Mini fruit tarts - Sunshine in Seattle!

Winters are not very pleasing. Living in Seattle, one can expect rain on any given day, but this year, the snow pushed us into a week of hibernation. The kids were getting restless at home, and the only resort to keep them occupied was doing something fun together. So my little sons and I made mini fruit tarts, with fresh berries and oranges. It sure brought sunshine on their faces.

What you need:
For the tart shells: Makes about 12 mini shells
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter chilled
6/8 Tbsp ice cold water
1 egg combined with 1 tsp of water to coat crust

For the custard filling:
1 cup of thick custard or ready pudding
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
A pinch of salt

For the topping:
Berries and fresh fruits of your choice
1/2 cup apricot preserve

Combine the flour, salt and sugar together. Mix well. Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes. You may knead the dough by hand on a cold surface like marble, or use a processor.

Add flour into the processor with the dough blade on. Give it a quick pulse. Add in the cut up butter pieces, Give it quick pulses until it resemble a crumbly mixture.

Add ice cold water, a little at a time until the dough is combined. Bring the dough together gently. Do not knead it too much. Wrap it in a plastic wrap and chill it for about 20-30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a flat bread of about 1/4th inch, or the thickness you prefer. Place the tart molds below the rolled dough and cut them out. You may leave a little extra on the sides and press them down if you like a decorated edge, or just leave it as is.

Fill the empty tart shells with beans or lentils you have lying around. This is just to give structure to the shells. 

Bake them in a preheated oven at 375 degree F. It should turn golden brown in about 20-25 minutes. Take out the beans or dry filling. Let them cool completely. Store them in an air tight container until you are ready to use them.

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add in the ready custard or pudding and sugar, beat it until combined. Pour it into a piping bag.

In a little cup, whisk the apricot preserve with a few teaspoons of water. Brush the inside of the tart shells with a base coat of apricot glaze. This will help keep the filling from softening the pie shells. Let is stand for about 5 minutes. Now pipe a generous amount of filling on to each shell. Top it off with fruits and berries.

You may brush the fruits with the apricot glaze, if you are not using the dessert in a few hours. This will keep the fruits looking fresh and help them stay moist.

Chill them for an hour before they are served. Enjoy!