First of all, yesterday was my Mom’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom! Whoooo! 🙂 So, I made her these delicious tartlets. And, let me tell you, they were so, so delicious. They may not have been the most photogenic little things, but they sure were tasty. I think part of the reason they were slightly unattractive was that I used strawberries instead of other smaller, daintier berries. Like blueberries or raspberries or something. The problem with strawberries is that although they may be gorgeous and red and juicy, they just don’t fit atop a little bite-sized tartlet! So they had to be chopped up, which made them a wee bit uglier. But personally, I always pick taste over looks! As long as it’s delicious, who cares if it’s ugly, right? 🙂
The only thing I can think about when I see strawberries, or eat them, or even just smell strawberry-scented stuff, is summer. Sunshine, swimming, tanning, and juicy, refreshing strawberries. Yum! These delicious little tarts remind me of strawberry lemonade, and the slightly sweet berries contrast with the (homemade) tangy lemon curd perfectly, making these one-bite wonders amazing! Wait, hold up. Did I say homemade lemon curd?! Yes, I did, but don’t panic! It’s actually really easy… and I say that honestly because it was my first time making it too! This recipe has a few separate steps that need to be taken care of for the tartlets to come together, but that’s what makes it a perfect make-ahead recipe! Make the lemon curd one day, the tart shells another, and assemble before serving. Easy as that!
Mini Tart Shells
Yields: 24 miniature shells
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white sugar
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2-3 tbsp cold water
In a large bowl, put the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender, quickly blend the dry ingredients, then add in the butter cubes, and “cut” them into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Sprinkle in cold water a little at a time, mixing with a fork after each addition, until the dough is just moist enough to keep together. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30+ minutes.
Preheat the oven to 385F. Divide the dough in half, and roll each half into a 12-inch rope (Play-Doh style! 🙂 ), then cut each rope into 12 equal pieces. Press one piece of dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of 24 mini-muffin pan cups. With a toothpick (or, I confess, I used one of those miniature lobster forks…), prick each shell all over.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before tartlet assembly.
Yields: about 1 cup
zest of 2 lemons
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
In a 1-quart nonstick saucepan, combine lemon zest and juice, sugar, butter, and yolks over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, but DO NOT BOIL! Or your eggs will curdle! If using a candy thermometer, the mixture should be around 140F.
Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, and press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate if not using immediately.
Strawberry & Lemon Curd Tartlets
Yields: 24 mini-tarts
Adapted from Good Housekeeping Best Loved Desserts
Mini Tart Shells (recipe above)
Lemon Curd (recipe above)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into smallish squares, or other berries
2-3 tbsp white sugar
Prepare the mini tart shells and the lemon curd as directed above, and wash and prepare your berries.
In each tart shell, spoon in about 2 tsp lemon curd, or as much as will fit comfortably without overflowing. Top with berries of choice, then sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top.