Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is the time of year that I find more socializing and eating is accomplished than any other time of the year.  Depending on your culture and traditions, a number of different religious holidays are celebrated.   I am always looking for different appetizers to serve to company.  I have the usual standbys - cheese, hummus, veggies, dips, crackers and smoked oysters.  A friend introduced me to another kind of appetizer several years ago, it is a 'thumbprint cheese tart'.  It is easy to make and quite delicious.  It is challenging to not keep eating these once you make a batch of them.  The ingredient list is short but it takes more than ten minutes to make.  I should make these tarts throughout the year but for some reason I only make these during this time of the year.



2 cups of grated cheddar cheese, old cheddar is preferred
1/2 cup or 4 ounces of softened butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
chili pepper jelly


Combine all of the ingredients except the pepper jelly in a bowl.  Combine well so that the softened butter is well mixed.   Chill the dough/mixture in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  I usually empty the dough/mixture onto two pieces of saran wrap, wrap it up and chill it this way.  Take a heaping teaspoon of the dough/mixture and spoon it into mini muffin pans.  Press your thumb into the dough, pat it down and make a well in the middle.  It should look like a mini tart.  Take 1/2 tsp of the jelly and place it in the well of the tart.  I use a combination of red and green pepper jelly.   Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen.


I made a new mincemeat recipe mid November and it has been in the fridge 'ripening' since then.  I finally tasted it yesterday and it tasted good so I decided to make tarts this weekend.  This afternoon I made 30 tarts plus a small pie.   I did not make my own tart shells and used three inch store bought tart shells.  I had originally made two ice cream pails of mincemeat and have only used one.   I likely will freeze some of the mincemeat to use at a later date.   Here is a photo of a some of the tarts.

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