When I was toiling away at my Ph.D., I coped with academia’s absence of short-term gratification by baking. I tried all of the basics as well as the most ridiculously complicated Martha Stewart recipes to reward myself for surviving statistics, comprehensive exams, the pain of losing months of work at the hand of a well-meaning research assistant, and the writing process itself. And while early parenthood made culinary endeavors above 10 minutes obsolete, now that Laurel enjoys helping in the kitchen (she’s learned what the rewards are), basic baking is back.
Baking tends to be an exacting business, which is all the more reason why it is hugely gratifying to cobble together a recipe on the fly and have it work out. Last weekend, faced with the desire to make a cherry pie for a brunch gathering (we had pie dough in the freezer), but no interest in going to the market for more cherries (we only had one of the three jars required for our recipe), I decided to try making a third of the cherry pie filling recipe (culled from our trusty Baking Illustrated bible) in tart form (i.e., negating the need for a lot of filling).
The results were fabulous (I’m planning on repeating this recipe for a baby shower I’m throwing this summer), and if you don’t dig cherries, use any of your favorite fruit pie fillings. Here’s the how to (click thumbnail to see an enlarged picture of the tarts in pre-bake form):
Note: Sixteen is a bit of an odd yield number (it just looked like the right division when eyeing the dough) so you could try cutting the dough into 12 pieces (i.e., for one muffin tray) and dividing the filling equally across. You might need to extend the baking time a minute or two to accommodate.
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