Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Meringue Tartelettes

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The end of the local strawberry season is almost here, so I’m trying to think of all the strawberry recipes I can make while they are still at their peak. My mom used to make strawberry meringue pie in the summer that I always liked. I didn’t want to make a whole pie for just two people, I thought individual tartelettes would be better. If I had more than I thought we could eat, I figured I could freeze a few of the tartelettes. However, we had no problem polishing these off in a matter of days. A perfect recipe for summer; the better the strawberries, the better the taste. The local berries I bought were so sweet that I only needed to add 1 Tbl sugar to the berries. My favorite part of this dessert is the layer of meringue, I don’t know why, I just love it. If you want to make a 9" pie instead of tartelettes, simply double the filling ingredients.

Strawberry Meringue Tartelettes
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Makes 6-8 tartelettes

For the dough:
6 oz (1 c + 2 Tbl) flour
4 oz (1 stick) cold butter or shortening, cut up (or combination of both; I use half butter half earth balance shortening)
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl finely ground almonds (opt)
Pinch kosher salt
3-4 Tbl ice water

Combine flour, sugar, and ground almonds in bowl, add butter and using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) cut butter until mixture has plenty of pea-sized chunks.

Add a pinch of kosher salt and gradually add water, Tbl at a time, until dough just comes together. Flatten into disk and refrigerate at least 15 minutes before rolling.

When ready to roll, preheat oven to 325 F. Roll out dough into disks, press into tartelette pans, press flatted palm over tartelette pan to trim off excess dough.

Place small squares of aluminum foil or parchment paper into each tartelette pan, filling with pie weights or dried beans. Place on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Remove pie weights, then return shells to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, til crusts are golden brown.

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the filling:
1 egg white
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Pinch salt
2 Tbl+2 tsp granulated sugar
2.5 oz whole strawberries (about 4 good sized strawberries)
1-2 Tbl sugar
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
3 Tbl cold water
Red food coloring (opt)
~4.5 oz (generous ¾ c) sliced strawberries
Fresh whipped cream, for topping

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Add egg white, pinch salt and ¼ tsp lemon juice and zest (or ¼ tsp white vinegar) to bowl; beat to soft peaks. Add 2 Tbl+2 tsp sugar, then beat to stiff peaks (mixture will look glossy).

Add meringue to bottom and sides of each tartelette shell, place on baking sheet and bake 12 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

In small sauce pan or in small microwave safe bowl, add 2.5 oz berries and mash using a potato masher or fork til crushed and syrupy. Add 1-2 Tbl sugar and stir.

In a small prep bowl, add 1 ½ tsp cornstarch and 3 Tbl water, stir with fork to dissolve cornstarch. Microwave 2 minutes (or bring to boil over medium heat, simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat).

Stir in 5-10 drops red food coloring, if desired. Stir in sliced strawberries and a 1-2 tsp of the lemon juice and zest, to taste. Spoon strawberry mixture over meringue layer in each tartelette pan. Refrigerate til topping gels up, about 30-60 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


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