The fourth of July is coming up fast, and we were really excited to be posting a recipe for the holiday. We were going to make it up north at our friends’ camp and then post it when we got back, but then we realized how stupid we were being. Why post a fourth of July recipe after the fourth? Isn’t the point of posting it so that you all can make it in time for your barbecues, get-togethers, and awesome fireworks? Yes, yes it is. So today we got our butts in gear and whipped up a strawberry curd and made mini tart crusts. Put some blueberries on top and you’ve got a red, white and blue fourth of July dessert. And I, Rachael, actually had to get up before eight (in the morning!) to run to the store with Natalie, so that way the curd would have time to set before we made the mini tarts and then leave in the afternoon to go up to the Adirondacks. Not to mention we have to clean up the house, pack our bags, do laundry, and Natalie has to go to her calculus class. But it is definitely well worth it because, my god, this curd tastes like something straight from heaven. Also, we really wanted to try this crust, because it is a pretty cool recipe. You know how normally in pastry crusts, you cube the butter really small and keep it really cold before you bake it? Well, if you didn’t know, that is so the little cubes of frozen butter release steam when baking, and the crust develops little pockets all over, making it super flaky. This recipe doesn’t use butter—instead you mix together some oil and flour and freeze it, and then you mix it into the flour so that it does the same thing as frozen butter would. Cool, right?
Note: You will need a mini muffin pan for this recipe. If you don’t have one, you can always try baking the crust for longer in a bigger pan, or just find a different recipe for the crust and then fill it with the strawberry curd. Also, the color is a little pale, so if you want it to be redder, add a tiny bit of red food coloring.
Ingredients: Strawberry Curd (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups sliced strawberries (about 1 1-pound package)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- Red food coloring (optional—see note)
Butterless Tart Crusts from Eating Well for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (Makes about 20 crusts)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 tablespoons milk (we used 1%)
- Powdered sugar (optional)
To make the curd: Puree the sliced strawberries until completely smooth. Pour through a mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on the sides with a spoon or spatula to get all of the juice through. Discard the seeds. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch, then gradually whisk in the strawberry puree and the lime juice (add the drop or two of food coloring at this point if you are choosing to use it). Then add the eggs and the egg yolk, whisk until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Put the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to boil. Continue to whisk constantly for one minute after the mixture boils. It should get quite thick at this point. Take the saucepan off of the heat and pour the curd into a bowl or container. Cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the surface of the curd—that way a film will not form. Let chill until cool and completely set, about six to eight hours.
To make the crusts: Mix together the oil and the 1/4 cup of flour. When smooth, put it in the freezer until partially frozen, about 40-45 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 cup of flour, the sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the frozen (it should still be somewhat liquidy) mixture to the dry ingredients and use a pastry blender to mix them together. Or you can just use your hands and mix until you reach a mealy consistency. Add the four tablespoons of milk and stir. If the dough does not fully come together, add another tablespoon of the milk and stir again until the dough is soft and has come together. Knead on a floured surface for a minute or two, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. Once you take the dough out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Grease the mini muffin pan. Roll out the dough and cut circles (2 1/2″ or 3″ in diameter) in it to line the muffin pan. Once you are done with that, line each crust with foil and fill with dried beans or with weights. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until fully cooked with golden edges. Let rest for a few minutes if they are too hot to remove, and then take the crusts our from the pan. Let them cool on a cooling rack at least until they are only slightly warm.
To assemble: When the curd is done chilling, remove it from the fridge and spoon about a tablespoon of it into each mini crust. Top each with a two or three blueberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. And now your red, white and blue treat is all done—enjoy!