Baking Lesson: Pies, Tarts & Muffins

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to learn how to bake pies.  I tried a couple of times on my own but making homemade pie dough is not an easy task.  Especially for a beginner like me, so I decided to take a "Pies & Tarts" class at the Cookshop.  I never made it though because the special was 3 for 2.  I couldn't find the third person.  Another disadvantage was that it was a demonstration class.  Out of my "bad luck", a "good idea" was born.  Baking lessons at home.  This was cheaper than taking a class and gave us hands-on experience.  Grab a baking buddy and start planning your baking lesson today.
The recipes we chose were inspired with the pies and tarts theme.  Muffins were an added bonus inspired by local produce.

1.  Fresh Raspberry and Blueberry Tarts from the Food Network.  Start with the tart dough because it needs one hour in the fridge.

2.  Parsnip Muffins from the Food Network was rated 5 stars.  Instead of almonds, we topped them off with a couple of large oat flakes instead.  A few other adjustments included using whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour.  And walnut oil instead of veggie oil.  We also used organic cane sugar instead of white sugar. Turned out to be nutritious and delicious.
3.  Swedish Almond Tarts from All was the last recipe.  Put the parsnip muffins in the oven and prepare this recipe.  This has a shortbread tart dough that can be pressed into a mini-mini muffin tin right away.  The timing works out perfectly because the muffins will be ready and then the Almond tarts go in the oven.

While the Almond tarts are cooking, it's time to prepare the rest of the recipe for the raspberry and blueberry tarts.  We made mini-tarts and a fresh raspberry and blueberry pie.  It's not your traditional pie since we added an artistic flair to it.
What did I learn from my Baking Lesson?  Two things I plan to invest in for my kitchen.
1.  Food processor is VERY useful when making pastry. 
2.  Love mini-muffin tins to make these cute tarts.