One of my all-time favorite Christmas memories is of the Holiday Open House Parties my mom used to throw. They were always after the last basketball game before Christmas, (I was a cheerleader), and all of my friends and my friend's siblings, and parents were invited. It was awesome.

Picture the parties you see thrown in Hallmark movies. That is what my mom's Christmas Open House would look like. Our house was fully decorated, Christmas music was playing and there were tons of appetizers and desserts.

One of my favorite things that my mom made for the yearly holiday event was Mini-Tarts. A french pastry favorite since the 1800s.

Originating in France, this dessert, which is named for the Hôtel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron that first served it, is traditionally made with apples, so think of it as an Apple Upside Down Tart. According to legend, the tart was invented by the unmarried French sisters who ran the hotel in the 1880s, so in France, the actual name of the tart is "Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin" (the tart of two unmarried women named Tatin.) It actually didn't become famous until a Parisian restaurant called Maxim's put it on the menu.- tellyvisions.org

My mom's mini versions of Tarts were delicious and bite-size so there was no need for a fork. They were easy to make and oh so festive. They were perfect for the open house.

Because she was a busy working mom with three kids, my mom simplified the Mini-Tart by using refrigerated pie crust cut into small circles and fit into each mini-tart baking cup in the mini tart bakeware. (you will need one of these)

Leslie Morgan

Except for her pecan tarts, (recipe below), she uses various canned pie filings.

Pecan Mini-Tarts

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • mix together well and spoon into crust cups
  • bake at 350 for 25 minutes

All Other Mini-Tarts

  • apple pie filling
  • lemon pie filling
  • chocolate pie filling
  • strawberry pie filling
  • blueberry pie filling
  • raspberry pie filling
  • pumpkin pie filling

Bake these mini-tarts at 350 for 15 minutes. She would then add icing, whipped topping, nuts, sprinkles, or candies to suit.

I'm surprising my dad, brother, and sister, by making Mom's Mini-Tarts for Thanksgiving this year. It will be like having her there with us.

But, if you prefer making your own filling, here are some great and easy recipes.

Pillsbury came up with the idea of a Mini Tart Buffett. How fun would that be? Then, you only have to bake the shells and offer a variety of ingredients for your guests to make their own mini tart creations.

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

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