I’ve always had a soft spot for bright pink strawberry lemonade. The color itself is lovely, of course, but it is the combination of zesty lemon and sweet strawberries that always pulled me in. It is a combination that just says “summer” to me and I always look for opportunities to put these flavors together when I have fresh strawberries on hand. Strawberry Lemonade Muffins and Strawberry Lemonade Bars are two recipes that I come back to again and again, but you can’t beat these Strawberry & Lemon Curd Tartlets for simplicity and flavor.
The tarts are made with a buttery pastry dough that is rolled out and baked in mini muffin tins to create tiny shells. These mini tart shells are crisp, tender and make a great base for all kinds of fillings. These shells are filled with my favorite Homemade Low Fat Lemon Curd, which is bright and tangy, like good lemonade. Both the shells and the lemon curd can be prepared a day in advance, so you only have to worry about the assembly when you are ready to serve these. The lemon curd can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, while the shells can be stored in a ziploc bag or other airtight container after they have been cooled completely.
The tarts are topped of with slices of fresh strawberries. I chose strawberries that were just about the size of my tart shells so that I could use a whole half of a strawberry, however you can slice yours differently if needed. The strawberries are finished with a touch of melted jam, which gives them a bright, shiny finish and adds the smallest hint of extra sweetness to the tarts. I used guava jam in the tarts pictured here, which has a floral, tropical note to it, but raspberry and strawberry jams will work just as well. You can even use apricot jam, which is a traditional way to finish a fruit tart, though it won’t help enhance the color of the berries like the red jams will.
The tarts can be served right away or refrigerated for several hours before serving. The tart shells will be perfectly crisp if the tarts are served right away, however I actually like it when the crust melds with the lemon curd a bit, so I typically refrigerate them for at least an hour before I put them out. This makes them a great entertaining dessert, as you don’t need any special equipment to eat them (not even plates!) and they can be prepared well ahead of time.
Strawberry & Lemon Curd Tartlets
Mini Tart Pastry
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, cold and cut into a few pieces
3-4 tbsp ice water
Filling and Topping
1 batch Homemade Low Fat Lemon Curd (approx 2/3 cup)
6 fresh strawberries, hulled
3 tbsp red jam (strawberry, raspberry or guava)
Make the tart shells:In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Rub in butter with you fingertips until the mixture is sandy and no pieces larger than a big pea remain. Add ice water and stir with a fork until the dough starts to come together into a ball. If dough is too sticky, add a little extra flour. If dough is too dry to come together easily, add a little extra water. This can also be done in the food processor.
Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap or a small plastic bag and flatten into a disc. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2-inch (approximate) round cookie cutter to cut four circles out of each piece of dough. Press into a mini muffin tin. Cut off any excess pastry. Repeat with remaining dough until the mini muffin pan is full.
Dock the base of the tarts with a fork, line with small pieces of parchment paper and fill with beans, rice or pie weights.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pie weights and bake for 12-16 more minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
Assemble the tarts:
Spoon a generous 1/2 tablespoon of lemon curd into the cooled tart shells.
Cut the strawberries in half and place one half on each of the filled tart shells, pressing them down gently.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat red jam of your choice until just melted. Use a pastry brush to dab a little bit onto each strawberry to make them look bright and glossy.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.