These homemade apricot tarts are a soft and buttery tart cookie filled with apricot filling and dusted with powdered sugar. This flavorful holiday cookie recipe has been a Christmas tradition in our family passed down from my Nana. There are two variations for this recipe, one with a homemade apricot filling made from dried apricots and a shortcut filling version made with apricot jam. Both versions are incredibly delicious!!
My mom's original apricot tart recipe used canned apricot filling. I decided to create a homemade filling from dried apricots and it exceeded my expectations! This tart filling is also delicious on English muffins or toast for breakfast. For the homemade filling, start with fresh, plump dried apricots.
How To Make Apricot Filling for Cream Cheese Tarts
Mix 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots and enough water to come 1 inch above apricots in a saucepan.
Simmer 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional), ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Add 2 tbsps orange juice. Cook a bit longer until the texture is like jam. You can add up to ½ cup sugar if you like it sweeter.
Stir, cool, and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
Basic Dough Recipe For Tarts
1 ⅓ cups butter
8 oz package cream cheese
2 ⅔ cups of unbleached white whole wheat flour (the white wheat is great here and doesn't comprise the flaky tart texture like regular whole wheat flour. You can also use unbleached all-purpose flour)
*Optional, but recommended: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Soften butter and cheese at room temperature. Add to mixing bowl and blend well. Add vanilla and blend until incorporated, if using. Then add the flour and mixed until a ball of dough has formed.
The dough should be thick, like this.
Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form dough into walnut size balls and place into a mini muffin/tart pan. Using a tart tamper dusted with flour, press down on each ball forming the tart shape.
Fill tarts with a heaping teaspoon of apricot filling. I've also used store-bought apricot jam with great results. Trader Joe's low-sugar apricot preserves are my favorite. This is a great shortcut if you want to save a few steps. Bake filled tarts at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until very lightly golden.
These babies are soft, buttery, and melt in your mouth. So good!
These cookies make a great recipe for a holiday cookie exchange. They are one of my absolute favorites!
Homemade Apricot Tarts
For apricot filling:
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
For tart dough:
- 1 ⅓ cups butter room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 ⅔ cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional, but recommended
For apricot filling:
- Add chopped dried apricots and enough water to come 1 inch above apricots in a saucepan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.
- Stir in sugar, butter, nutmeg (optional), cinnamon and orange juice. Cook a bit longer, until texture is like jam.
- Stir, cool and store in refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
For tart dough:
- Add cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the beater blade, combine ingredients on medium-high speed until well blended. Add vanilla, if using, and mix until incorporated. Turn mixer off, add flour and mix on low speed just until combined and a ball of dough forms. The dough should be thick.
- Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight.
To assemble tarts:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Form dough into walnut size balls and place into a mini muffin or tart pan. Using a tart tamper dusted with flour, press down on each ball to form the tart shape.
- Fill each tart with a rounded teaspoon of filling (homemade or store-bought apricot jam). Bake for 10 minutes or until very lightly golden. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on wire racks.
- When completely cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container or freeze in freezer containers until ready to serve. Allow tarts to come to room temperature before serving for best texture.
*This post has been updated from the original version published on December 11, 2010.