Alex Guarnaschelli's Quickie Strawberry Tartlets
Say 'Hello" to Spring With These Tartlets
I love a simple fruit tart. During my many years living in France, I enjoyed countless tarts with crisp buttery shells laced with traces of almond flour or extract or lemon zest. When I'm at home, I often find that the prospect of tackling a good tart dough, a filling, and a fruit topping feels like a lot. So I cheat a little and use a very thin cookie, or tuile, batter to make the tartlet shells. The tuile shells are thinner, crisper, and more rustic looking than a classic pie or tart shell shape. Each one has its own unique shape. As far as the fruit goes, strawberries are my first choice because the slightly seedy exterior combined with the meaty inside is impossible to improve upon. The tartlet shells and strawberry mix can be made in advance but do not fill the shells with the sour cream and strawberries until just before serving; the juice from the strawberries makes them soggy quickly. Makes 30 to 35 tartlets
Prepare the fruit: Using a vegetable peeler and a light touch, remove the zest from half of the lemon. Try to remove the zest in small pieces and leave the pith (the white part) behind. Juice the lemon into a medium bowl and mix in the zest, granulated sugar, and strawberries. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble the tarts.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Make the batter: Using a fine-mesh strainer or sifter, sift together the confectioners' sugar and flour into a medium bowl. Use your hands to push the sugar and flour through the strainer to make sifting easier. Whisk in the butter and orange juice.
Use a cookie sheet or invert a rimmed, baking sheet onto the counter, making sure the bottom is clean. Coat with a thin layer of cooking spray. Spoon a generous teaspoon of the batter near the corner of the sheet and use a small offset spatula to spread it thinly into a small, imperfect oval, about 3½ by 2½ inches. Take care to leave about an inch between the ovals because they will spread a bit when they are baked. You should be able to fit about 10 on the sheet at one time.
Bake the tart shells: Have ready a mini muffin tin or clean egg carton. Put the tuiles in the oven and bake until light brown, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and while the tuiles are still warm, use an offset spatula to transfer a tuile from the baking sheet to the muffin tin. Using your fingers, press down in the center to create a shell that mimics the shape of each muffin cup. The sides will overlap or be higher than the muffin cup. That's fine. Your goal is to make a mini tart shell to fill with the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining tuiles, working with only one at a time. If the tuiles cool too much on the baking sheet before molding and aren't flexible, return the sheet to the warm oven for a minute to loosen them up before continuing. Let the tart shells cool completely.
Glaze the berries: Strain the liquid from the strawberries and pour it into a small pan. Simmer over medium heat to reduce until it becomes syrupy and reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then pour it back over the strawberries, and toss to blend.
Serve the tarts: Remove the shells from the muffin tin. Put a small dollop of sour cream in the bottom of each shell and top with some of the strawberries. Assemble and then eat immediately. They become soggy quickly.
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli.
This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.