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Miniature Fruit Tarts

makes 45-48 tarts

Miniature fruit tarts are a wonderful delicatessen for any occasion. They are filled with a delicious pastry cream and topped with fruit.

strawberries 1-2 cartons
kiwi 7-8
2 16 oz cans of peaches in syrup (sliced or whole)
1 bag of frozen raspberries (need to be thawed when using)

Tart shells:
(You can make these ahead of time)
makes 45-48 shells
1 cup flour (pastry flour is best)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice

In a medium bowl, sift flour with salt. Place butter in center of flour. Add sugar and lemon juice. Use your hands to knead the dough until it binds together. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to grease about 45 miniature tart pans. Roll half of the dough very thinly between 2 layers of parchment or wax paper. Using the tart pans as a cutter, press the pastry into it. Repeat procedure with remaining tart pans. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm.

Prick each tart with a fork 3 times to avoid bubbling in the middle. (You can also use dry beans to weigh it down, remove after cooled.) Arrange tart shells on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. 

Pastry Cream:
(You can make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/8 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1/4 cup of sugar to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Separately, blend together the reserved 1/2 cup of milk and cornstarch. Stir until dissolved. Add this to the egg mixture.

Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture.

Place both back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Constantly whisk the mixture until it comes to a full boil. Remove from the stove. Place bowl over an ice water bath, stirring slowly until the mixture reaches about 140 degrees F (use a candy thermometer.) When cooled, whisk in pieces of softened butter and vanilla extract.

To keep a skin from forming, rub the top surface with butter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

Apricot Glaze:
1/2 cup apricot puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup light corn syrup 

In a saucepan stir together the All Apricot puree, sugar, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. 

Remove from heat; strain mixture. 

To assemble:

Using a pastry brush, glaze the bottoms of the tart shells. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Place a clean towel or paper towel on a flat surface. Remove raspberries and lay them on the towel to soak up the juices. On another towel, slice the peaches long ways very thin so they have a moon shape. Let the peaches drain on the towel. Wash the kiwi and peel the outer layer with a knife. Slice the kiwi thinly so each piece looks like a circle (depending on the shape of the kiwi.) Place the kiwi on a towel to drain. 

Use a teaspoon to carefully fill each tart with the pastry cream. Don't overfill and try not to get it on the sides.

Arrange 1 slice of kiwi, and two thin slices of peaches on the tart. Take 1 strawberry and cut the stem and upper part of it off. Slice in 3-4 thin pieces. Fan the strawberries over the other fruit. Top with 1 raspberry.

Using a pastry brush, glaze the fruit on top of the tarts. If the glaze gets too firm, add a little bit of water and place on heat. Continue glazing after glaze is boiling.

You can also use larger tart shells . Follow the directions the same using larger shells but use more fruit and cream.

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