Mini Mince Tarts with Cheddar Crusts
PREP TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours
2 c. all-purpose flour
c. finely ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. unsalted butter
4 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. ice water
1 navel orange
4 c. mixed dried fruit (cranberries, golden and dark raisins, plus apricots, quartered)
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. brandy
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c. apricot jam
8 tart pans with removable bottoms
Harvest Piecrust Cutters
In a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the Cheddar and pulse until just combined (the mixture will not come together yet).
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 egg yolks and ice water. Add to the flour mixture and pulse until the dough is crumbly but has not formed into a ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead just until the dough comes together. Shape into a 1 inch thick disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, grate the orange and lemon zest into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Squeeze the orange and lemon (you should have 1/2 cup orange and 1/4 cup lemon juice) into a large saucepan. Stir in the dried fruit, cranberries, brandy, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fresh cranberries begin to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the apricot jam and reserved zest.
Make a stencil for the tart crust: Place a tart tin top-down on a piece of paper and, using it as a guide, draw a circle 1 inch larger than the tin; cut out the stencil.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using the stencil, cut out 8 rounds, chilling and rerolling scraps as necessary. Fit the cut-outs into the bottom and up the sides of the tart tins. Cut away any overhanging dough by gently rolling a rolling pin over the rim of the tart tin. Reserve scraps. Place the tart tins on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fill.
Heat oven to 190 degrees C. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Roll out dough scraps and cut out acorns and leaves. Divide the fruit mixture among the prepared tart tins (about 1/2 cup each). Top the tarts with the acorn and leaf cut-outs and brush the cut-outs with egg. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve with ice cream, if desired.