Treats for the Train

Last Friday, Cam and I and a couple of our friends went to Portland for the weekend. It’s only a little over 3 hours drive, but we decided to take the train for a change. I suppose it shouldn’t be, but taking the train is a really novel thing to do here. It’s something I’ve never done, outside of Europe. So, I was excited. Taking the train is like stepping back into another era, one where travel was romantic and elegant. It made me crave gimlets and cute finger foods.

Of course, Amtrak isn’t quite that glamorous, so if I knew that if wanted something other than hot dogs and pretzels, I’d have to bring it along myself. And, given my recent tart mood, I thought some mini-tarts would do the trick. Plus, I had just picked up a silicone mini-muffin pan (Is it still called a pan if it’s made from silicone?) and was anxious to give it a try.

I scrounged around in my fridge… I had one lone potato, some left over cojito cheese and some chipotle cream. That would work. In the freezer, I had some raspberries. 30 minutes later, I had these lovely tartlets.

Tarts for the Train

Tart Shells
Pastry of your choice, for 1 single crust 9-inch pie

Lightly flour the pastry and roll out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out 3 to 4 inch rounds. I used a biscuit cutter with a scalloped edge, and really liked the results.

Tarts for the Train

Carefully place each pastry disk over cup of a mini-muffin pan, and gently push down. It may wrinkle a bit.

Tarts for the Train

Fill as desired and bake on 400F for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Potato and Chipotle Cream Tarts
Makes 12 tartlets

12 tart shells
1 small can of chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 small potato, peeled
3 tablespoons grated cojito cheese
cilantro garnish

Finely chop one chipotle chile. In a small bowl, mix the chile, heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce. Whisk until it thickens slightly.

Grate the potato, and lightly salt.

Fill each tart shell with about 1 teaspoon of potato. Push down firmly. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the chipotle cream (you will have left over chipotle cream). Top with the cojito cheese. Bake as directed above. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Raspberry Filling
Makes 12 tartlets

1/2 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
orange zest for garnish

These couldn’t be easier. Place the raspberries in a bowl. (If they are frozen, slightly defrost first). Add the sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Mash up with a fork. Fill each tart shell with the mixture. Bake as directed above. Let cool. Garnish with the orange zest.

Tarts for the Train

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  • shaz

    they look absolutely gorgeous. especially the raspberry ones! yum. just nice for a sugar rush

  • Tania

    I love travelling by train. It feels so European, even if what I’m seeing outside the window is the Canadian landscape rolling by.

    I recently acquired a mini-muffin pan but have thusfar only used it for mini-muffins. These do look tempting, though. Wow, your photos are astonishingly good!

  • Cam

    They definitely beat the microwave hotdog & pretzels! All good!

  • Meeta

    These not only look gorgeous they are perfect to add into my son’s lunch boxes! See The Daily Tiffin
    Why is that with Americans and trains in America? I have been living in Germany for 13 years now and taking the train is not only fun but we usually include it into our weekend highlights.
    I definitely will try theses cute little tarts out and let you know. Seeing as you are in a tarty mood at the moment funnily enough I made a tart yesterday too. See What’s For Lunch Honey?. It was recived really well from my jury!

  • L

    Meeta – Yes these would go very well in a lunch box… of course, they are also nice popped in your mouth fresh from the oven! And ratatouille with goat cheese on a tart sounds wonderful. Thanks for stopping by!

  • L

    Shaz – yes, they raspberries were my favorite. Definitely sweet, but it least it was a natural sweetness!

    Tania – One of the things on “the list” of travels my husband and I want to do is taking the trans-Canadian train. It’s supposed to be breathtaking, and from our quick road trip up the ice fields parkway in Alberta last fall, I can imagine that it is. Thanks so much for the kind words!

  • Lucy of Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook

    I use the same mould that you do, but instead of cutting out my pastry with shaped cutters, I just cut across it with a knife into squares or triangles and then poke it into the mould, letting the edges go any which way, so each one has it’s own character. Your’e so right! This is perfect finger food for traveling. I have only done these little tartes as a last minute thing with leftovers for aperitif, but this post has made me start thinking about other places to take them. Outdoor concerts, skiing, etc. What a great post.

  • L

    Lucy – Thank you so much! Lots of my other tarts I just cut with a knife – but I haven’t layered the pastry… great idea. I really like the rustic look.