I pretty much like anything when it comes in a “mini” form like these Tarts aux Fraises. Mini Strawberry Tarts would make a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. I found the recipe in my copy of My French Kitchen by Joanne Harris. She is also the author of the book Chocolat that was also made into that wonderful movie starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.
The cookbook is filled with wonderful photos and French recipes. This one caught my eye because the pastry crust calls for ground almonds. I have a lot of almond flour because I stocked up back when I was living my obsession of learning how to make French Macarons. The almond flour I needed for the macarons wasn’t always easy to find so whenever I saw it, I bought it. I have 2 and a half bags of the stuff so I am happy to now have another use for it and I can start to use up my supply before it expires on me. And actually, there really is something nice about the flavor of something made with ground almonds.
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) ground almonds (almond flour)
3/4 cups ( 1 and 3/4 sticks of butter, cut into small pieces)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 to 3 large egg yolks, beaten (I used 3)
1/2 cup red currant jelly
2 pounds strawberries, washed and cut into small pieces.
For the pastry, mix the flour and ground almonds in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles coarse bred crumbs. Mix in the brown sugar. Add the egg yolks until the ingredients come together into a ball of dough. Lightly knead the dough on a cool, floured work surface to ensure the pastry is evenly blended. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator to rest for 40 minutes.
Lightly butter your tart pans if you are making mini tarts. This recipe will also make a crust for a 10-inch tart. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently line your pan with the pastry dough and place in the refrigerator to chill and relax for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line your pastry shells with parchment paper. (I took the tart pan and traced the bottom of it with a pencil onto the parchment paper and then cut the shape out with scissors. Turn the parchment paper over so that the lead from the pencil does not come in contact with your food.) Fill your tart with dried beans or pastry weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans, reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for and additional 25 minutes until the tart shell is golden and set. Caution: if you are using the mini tart pans and not the 10 inch tart pan size, watch your tarts so that they do not overcook or burn. I would suggest you check on them after 10 to 15 minutes or so and keep your eye on them. ) Remove from the oven and cool.
Gently heat the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat or use the microwave and stir after 30 second intervals. Mine was melted after the second 30 seconds.
Carefully release the cooled tart shell and transfer it to a large flat plate. The pastry is fragile! (I actually left mine in the tart pans until it was time to serve them.) Pile the strawberries into the pastry tart shells. Spoon the warm jelly over the strawberries and coat them evenly. Let them set for 1 hour before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, Bon Appetite!