I love these soft, delicious homemade apricot tarts and they make a great holiday cookie. I am not a fan of the canned apricot filling, so I created a homemade filling from dried apricots that exceeded my expectations.
This 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 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp butter, 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (optional), 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Add 2 tbsps orange juice. Cook a bit longer until texture is like jam. You can add up to 1/2 cup sugar if you like it sweeter.
Stir, cool and store in refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
Basic Dough recipe for tarts
1 1/3 cups butter
8 oz package cream cheese
2 2/3 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)
Soften butter and cheese at room temperature. Add to mixing bowl and blend well. Then add the flour once butter and cheese is creamed together.
Dough should be thick.
Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to chill 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 short cut 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!
Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve tarts warm or at room temperature.
These cookies make a great recipe for a holiday cookie exchange. They are one of my absolute favorites!
Homemade Apricot Tarts Recipe:
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg optional
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoon orange juice
- 1 1/3 cups butter , room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 2/3 cups of white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 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.
- 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. Turn mixer off, add flour, and combine on low speed just until combined. Dough should be thick.
- Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour, or overnight.
- 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.