Cognac Mini Tarts

These lovely Cognac mini-tarts are my latest creation experimenting with the flaky strudel dough. Baked in muffin pan or tart tins are these a perfect bite-sized dessert that is made in no time especially when the dough is mixed in advance (it can be stored in a fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for almost infinitely). The cream used for filling tarts can be of any flavor you like – I love a delicious frangipane combined with tart plumes or a simple vanilla cream. But the cognac pastry cream with a touch of orange is honestly hard to beat so I would not even experiment with any other. The sweetness of the cream and sharpness of the earthy cognac, all complemented with a touch of tart cherry jam will give you a real hard time to stop eating these fabulous tarts

INGREDIENTS

(makes approx. 15 mini-tarts)

Tart Dough

250g Flour, cake or all-purpose

110g Butter, cold & unsalted

50g Powdered sugar

5g Salt

3g Baking powder

85g Water, cold

20g Sour Cream

Cognac Cream

400g Milk, whole

50g Sugar, white

35g Corn starch

2 Egg yolks

2 tbsp./ 30g Cognac, good quality

2 tsp. Orange extract

OR use 1 package (35g) of Cognac-flavored custard instead of corn starch & egg yolks

Other

5 tbsp. Tart Cherry Jam

Extra butter to grease muffin pan/ tart tins

Powdered sugar for decoration


METHOD

1. Tart Dough/ Shell: In a bigger mixing bowl combine 250g Flour, 50g Powdered sugar, 5g Salt and 3g Baking powder and stir until combined. Add 110g of cold & unsalted Butter, chopped into smaller pieces and using your fingertips, break the butter until pea-sized. Optionally, place dry ingredients and the butter into a food processor and process for a few seconds until butter is pea-sized. Transfer the mixture back into the same mixing bowl

2. Into a bowl with dry ingredients & the butter add 85g of cold Water and 20g of Sour cream. Using your hands, work out the dough just until it comes together in one piece (for approximately 1 minute). Do not over-knead the dough (you don’t need to develop too much gluten and it’s desirable if you can see small pieces of butter here and there in the dough). Wrap the dough into a plastic wrap and place it into a fridge for at least 1 hour or up to three days

3. Cognac Cream: While the dough chills, prepare the cream. Into a smaller saucepan add 300g of Milk and bring it to simmer over a low heat. In a separate mixing bowl beat remaining 100g of Milk with 35g Corn starch, 2 Egg yolks and 50g of Sugar until smooth (note: if you’re using cognac-flavored custard or pudding then combine milk with the pudding and sugar instead)

4. Once milk on the stove is simmering, start pouring it in a thin stream into corn starch & yolk mixture to temper, while stirring constantly. Pour everything back into a saucepan and cook the cream on a low heat until thick, while stirring the mixture constantly with a hand-whisk. Once thickened, take the cream off the heat and add 2 tbsp./ 30g of Cognac and 2 tsp. of Orange liqueur and stir well. Transfer the cream into a clean bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap that should be touching the surface of the cream to prevent from creating the skin. Cool down the cream until lukewarm or until completely cold

5. Once both the dough & the cream are chilled, preheat the oven to 370°F/ 185°C and grease the muffin form or tart tins with softened butter. Set aside

6. Assembling Tarts: Dust your work desk with some flour and take the chilled dough out from the fridge. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until approx. 1/2 cm/ 1/4 inch in thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles of the dough (when assembled into a muffin form or a tart tin, it should cover the bottom and at least 3/4 of the side of the form). My dough-circles/ cookie cutter was 8 cm/ ~ 3 inches in diameter and it fully covered the bottom and the sides of the muffin tray. When assembling the cut-out dough into each muffin cup or a tart tin, make sure to press it to the edges and the bottom of the pan

7. Once the dough is assembled, give your cooled-down cognac cream a good stir and using a teaspoon, scoop generous amount cream into each cup (I added a tablespoon per cup) until the whole cup is filled (the cream should not overflow the dough shell). Finally, add 1/2 a teaspoon of tart Cherry Jam in the center of each tart

8. Bake mini-tarts in the middle rack for approx. 20 minutes or until slightly risen and golden brown on the edge. Once baked, let tarts cool down first in a muffin tray, then transfer onto a cooling rack and let cool down completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving and enjoy! Tarts are best fresh or stored in an airtight container in a fridge they last for 2-3 days

Dobrú chuť,
Lenka



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