Perfectly sized tarts! Mini Strawberry Buttermilk Tarts are bursting with the bright flavors of summer fruit.
There is something about the compelling nature of miniatures. Particularly true for desserts, a small replica elicits a precious reaction when encountered. Is it because we believe we can indulge without worry?
The Mini Strawberry Buttermilk Tarts are miniatures containing miniatures. Recently I was able to purchase tiny, jewel-like strawberries. Sweet and fragrant, I knew it was time to make a dessert to celebrate these berries!
Buttermilk pastry cream
Pastry cream is commonly made with whole milk. However, using buttermilk gives the cream a little tang. It is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the shell and the berries. The secret to making this pastry cream is to continually stir the buttermilk mix as it heats and thickens. Once big bubbles are popping in the middle of the pan, continue to stir for about 2 more minutes, until the cream is thick. This will ensure that the taste of the flour has been cooked out.
Let the cream chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the dough and bake the shells. It will become firmer as it gets cold.
A crispy shell, a velvety smooth pastry creme, and juicy strawberries are combined to create these mini tarts. The shells are made with a dough that is very similar to pate sablee. This dough will remind you of a sugar cookie - sweet and crisp, flavored with brown sugar and almond flour. Unlike pie crust, the dough is very workable because it has an egg yolk incorporated into the flour. However, it is easier to roll the dough if it is chilled. It will stick so have a sprinkle of flour on your rolling surface. Just be careful how much flour - if too much is added, the dough will be dry. The pate sablee recipe may look familiar - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/chocolate-mocha-tart/.
The shells are blind-baked before filling. Once the dough is in the tart pan, line the interior with aluminum foil and fill with either pie weights or unbaked beans.
Once the tart shells have baked, they need to come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes. Once they are no longer warm, it is time to put these beauties together. Remove the tart shells from the pans. Add the buttermilk pastry creme to the shell. It is up to you how many strawberries - go crazy and fill the whole tart. Try to use smaller berries, they tend to be sweeter. However, if your strawberries are large, just cut them to size. A sprinkle of powdered sugar and then stand back to admire your work!
Soon to be summer
It seems that summer is taking its time getting here in the Midwest. But I'm ready! Backyard barbeques, weekend picnics, or family get-togethers (finally) are the perfect occasions for these sweet and pretty treats. And after such a long winter, everyone will enjoy a Mini Strawberry Buttermilk Tart.
Mini Strawberry Buttermilk Tarts
- 8 - 4.5 inch mini tart shells
Buttermilk Pastry Cream
- 4 yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- pinch salt
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup confectioners sugar plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Buttermilk pastry creme
- Have the strainer set over a medium-sized bowl.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of flour with ½ cup of sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Stir together with a whisk.
- Add the 4 egg yolks and whisk together with the dry ingredients. Do not let the egg yolks sit in the sugar mixture for long - the eggs will burn. This means the eggs start to get clumpy. Add 1 cup of buttermilk to the saucepan and whisk together.
- Put the saucepan over medium heat and add the second cup of buttermilk. Continue to stir the pastry cream as it heats.
- In 5 minutes, the cream starts to thicken. Continue to stir with the whisk. Four minutes later, the pastry cream is getting hot and there will be small bubbles along the sides of the pan. Once there are big bubbles popping in the center of the pan, stir for two more minutes. The cream will get thicker. This is an important step to cook out the taste of the flour.
- Press the pastry cream through a strainer into a bowl to remove any overcooked bits of egg. The cream needs to chill before it is added to the tart shells.
- This dough is known for being sweet and rich. The key to working with the dough is to keep it cold. If it gets too warm, it will tear easily.
- Using a paddle, mix 1 ¼ cups of flour, ½ cup of almond flour, ½ cup of confectioners sugar, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- With the motor running, add the 8 tablespoons of butter a few cubes at a time. This may take 5 minutes.
- After all the butter is incorporated, add 1 tablespoon of cream and 1 egg yolk. As soon as the dough comes together, stop the mixer. This happens quickly, about 1 minute after adding the cream and egg.
- Place plastic wrap on a counter and pour the dough onto it. Now folding the plastic wrap on top, press the dough together using the heel of your hand. This is similar to a process called fraisage. Basically, you are combining the dough into one disc. If the dough feels warm, wrap in plastic and chill while you get your strawberries ready. Remove the hull from the strawberries. If they are large, cut them into smaller pieces.
Roll the dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Separate the dough into 3 ounce balls. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on your rolling surface. Too much flour can make the dough dry. Roll the dough into a circle large enough to fit the 4 ½-inch tart pan. Fit the dough into the corner of the pan and trim off excess dough on the top edge. Collect the scraps to use for more tart pans. With a fork, prick the dough.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil in the tart pan, making sure it is up against the dough. Add pie weights or unbaked beans to fill the pan. Fold the aluminum foil over the top of the beans to make removal a little easier.
- Once all the tart pans are filled, bake the shells for 19-20 minutes. Take the pans out of the oven and remove the foil and beans. Place the shells back in the oven for 4-5 more minutes so that the bottom of the tart shell dries.
- Let the shells cool and come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.
Assemble the tarts
- Once the tart shells have cooled, remove them from the pan. Add the chilled pastry creme to the shell, about ⅓ cup. Arrange the strawberries on top of the creme. Sprinkle with a little confectioners sugar.
- The tart shells will get softer after the creme is added. Left too long, the tarts will get soggy. Fill them when you are ready to serve dessert.