This year I am cooking my way through some of my favorite recipes in the family cookbook and enjoying the happy memories they evoke. The memories aren’t always specific – like a party or a family gathering. The memories are of my mother in the kitchen and the delicious aromas coming out of the oven. These tarts are something my mother made all the time and as we rediscovered the recipe, it was fun working side-by-side with my sister, making new memories.
One of the surprising things about this recipe is what it doesn’t contain. There’s no sugar or salt in the tart crust, in fact, there isn’t any salt anywhere in this recipe. Having eaten these tarts many times in my life and never feeling they were lacking anything I suspected that something got left out when we typed up the recipe. However, I followed the recipe as written and lo and behold, it tasted exactly as I remembered.
The other surprising thing about these old family recipes is the lack of detailed instructions, almost resembling a technical bake in the Great British Baking Show. “Make the filling.” Or “Form the crusts.” To be fair, many of these recipes were written on small 3” x 5” recipe cards so there wasn’t much room for elaborate instructions. For the benefit of the blog I expanded the instructions and provided a little more detail.
Assembling the tarts wasn’t as fussy as I imagined. The cream cheese dough is easy to work with, even in the warmth and humidity of Hawaii. In an episode of a Michael Symon cooking show, his wife formed mini tart shells using something she called a tassie tamper. My sister and I were intrigued to know that such an implement existed. Although they are relatively inexpensive, we didn’t feel the need to invest in a tamper. Instead we used a pestle and it made forming the tart shells a breeze. Neither a tamper or a pestle is needed at all, fingers work just fine – it’s how my mother always did it.
These tarts aren’t overly sweet, and the filling is not thick and gooey. They make a nice light bite after dinner and are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon.Print
These little tarts are great with a cup of tea in the afternoon or as part of a dessert buffet.
For the crust
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
For the filling
2 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup raisins (I use golden raisins)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the crust
Mix together the cream cheese, flour, and 2 sticks of melted butter.
Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill dough for 1 hour.
For the filling
While the dough is chilling, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until well mixed. Add melted butter, raisins, and nuts and mix thoroughly.
Carefully fold in egg whites.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out to just a little over ⅛” thickness. Cut crusts using a 2½” round cutter. Place each round in the muffin tin, using a tamper or your fingers to carefully form each tart shell.
Alternatively, use a cookie scoop to form 1″ balls of dough and use a tamper or your fingers to form each tart shell.
Fill each crust with filling being careful not to overfill.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit in muffin tin for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a cooling rack.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Inactive Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Pies, Tarts
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 155.98
- Sugar: 8.42 g.
- Sodium: 68.16 mg.
- Fat: 10.46 g.
- Saturated Fat: 5.25 g.
- Carbohydrates: 14.97 g.
- Fiber: 0.64 g.
- Protein: 1.67 g.
- Cholesterol: 26.89 g.
Keywords: cream cheese, raisins, pecans, walnuts