Apricot Coconut Mini Crumble Cookies


These are very tasty cookies – buttery, sweet, crumbly, with a distinct coconut flavour and a hint of lemon in the filling. They are sort of a cross between jam tarts, sugar cookies, and crumbles. I spotted the idea in the Gourmet magazine, but their recipe was a bit off and I also needed to replace almonds, so that’s what I’ve come up with.

Miniature food, although always cute, can be a pain to unmold. If you can’t really trust your mini muffin pan, if it caused a trouble before, I advise you to line the bottoms of the molds with parchment circles. It’s easier than it might seem, just fold a strip of parchment accordion style, and then cut out many circles at once. And another tip I wanted to share. The best tool for loosening these cookies (or anything else) from the mini-molds is a thin-bladed palette knife; works like a charm and can be purchased in any craft store.

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Pumpkin Maple Brûlée Tarts

I don’t like pumpkin pie, to put it mildly. I find the basic untweaked pumpkin filling quite horrid, not much better than canned pumpkin itself. I hope I’m not offending anyone. Maybe I am being weird.
The pumpkin concentration in this recipe is just right to my taste, as well as the silky smooth texture of the crème.

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Coconut Raspberry Tarts

These are probably the last berries of the season (how sad…) They are topping the coconut pastry cream filling and a thin layer of raspberry-white chocolate ganache below. And yes, there’s more coconut in the tart shells, too.

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Stilton Cheesecake Tarts with Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn Compote and Walnut Crumble

Before you wrinkle your nose and leave my site, let me quickly tell you that this combination is very, very good. I probably wouldn’t serve it to toddlers; I doubt they will appreciate it. But a more mature audience will be certainly pleased.

My big thanks to my dear friend Olga who provides me with fresh rhubarb from her garden every season.

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Bakewell Mini Tarts

Here’s another Daring Bakers’ Challenge. This month it’s a British Bakewell Tart – buttery shortcrust shell filled with jam and frangipane. We were given a complete freedom to choose any jam flavor for the filling. And that’s where I got carried away. The thing is I love making jams. I could do it all day long, it really does relax me. I also like the sight of jewel-like glowing little jars lined on my counter near the window. So, I made 4 varieties of jam plus banana-caramel for a company.

Respectively, there are five different kinds of mini tarts as follows:

  • Peppery tomato jam with rosemary and almond frangipane (I sprinkled the bottom of each tart shell with a tiny pinch of fresh rosemary before filling them)
  • Strawberry Cointreau jam and pistachio frangipane
  • Carrot citrus jam (it really tastes more like a marmalade) with almond frangipane
  • Pear vanilla bean jam with hazelnut frangipane; to some of them I added a bit of finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Salted banana-caramel and almond (some were hazelnut) frangipane

I played with marzipan a bit (had some leftovers after the recent project) and made fruits and vegetables for garnishing the tartlets.

Thanks to  Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar for hosting the challenge.

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Fresh Berry and Cream Cheese Mousse Phyllo Tartlets

Opening a package of phyllo dough for one project often means another one is following soon (you do have to utilize the leftover before it dries, gets brittle and unusable). In this case, I put to use not just the remaining phyllo, but also the vanilla cheesecake trimmings (it took all my willpower not to it eat them right away).

A perfectly baked cheesecake is soft and creamy at room temperature. It can be whipped and differently flavored. I added lemon zest to the cheesecake scraps, beat them until creamy, then folded some whipped cream which turned the mixture into an airy mousse. I piped the mousse over lemon curd and wild blackberry jam-filled tiny phyllo tartlets, and topped it with the fresh berries and pistachios.

The cheesecake is a quite rich dessert where a little goes a long way. Unless it’s been served to a huge crowd, there’s always something left over, no matter how fabulous your cheesecake is (it seems everyone counts calories and worries about cholesterol content these days). So, this might be a way to turn the leftovers into a new dessert, without basically any effort at all. If you don’t have any cheesecake sitting in your fridge, but want to give these tartlets a try, you can follow this Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart recipe for making a filling (no need to bake a cheesecake especially for this), just double the amount to fill all 24 shells. And, if you use different jams and curds under the mousse, it makes sense to mark the tartlets by arranging the berries differently. Otherwise, you may end up like me – poking the tartlets with a skewer in a search for the lemon curd-filled one after eating three in a row filled with the jam.

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