Cheesy Vegetable Tarts


This recipe from "Crisco Cooking” looks more complicated than it is.  I’ve made it a couple of times now, and the second time I used my freezer pie dough (for a large 2-crust pie), and freezer cheese sauce to make it a lot more painless.  If you like purchased pie crusts, the idea would still work. Both times, I baked my tart shells ahead of time and let them warm near the oven while I heated the cheese sauce and vegetables. 
This is an attractive way to serve vegetables on the buffet – they’ll get oohs and ahs.  Simply assemble them right before serving.  I was surprised that the shells didn’t get soggy.
I liked their idea of using the top of your 3# shortening can to cut your shells – the crust shrinks a little, so don’t worry if they overlap a little.  Don’t forget to prick the shells before baking so they don’t puff up.  I think any savory filling like chicken a la king would be good.  This idea works well for tart shells filled with sweet fillings too.
I suggest making these with an oven meal like pork chops on rice to cut down on your last minute rush.                     
                          Cheesy Vegetable Tarts
                        Pastry Dough
  1 1/4   Cups  Flour, All-purpose
     1/8   Teaspoon  Salt
     1/3   Cup  Shortening
     1/3   Cup  Cheddar Cheese -- finely shredded
  1          Large  Egg
  1          Tablespoon  Cold Water -- -2 tablespoons
                        Filling
  16        Ounces  Frozen California-blend Vegetables -- broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
                        Sauce
  2          Tablespoons  Shortening or butter
  2          Tablespoons  Flour, All-purpose
  1          Cup  Milk
     1/4   Teaspoon  Salt
              Dash  White Pepper
  2          Tablespoons  Heavy Cream
     1/3   Cup  Cheddar Cheese -- finely shredded
For pastry, preheat oven to 425°.  Combine flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut in Crisco until mixture resembles cornmeal.  Stir in cheese, egg and enough water to form dough.
Roll out pastry to 1/8" thickness on lightly floured surface.  Using the lid from a 3 pound Crisco can as a pattern, cut 8 circles, about 5 1/4" each.  Place pastry circles over backs of inverted 2 3/4" muffin pan cups or small custard cups.  Pierce with a fork.
Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a rack for 2-3 minutes, then carefully remove shells from muffin pans.
For Filling:  Prepare vegetables according to package directions.  Save 8 nice vegetable pieces for garnish.  Chop remaining vegetables to 1/2" pieces and keep warm.
For Sauce:  Melt shortening in a saucepan.  Add flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Add milk slowly, stirring constantly.  Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. 
Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, cream and cheddar cheese.
Spoon the well-drained vegetables into the baked tart shells.  Spoon the hot sauce over vegetables.  Garnish with vegetable pieces.  Serve hot.
8 Servings
About 2 ounces vegetables and ¼ cup cheese sauce per shell.
2012 Cost:  $3.07 or 39¢ per serving

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