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LOW-FAT BAKING : Tiny Tarts

August 06, 1992|MINNIE BERNARDINO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A good pastry crust that's tender and flaky is likely to be high in fat. But there's a place for pastry tarts in the fat-watcher's diet too.

These Plum Tartlets are encased in pastry shells that may not crumble into flakes and melt in your mouth, but they are cookie-crisp and complementary to the tangy-sweet plum filling. And the entire pastry is just 75 calories and 1 gram of fat.

A little almond paste provides a nice hint of marzipan while oat flour blend and just two tablespoons of butter make the crust tender.

PLUM TARTLETS

1 pound plums (4 to 5), pitted

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons instant tapioca

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg whites

Almond Pastry

Cut 1 plum into small thin slices and reserve for topping. Dice remaining plums and place in medium saucepan with brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Slowly stir buttermilk into plum mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir tapioca and water and let stand 3 minutes, no longer. Stir into plum mixture and heat 5 minutes until tapioca swells. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into plum mixture until completely blended. Spoon into Almond Pastry shells, filling to top. Top each tartlet with 1 to 2 plum slices. Place on large baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes. Makes 24 to 26 tartlets.

Note: If plums are too tart, sprinkle top of tartlets with small amount of brown sugar before baking.

Each serving contains about:

76 calories; 42 mg sodium; 3 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.12 gram fiber.

Almond Pastry

1/2 cup oat flour blend

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons almond paste, softened

2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, diced

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flours and salt in bowl. Rub in almond paste and butter with fingers or cut in with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add almond extract. Sprinkle in cold water, about 1 tablespoon at time, tossing with fork until moist but not wet. Gather dough and shape into 2 flat rounds. Let stand 5 minutes.

Roll each dough about 1/16th-inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into 2 3/4-inch rounds. Line about 24 to 26 (2 1/2-inch) tartlet pans or small muffin cups with pastry. Pierce all over with fork.

Place pans on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees 6 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans on rack. Makes 24 to 26.

Note: For more tender pastry, use the higher amount of butter called for.

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