Yield: Yields 12 tartlets.
Crystallized ginger accents this filling with sweet pears and tart cranberries. Since these tarts only require 1/3 of the dough recipe, it’s easy to double or triple the tarts, or you can also bake one batch each of Pecan Tartlets and Pumpkin Tartlets.
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Lightly spray a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil (not necessary for nonstick tins). Using the score lines as a guide, cut off 12 1-inch pieces of dough (reserve the rest of the dough for another use). Roll each piece into a ball in your palms (lightly flour your hands, if necessary). Put one ball in the center of each muffin cup.
If you have a wooden tart tamper, flour it lightly. Press the wider end onto a ball of dough until the dough thins out and begins coming up the sides of the cup, and then twist the tamper slightly to release it. Use the tamper’s narrower end to push the dough halfway up the sides and to smooth out the dough where the sides meet the bottom. If you don’t have a tart tamper, use a narrow, flat-bottomed glass or your fingers, lightly floured, to press the dough into the cups.
Tilt the muffin tin to see if the dough reaches the same level in all the cups; also check for any holes in the dough (this could cause the tartlet to stick to the pan). Rub your thumb around the rim of the dough in each cup for a clean, smooth edge. Slightly less than 1/2 inch of each cup should be exposed. Chill for at least 10 minutes to firm the dough.
Make Ahead Tips
You can fill and bake the tartlets up to four weeks ahead and freeze them. Put the cooled tartlets on a shallow pan and freeze until firm, then layer them between waxed paper in an airtight container. Baked tartlets will also hold for three days in the fridge, wrapped in waxed paper and then foil (not plastic wrap). To refresh, bake the tartlets at 325°F until warm, 5 to 7 minutes if refrigerated; 12 to 15 minutes if frozen.
I made these tarts for Thanksgiving. They were beautiful and easy to make. Four teaspoons of cyrstallized ginger gives these tarts a very strong ginger flaor, so use less if you are not a big fan of ginger. They were refreshing after a big meal and the tart dough was very easy to work with.
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