This is a very simple recipe and the beauty lies in the details. Whenever I make anything with red fruits, I always take care to wash them when they are still whole so that no water penetrates the fruit, diluting the flavor. I also love drawing out some of the wonderful juices and using that as part of this dessert.
- 1 pound strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, from concentrate (recommended Tropicana) not fresh squeezed
- Nonstick spray
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream
- Special equipment: an offset spatula, a silicon pad, a baking sheet, a small muffin tin
Put the strawberries on a flat surface and cut them, widthwise, into 1/4-inch thick slices. The slices should be thin enough to bend slightly when you cut them.
Using a vegetable peeler and, with a light touch, remove the zest from half of the lemon. Try to remove the zest in small pieces and leave the pith (the white part) behind. Juice the lemon and the lime and add them to a bowl along with the zest, sugar and strawberries. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift the powdered sugar and flour into a medium bowl. Use your hands to push the sugar and flour through the strainer to make it easier. Stir in the melted butter and the orange juice. Stir to blend.
Invert a baking sheet and put it on a flat surface. Coat it with a thin layer of nonstick spray as an added precaution against sticking. Spoon a generous teaspoon of the batter near the corner of the sheet and use a small offset spatula to spread it thinly into a small, imperfect oval. Take care to leave space between each oval because they will spread when they are baked. You should be able to fit about 12 on the tray.
Bake them in the oven until light brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven. Put the tray by the inverted muffin tin. Use the offset spatula to lift the shells, 1 by 1, off the tray. Using your fingers, put a shell over the muffin tin bottom, pressing down to create a tart shell. The sides will overlap or be higher than the muffin hole. Your goal is to make a tart shell to fill with the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining shells. Allow them to cool. Cooks Note: If the ovals cool too much on the baking sheet and arent flexible, put the tray back in the warm oven for a minute to loosen them up and resume molding them into the muffin tin.
Strain the liquid from the strawberries and pour it into a small pan. Reduce over medium heat until it becomes syrupy and thick. Pour it back over the strawberries and toss to blend. Return to the refrigerator to chill again. When ready to serve, put a small dollop of sour cream in the bottom of each shell and top with some of the strawberries. Sprinkle with a touch of granulated sugar. Serve immediately.
The tart shells and strawberry mix can be made in advance but do not fill the shells with the sour cream and strawberries until JUST before serving. The juice from the strawberries makes them soggy quickly but they are delicious and fresh!