What more tempting dessert could you offer your guest than this lavish array of miniature fruit tarts? The cookie-like pastry shells are baked in assorted tartlet pans, filled with rum-flavored custard, topped with an assortment of refreshing fruit and brushed with preserves for a jewel-like shine.
- Tartlet Shell:
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
- Rum Cream Filling:
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1-inch vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, seedless green grapes, canned pineapple, pears, mandarin oranges, bananas
- 1/2 cup red currant jelly
- 1 tbsp cherry-flavored liqueur (kirsch)
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
1. Tartlet Shells: In a bowl, using a fork, blend the butter, the sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and the egg white until smooth and combined. Gradually mix in the flour until smooth. For each tartlet, use tsp of the dough. With fingers, press dough into 2 1/2- to 3-inch tartlet pans. Place pans on baking sheet.
2. Refrigerate 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake the shells until golden , about 12 minutes. Cool shells in pans on rack for a few minutes; remove from pans; cool. Filling: In a small saucepan, mix 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp sugar and a dash of salt. Beat egg yolks slightly; add the milk and the rum; beat to combine.
3. Stir egg yolk mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until mixture comes to boiling and thickens. Pour into a small bowl set in a pan of ice and water; stir occasionally to cool mixture quickly, about 8 minutes. Egg yolk mixture will be thick.
4. Beat cream until stiff. With a rubber spatula, fold cream into the egg yolk mixture to combine well. Stir in vanilla. Refrigerate Rum Cream Filling at least 30 minutes before using. Spoon several tsp of Rum Cream Filling into each shell. Top with an assortment of well-drained fruit.
5. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup currant jelly, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tbsp kirsch. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup apricot preserves, stirring. (If glaze becomes too thick, reheat gently; add a little hot water if necessary.)
6. Brush yellow or light fruit with the warm apricot glaze and red or dark fruit with with the currant jelly glaze. Refrigerate tartlets. Just before serving, arrange on a decorative platter. Note: Make the tartlet shells and Rum Cream Filling a day ahead. Assemble the tartlets several hours before serving.
For alight, distinctive taste, flavor the sweet tart shells in this recipe with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or freshly ground lemon zest. Serve the tartlets with espresso or cappuccino.