Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eat: Sweet Potato Tarts

The first half of September featured a very unwelcome heat wave. How am I supposed to start decorating my house with fall leaves and wrap myself with a chunky cableknit sweater when it is ONE HUNDRED degrees outside?! Fortunately, cooler weather has moved in this week and I had just the right dish in mind to kick-off the autumn season! I received a beautiful mini tart pan for my birthday that was waiting patiently to be broken-in; I also had a handful of sweet potatoes in the pantry. This recipe was a product of both!

Tarts are a great option for bakers who hate to mess with normal full-size pie crusts. The dough for these four-inch pans was easily managed and maneuvered around my countertop. Aside from the ease, individual tarts have such a fancy quality to them! I think they would present quite nicely at the end of a dinner party with friends or family (Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!). One more point in favor of tarts over pies is that you can adjust the recipe to suit your crowd size. I actually made a smaller batch of three tarts by halving the ingredient list below.

I tend to shy away from creating my own recipes but I'm so pleased with how these beauties turned out! They are delicious but not overly sweet; I find sweet potatoes to be perfectly tasty without a single additive, but I did jazz these up with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. It is also a relatively healthy dessert since I kept the sugar and butter to a minimum. The streusel topping is a must for both flavor and texture. I loved the combination of smooth filling and crunchy topping!

Sweet Potato Tarts
Yields 6 four-inch tarts (1-inch deep)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup of cold water (you may not use it all!)

Sweet Potato Filling:
4-6 small sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of allspice

Pecan Streusal Topping:
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup oats

Prepare the Dough
Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Once well combined, cut in small chunks of cold butter. You want the butter to be COLD, so keep it in the fridge until you are ready to add it. You can cut in / incorporate the butter using an electric mixer, by hand with a pastry cutter (my preferred method), or a fork/knife (way too much work; buy a pastry cutter instead!). You need to integrate the butter and flour blend until the dough is crumbly and the butter chunks are no larger than a pea. Once done, slowly pour a few tablespoons of cold water into the dough. Don't add all of the water at once! Stir and repeat just until the dough mostly sticks together. Transfer dough onto a floured countertop or plastic wrap. Knead the dough a few times to form a ball. Divide in half, reform into two balls (or thick discs) and wrap completely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll out the refrigerated dough (to about 1/4-inch thickness) and cut into 6-inch circles. Place these in greased tart pans.

Tip: measure your kitchen bowls or pot lids to see if any are the right size. I found one of mine to be 6.25 inches and it functioned like a giant cookie cutter. It made my job much easier!

Optional —  Pre-bake the empty tart shells for 3-5 minutes at 425°F. I did this and noticed the crusts did not keep their shape (the edges sort of slid down into the tart pans. Before I added the filling, I simply reformed the shells with a spatula and they turned out just fine.

Combine all of the filling ingredients and spoon into the tart shells. Smooth out the filling along the tops of the tarts.

Combine all of the streusal ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the tarts. Add a couple of pecan-halves to the centers.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375°F. After cooling for a few minutes, the tarts should remove easily from their pans with a little help from a fork or knife.


  1. These sound delicious. Wish you were coming here for Thanksgiving and bringin' these darlings! Lucas and I are the only ones who like sweet potatoes here :(

  2. Thanks, Marci! Matt and I are crazy about sweet potatoes--I think we'd eat them every day if we could!