Everybody loves mini-desserts! It must be something about the small size that makes partaking easier to justify, easier on the conscience and therefore, more irresistible.
Do you need another reason to make these?
They 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.
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.
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.
Make the crusts ahead of time.
Planning ahead gives you time to practice.
The raw, shaped crusts need to freeze a minimum of 30 minutes. You can also freeze the unbaked crusts as long as a month.
You can bake the crusts a day or two ahead of time.
Substitute store-bought crusts for homemade ones.
Your tart crusts won’t be quite as fresh, but they’ll still be tasty. However, they’re a bit expensive.
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 re-useable.
Questions about Mini Strawberry Tarts:
What is the best topping?
Any strawberry pie begs for a topping. Strawberry mini-tarts are no exception.
My first choice is sweetened whipped cream. If there’s no time for that, grab a can of Redi-Whip or a similar store brand. Frozen whipped topping like “Cool Whip” is another option. Garnish with mint, if desired.
If you’re not a strawberry lover…
Try using peaches or nectarines in place of strawberries. Swap out peach jello for the strawberry jello. See my fresh peach pie recipe for more inspiration.
Is corn syrup bad for you?
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.
Do you need to make your mini tarts ahead of time?
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 you are ready to add 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.
How to assemble the glaze for Mini Strawberry Tarts:
If you make this and enjoy the recipe, it would help me and others if you would return to this post and leave a rating (on the recipe card itself underneath the picture). Although always appreciated, no comment is required. Thanks so much! Paula
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned and de-stemmed
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons powdered strawberry Jello (do not sub diet Jello)
- 3/4 cup corn syrup
- Few drops of red food coloring, if desired
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in 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 dough rolls into a ball. If necessary, sparingly add drops of cream to make it come together.
- Press dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll dough into large circle. In the pictures you see a circular plastic bag that magically facilitates the rolling out process.
- Dust inside of bag with flour. Place dough inside and zip bag. Roll out dough large enough to hang over edges of tart pan approximately 1/2 inch. Open up bag. Place tart pan upside down on top of dough. Flip dough over into pan. Carefully and without stretching, press dough into creases. Instead of cutting dough at top edge, I prefer to fold excess (not more than 1/2 inch) dough back inside the edge of the pan so sides will thicker. Seems to help prevent crust from shrinking so much.
- Note: If you don’t have the cool plastic contraption pictured, roll out on lightly floured board or pastry towel similar to instructions seen here.
- Freeze tart at least 30 minutes. Lay nonstick foil or butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit flat but snugly inside of crust. No need to use weights if you have frozen the tart. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil for last 8 minutes of bake time. Gently push 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. 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 glaze.
- Spoon glazed strawberries into baked shells. I like to fill them as high as possible. Decadence is irresistible.
- Refrigerate 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.
- Anchor Hocking 2 Quart Glass Batter Bowl With Lid (81106L11)
- Spring Chef Cooling Rack - Baking Rack - Heavy Duty, 100% Stainless Steel, Oven Safe, 12 x 17 Inches Fits Half Sheet Cookie Pan
- OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk
- Freshware CB-305RB 12-Pack Silicone Flower Reusable Cupcake and Muffin Baking Cup, Black and Red Colors
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 130 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 12mg Sodium: 127mg Carbohydrates: 23g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 17g Protein: 4g
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