Sneak Preview: Mini Strawberry Tarts with Shortbread Crusts are full of glazed fresh strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Simple to serve and easy to eat.
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Everybody loves these Strawberry Mini-Tarts! It must be something about the small size that makes indulging easier to justify, easier on the conscience, and more irresistible.
These Mini Strawberry Tarts are easy to serve! Mini tarts are the cupcakes of the pie world. Guests can pick them up and eat them with their fingers, eliminating the need for plates and silverware when appropriate.
4 Secrets for making mini tart shells:
Goodness! It’s hard not to nibble on these cookie-crust tart shells before you assemble your mini-tarts. I never cry over a broken crust because I’m too busy eating it.
Since the mini-crusts pictured are only 3 inches in diameter, the dough is reasonably easy to manipulate. If it is your first try, don’t miss the video. Just like making pie crusts, practice helps.
1. Always make a few more crusts than you think you will need.
The recipe makes 14-15 crusts or less – depending on how thin you roll the dough and the size of your tart shells. These crusts contain a lot of butter which makes them delicious and sometimes fragile. You will learn to handle them with care.
2. Make the crusts ahead of time.
Planning ahead gives you time to practice.
The raw, shaped crusts must freeze for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can also freeze the unbaked crusts for as long as a month.
You can bake the crusts a day or two ahead of time.
3. Substitute store-bought crusts for homemade ones.
Your tart crusts won’t be quite as fresh, but they’ll still be tasty. However, store-bought crusts can be a bit expensive.
4. Non-stick aluminum foil is the secret.
Press a piece of non-stick aluminum foil inside the raw tart shell to prevent crusts from puffing in the middle as they bake. Use non-stick foil as opposed to regular aluminum foil. Otherwise, the foil may stick to the delicate crust and mess it up as you remove the foil.
📌 Tip: Save the foil squares if you make these often. They are reusable.
How to shape shortbread crusts:
Shape shortbread dough into a cylinder. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill before shaping.
Slice roll into 15-16 equally-sized discs.
Lay one slice in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until the circumference is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch greater than the circumference of your tart cup. Lay the tart mold upside down on top of it to check.
Peel the top layer of plastic wrap off and lay it on top of a tart mold.
Use silicone tart molds or metal molds.
Press dough into the silicone mold with your fingers. If it tears, “squish” it back together. If it pleats, use your fingers to press the excess dough down smooth.
The goal is uniform thickness throughout so it will bake evenly.
Trim the crust with a sharp knife to make a smooth edge. Place the finished cup in the freezer until hard
To keep the crust from bubbling up in the middle, cut aluminum foil (preferably non-stick) into small squares. Use fingers to mold the foil to the inside of the tart (there’s a tart crust underneath her thumb) making sure the top edge is also covered. It will help to prevent over-browning.
How to assemble the glaze:
Combine all ingredients except the food coloring and almond extract in a microwave-safe glass bowl.
Cook on HIGH in your microwave for 4-7 minutes. The mixture should have a consistency somewhere between maple syrup and molasses.
While the glaze cools a bit, rinse and de-stem strawberries, setting them on a towel to dry.
Slice strawberries into smaller pieces.
Gently fold strawberry pieces into the strawberry glaze.
Distribute strawberry filling into shells.
📌 TIP: Placing empty shells into a cupcake pan or carrier helps to prevent breakage while you fill them and also makes them easy to transport.
Let chill for 2-3 hours or until filling is set. Serve with whipped cream.
Questions about Mini Strawberry Tarts:
Any strawberry pie begs for a topping. Strawberry mini-tarts are no exception.
My first choice is sweetened whipped cream. Grab a can of Redi-Whip or a similar store brand if there’s no time for that. Frozen whipped topping like “Cool Whip” is another option. Garnish with mint, if desired
Try using peaches or nectarines in place of strawberries. Swap out peach jello for strawberry jello. See my fresh peach pie recipe for inspiration.
Corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup. Some brands of corn syrup do contain HFCS. Stick with Karo because they do not add any HFCS. Also, don’t try to substitute another ingredient for corn syrup, like sugar or a sweetener. As an alternative, you could try making the syrup yourself.
Of course, corn syrup is a form of sugar, so moderation is in order.
You can make the tart shells ahead of time and freeze the raw crusts for up to a month. Bake them a day ahead of time if you like.
On the day you plan to serve the tarts, make the glaze and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Wash and slice the strawberries and fold them gently into the glaze.
Refrigerate for about 3 hours. Do not wash and slice the strawberries much before adding them to your prepared glaze.
Serve your tarts within a few hours of assembly. Otherwise, the crust will soften, and the strawberries will exude liquid, making the filling slightly runny. They do not hold up well overnight. I don’t mind eating leftover tarts the next day, but I wouldn’t plan to serve them to guests.
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!
Fresh Mini Strawberry Tarts
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 1 stick chilled butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pound fresh strawberries - cleaned and de-stemmed
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons powdered strawberry Jello - do not sub diet Jello
- ¾ cup corn syrup
- Few drops of red food coloring - if desired
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract - optional
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until it looks like a cross between oatmeal and coarse cornmeal.
- Combine egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Process until most of the dough rolls into a ball. If necessary, sparingly add drops of cream to make it come together.
- Press dough into a roll like refrigerated cookie dough. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes
- Spray molds generously with Baker’s Secret or something like it. (Baker’s Secret is an aerosol spray mix of flour and oil.) If using silicone molds, no greasing is necessary.
- Slice your roll of dough into 12 pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap into a circle slightly larger than tart molds. Press into a mold with fingers being careful to keep the thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra at the top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, overnight or up to a month. (See video for this step.)
- Freeze tarts for at least 30 minutes. Lay nonstick foil or butter on the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit flat but snugly inside of the crust. Bake in a 375˚F oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil for the last 8 minutes of bake time. Gently push the crust down if you see it has begun to puff when you remove the foil. Cool.
- Combine water, cornstarch, strawberry Jello, and corn syrup in that order. Stir or whisk until dissolved.
- Cook the filling in a microwave using a 2 qt-glass batter bowl. Takes 4-7 minutes on High, stirring once or twice. The mixture should boil and thicken to the consistency of molasses.
- Add food coloring and flavorings, if using. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse and de-stem 1 quart of strawberries. Allow to drain and dry on a towel. Slice or cut strawberries into small pieces. Gently fold strawberries into the glaze.
- Spoon glazed strawberries into baked shells. I like to fill them as high as possible. Decadence is irresistible.
- Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Best eaten the day they are made. Just before serving, top with whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.