This no-cook salsa has a tangy-sweet taste that pairs well with cheddar and is also a good complement to turkey or ham.
2 9" frozen pie shells
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 seedless orange, with peel*
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup drained roasted sweet onions**
1/2 cup sultana raisins
1/3 cup liquid honey
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
Few drops Tabasco or similar hot sauce
*Thin-skinned oranges work best.
**Jars of small sweet onions (like cipollini) that are either roasted, grilled or caramelized and packed in vinegar and oil are available in gourmet food shops. Do not substitute cocktail or pearl onions.
Step 1: Thaw pie shells for 10-15 minutes while preheating oven to 400ºF.
Step 2: Remove one pie shell from foil plate and press it flat onto a floured pastry board. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over top. Remove second pie shell from foil, lay on top and flatten gently.
Step 3: With a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll out cheese and pastry "sandwich" to 1/8" thickness. Using 2" diameter round cutter, cut out 36 circles. (If baking in batches, circles can be kept in single layer on wax paper-lined baking sheet until pans are ready).
Step 4: Fit pastry circles into bottom and up sides of ungreased mini muffin tins (1-3/4" diameter). Prick with a fork. Bake 12-14 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool on a rack.
Step 5: To make cranberry salsa, in small food processor, chop orange until peel is in small pieces. Add cranberries and onions; pulse until cranberries are just coarsely chopped, not puréed. Transfer to a bowl; stir in raisins, honey, sugar, ginger, hot sauce and pepper to taste. Cover; chill overnight, or freeze up to 2 weeks.
Step 6: To serve, spoon salsa into cheddar tarts.
Makes 2 cups salsa and about 36 tarts