Local grown strawberries are in season now! Not only are they are juicy and great-tasting, but also part of a healthy diet, providing an excellent source of vitamin C. These little tartlets with an almond crust, tangy lemon filling and strawberries on top, are perfect for either a fancy dinner party or casual summertime get together with your family and friends.
Servings: Makes 16 Servings
Almond Crust (see recipe)
1/4 cup purchased lemon curd
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chilled whipping cream
16 large strawberries
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 teaspoons brandy
Small Mint Leaves
Lemon peel strips (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out crust on lightly floured surface to 16-inch round (scant 1/8 inch thick). Cut out 3 inch rounds. Gather and reroll dough scraps. Cut out enough rounds to make 16 total. Line 3-inch-diameter fluted tartlet pans with -inch-high sides with dough rounds. Freeze crusts 15 minutes.
Arrange tartlet pans on large baking sheets. Bake crusts until pale golden, piercing bottoms with toothpick if crusts bubble, about 13 minutes. Cool crusts completely. Turn crusts out of pans; arrange on platter.
For filling: Whisk lemon curd and lemon peel in medium bowl until smooth. Whip cream in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold cream into lemon curd in 2 additions. Divide filling among crusts. Cut each strawberry as desired and place 1 atop each tartlet.
For glaze: Stir preserves and brandy in small saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Strain into small bowl. Brush each berry with glaze.
For garnish: A single raspberry that has one to three small mint leaves inserted in the top, a sprinkle of powered sugar (right before serving), and a lemon peel, if desired.
Cooks' note: Tartlets can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
Almond Crust Recipe
Servings: Makes One 9-inch Crust or about 18 3- to 3 ½ inch Crusts.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons (about) ice water
Blend flour, almonds, sugar and salt in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in almond extract and enough water to form moist clumps. Knead dough briefly on work surface to combine; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm before rolling, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.