Whenever I have leftover tart dough, it’s a bit of a mixed blessing. I love having it on hand in the freezer, but I also feel like I need to use NOW. Luckily, I got to have a mini bake-a-thon this past weekend when I went up to Vermont with a dozen or so friends. Having the opportunity to make dessert is heaven for me, as (ironically enough given that baking is one of my favorite hobbies) I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. Give me the choice of salty, crunchy chips or tooth-achingly sweet chocolate cake and there will be no hesitation as I dive head first into the bag of chips. I’ll bake a few things here and there to keep on hand as healthy snacks, but it’s not quite the same feeling as when I get to pull out all the stops and have the chance to use BUTTER and SUGAR and really go for it. I got ridiculously excited at the opportunity to bake for this weekend, and spent a couple of days early on in the week poring through my numerous cookbooks figuring out just what I wanted to bake. Sometimes I feel like there are so many amazing recipes that I just can’t choose! I finally decided on a few choice cookies, along with some bundt cake and toffee, but also wanted to use up the tart dough that was pining away in the freezer.
Inventing new recipes can be invigorating when successful, but a bit frustrating when it doesn’t work. Looking around the kitchen, I figured you can’t go wrong with apples, dates, and ginger, and it would play well to the fall theme (we were heading up to ogle the foliage). A bit later, I was breathing in the intoxicating scent of apples and cinnamon and anxiously awaiting the moment when I could sink my teeth into the first tart. It didn’t disappoint, and I must say it was all I could do to restrain myself from making a large dent in the pile of tarts!
Mini Apple-Date-Ginger Tarts
*I used the tart dough recipe from Tartine. Always amazing, and since it makes enough for 2 tarts, I always have some extra.
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Roll out tart dough to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut out as many circles as you can (I used a 2-inch biscuit cutter).
3. Peel and core apples, then dice.
4. Combine apples, dates, and ginger.
5. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat, then add apple mixture. Cook for 5 min., then add cinnamon and brown sugar. Continue cooking until apples are tender, but not mushy. Set aside once cooked.
6. Roll out the 2-inch tart dough circles until they’re about double the size. Put the circles into a muffin tin and use your fingers to conform the dough to fit the cups of the muffin tin (the dough will come just a little up the sides of the cup). You will probably have extra dough circles.
7. Spoon in the apple mixture.
8. Bake for 35-40 min. (or longer depending on your oven). The tart dough should be golden-brown.
9. Remove from the oven, let cool on a wire rack, and then do your best not to shovel them all down your gullet before they’ve cooled enough to put them in a container!