweets non-lover, it tastes divine)
- Nuts (pistachio, almonds etc. for “garnish”)
- Small tart pans
1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Defrost the dough according to the instructions and stretch / spread it on a lightly floured surface (from one pack you can actually make about 8-10 mini tarts, depending a lot on your pans. In my case I also did a small quiche with the remaining dough). Put in the pans, pressing lightly around the edges and use a fork to create holes to help the dough from rising too high in the pan.
2. Put the pans in the oven and let them bake until golden brown (mine are a little to brown, less golden – as I said, accidents happen when I strive the most) – about 20 mins.
3. While the tarts bake, prepare the filling. For the pistachio ones, I just used the spread as it was, sprikinling some crushed pistachio nuts on the top.
4. Mix half of the cream cheese and the sugar and beat it until it forms slight peaks. De-pit cherries or prepare the fruit (wash, de-pit, cut etc.)
5. Mix the other half of the cream cheese with a couple tablespoons of Nutella – depending on your taste, I like it less sweet, so I put less Nutella.
6. Take the tarts out of the oven and leave them to chill. Once chilled, add the filling of choice and use fruits / nuts to decorate / enhance tase.
I took me about 40-45 mins to prepare everything (including the photos, excluding defrosting the dough).
I hope you will be inspired and try your own version.
*I am not the biggest fan of the store bought short crust pastry, compared to the one I make myself. Mine is a lot better, with a lot more butter that makes it perfectly flaky and gives its amazing taste. Still, the store bought one will save you time and if you do not trust your pastry making skills will save you some stress
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