I have a thing for tiny tarts. So when the local strawberries showed up at the farmers’ market, I dreamed about the perfect fresh strawberry tarts you’d see in a French patisserie.
Trouble was, I don’t own the little tart pans you need to shape and bake the pastry crusts before you fill them with gorgeously fresh fruit.
But there I was browsing one day and saw tiny tarts made from mason jar lids. Aha! I’ve got tons of those from canning. The narrow lids were too tiny, so I went with the wide mouth rings and lids.
I was nearly there…
But first, I needed a crust.
Shortcrust dough & Blind Baking
Even if pie crust is not your best friend, short crust dough is different. It’s less fragile and easy to handle. Plus, you don’t even need a rolling pin to use it. Just pinch off pieces, flatten them with your hand and press them into the canning jar lids.
This recipe makes six.
The only technical step is called blind baking. A funny term, but it just means unfilled, so basically you’re baking a plain crust .
I pricked the bottoms with a fork and used cupcake liners to hold dry beans that prevent the crust from bulging up and taking up all the space for the filling.
Twenty minutes is all that’s needed for fully baked tiny tart crusts.
Tiny Fruit Tart Fillings
Now you can relax because the technical stuff is over. And while you may want to go all Great British Baking Show and cook up a classic vanilla pastry cream or lemon curd, I did not. It’s summer after all, so let’s keep things simple.
Instead, I grabbed the Scandinavian vanilla yogurt from the refrigerator that’s thick like Greek. I spooned it into the cooled tart crusts, and topped it with those juicy fresh strawberries.
Of course any fresh berries are terrific as tiny tarts. I plan to make these again with raspberries and blackberries. But I did take one lesson from my classical baking and apply a jelly glaze that made these tiny fresh strawberry tarts really shine.
And while they looked homey and rustic, instead of picture perfect, they did not even last long enough to admire.
Happy summer and good eating!
What’s your favorite edible sign of summer? Let me know what you’re making in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
Tiny Fresh Strawberry Tarts
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water pastured
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek or Scandinavian yogurt
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed
- 1 tablespoon fruit jelly, strawberry, currant or grape optional
- To make the dough by hand, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using two knives or your fingers. When it resembles gravel, add the egg mixture and use a fork to blend into a firm dough with nearly all of the flour incorporated. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter top and gently knead and fold it a few times to make a smooth and uniform dough.
- To make the dough in a food processor, pulse the flour and the salt in the bowl to blend. Add the butter and pulse about 6 times until the butter pieces are gravel sized. Add the egg mixture and pulse just until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Press or roll the dough into a round 1/2 larger than the wide mouth jar lid. Press the dough into the bottom of the lid and up the sides to form a crust. Use a fork or your fingers to form the edge.
- Arrange the tart shells onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 20 minutes before baking. You can complete this step 1 day in advance.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Poke the bottom of the tarts crusts with a fork in a few places to prevent it from puffing up while baking. Line the crusts with muffin tin cups and fill with dry beans or pie weights.
- Bake the crusts for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and liners. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Then, lift off the rings and remove the bottoms.
- To complete the tarts, spoon in the yogurt and top with whole or sliced strawberries.
- To glaze your tarts and make them shiny, melt the jelly in a small dish in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the strawberries and allow 15 minutes to set before serving.