The crust in this recipe comes out like a softish shortbread, buttery and crumbly. After a couple trial runs, I've come to the conclusion that it's best to make the crust as thin as possible and to fill the tarts to the very, very top with filling until they're almost overflowing. Basically, more filling with just a touch of crust.
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (chilled)
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Dissolve sugar in the hot water. Let cool completely, then add the 4 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp. of vinegar. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer and set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Cut shortening and chilled butter into the flour to the texture of coarse meal (butter/shortening should be pea-sized).
3. Pour in beaten egg and vanilla. Stir well to combine. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead very lightly until it just holds together. Do not overknead!!
4. Roll dough out into a log and cut into 12 sections. Press each dough ball into a 3" tart mold, making sure to press the dough as thinly as possible for a thin crust. Place tarts onto a sheet pan and pour as much filling as will fit into each mold.
5. Place tarts on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove immediately from oven and let cool.