This is the last dessert I baked for my neighbor’s skincare party over the weekend. Mind you, she only asked for a pound cake, but I also baked a Tomato Spice Cake and these yummy, gooey Date and Pistachio Tarts. OK, let me fess up; originally the tarts were going to be for us. However, after all the sugar madness that happened over Thanksgiving, and what I know is coming down the pipe, giving them away was the right thing to do. Aren’t I generous? This recipe comes from the Taste of Home magazine I told you about last week. Even though the magazine is a holiday edition I see no reason not to refer to it all year.
Anyway, back to the tarts. The original recipe is a Berry Nut Tart and was contributed by Lena Ehlert, of Vancouver, British Columbia. We’re not big cranberry fans in the Garth household, but depending on the recipe I’ll give it a try. But seeing as how I didn’t have any cranberries on hand and I didn’t want to go to the store, a substitution was in order. About a month ago I bought some dates and didn’t have a clue what to do with them. I even posted a question in the forum and tweeted that I needed some ideas. No cranberries? Dates it is. What goes well with dates? Pistachios of course, or at least that’s what I think. Another reason for choosing this recipe is so that I could use the square muffin tin I found at TJ Maxx. That is one of my favorite stores and it’s hard to get out of there without buying something. I generally spend way too much time in the kitchen section, fawning over the plates, pans and never heard of oils and sauces. Dark pans aren’t my first choice but this one was so cute and at $9.99 I couldn’t refuse. And besides it kept looking at me. LOL!!!
Dark pans are notorious for producing a dark and sometimes overly crusty crust so I knew I had to reduce the heat and watch it carefully. I seem to be doing a lot of that these days. The cream cheese crust did not disappoint. It was super flaky and not burnt to a crisp. The only change I’d make next time is to reduce the sugar. The sweet meter on these little lovlies was off the charts! The party guests didn’t seem to mind and they though it tasted like pecan tarts. Hey, as long as they liked them I’m a happy camper. Plus no added temptation for me at home. Woo-hoo!!! These babies go down real easy and you’ll forget just how many you’ve had. Enjoy!
½ cup butter, softened
1 – 3oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup packed brown sugar
2 TBS butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup finely chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
In a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy; gradually add the flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. I left mine in the refrigerator overnight and let it sit out for about an hour before using it.
Shape dough into a log and then cut into 12 equal portions. Press onto the bottom and all the way up the sides of a greased muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the dates and pistachios. Spoon into prepared cups.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes of until the edges are golden brown. The original instructions say to let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing. I say give them at least 10-12 minutes. At 5 minutes they’re not set and can easily fall apart. After 10-12 minutes remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator if they make it that far. Makes 1 dozen.