Mini Strawberry Tarts with Orange Crust

by Lori on September 7, 2011

Remember me?   I know, I know.  It’s been a while.  Too long actually.

And so much has changed during my 6 week hiatus.  In all honesty, it was more like 2 months if you count the weeks leading up to my site migration from Blogger over to WordPress.  I try to have a post or two waiting in the wings to handle the times when I’m excessively busy, but I needed to clear out my unpublished posts before the move.  I was worried my draft posts might become published in the transition, and that would have been like a dressing room door unexpectedly opening on me while attempting to try on a pair of skinny jeans.  You would have seen all of my imperfections before I was able to cover them up.  So I had nothing to carry me through the busy time.  And then summer vacations, activities and all-around fun stuff set in leaving very little quiet time for me to collect my thoughts long enough to write a sentence or two.  Essentially time got away from me, and any remaining free time I had was spent researching all of the things I wanted incorporated into my new site.

Speaking of which, what do you think about the new place?

I feel so fortunate to have been put in touch with Victor Thomas, a San Francisco-based web designer, who handled every single aspect of building this new home for Lemons and Lavender on WordPress.  I am a picky person especially when it comes to things that are important to me, and to complicate things, I am not the most computer savvy person around (which I am reminded of as I attempt to navigate this new platform).  Victor had his work cut out for himself.  I had multiple requests, revisions and questions, and he easily took care of them all.   On top of all that, he highly recommended the logo design services of  Courtney Campbell.  I immediately fell in love with the logo above when Courtney first presented it to me.  She tweaked it a bit and I couldn’t be happier with the result.  It was such a pleasure to work with Courtney; she made it all seem so easy.  She was on top of every detail, and every request I made was promptly handled as if I was her only client.  To say that Victor and Courtney took good care of me is an understatement.  I am so grateful to have had two wonderfully talented people create all of this for me.

One of my most favorite features is the recipe printing and shopping list feature you will find below.  I hope you find it useful.

I did a lot of cooking and baking over the past few months, and I’m anxious to get some of the posts up while summer fruits and vegetables are still available.  Perhaps my most favorite of all were these Mini Strawberry Tarts with Orange Crust, a recipe I found and adapted from the Junior League of Pasadena’s The California Heritage Cookbook.


As I have mentioned before, I am so lucky to have a nearly year-round strawberry supply from the farms near my house.  I’ve been grabbing a half-flat of strawberries every week since the season started.  My favorite are the Gaviota variety that I was buying from McGrath Family Farms, an organic, sustainable, family-owned farm that has been in operation for 5 generations and is currently under the  direction of Phil McGrath.  When I appeared in the farm store one day asking for the Gaviotas, one of the girls behind the counter called in Phil who promptly explained the season for the Gaviotas was just about done.  The plants were still producing strawberries but the size was too small to bring to market.  The smaller strawberries were exactly what I was after, and I explained to Phil that I had a food blog and needed a smaller berry for an upcoming dessert post.  With a quick phone call, Phil made arrangements for the remaining Gaviotas to be picked for me and I picked up the flat of tiny strawberries the next day.  I don’t know about you, but for me there is something enormously satisfying when you have the opportunity to interact with the farmers.  And knowing that something was picked especially for you is especially endearing.


So while there are still strawberries available (the smaller the better), please make these adorable little strawberry tarts whose crust, speckled with orange zest, gives you the most pleasant flavor surprise.  The orange crust is what really takes this from an ordinary fruit tart to an extraordinary one.  And it couldn’t be easier to work with especially when you don’t have to pat the dough into individual tart pans.  Instead, the dough is rolled out, cut into circles with a 3.5-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, draped over the “cups” on an inverted cupcake pan, and lightly pressed to fit.  I did have to monitor the tart shells during baking because my cupcake pan has a non-stick surface and the cups began to slide off toward the end of the baking process.   The filling is a standard pastry cream that would definitely benefit from a pass through a sieve before chilling.  I didn’t do this and met up with an occasional small lump or two – no big deal but I noticed it.  Because these strawberry tarts have a relatively short life, they are best eaten on the day they are made, which shouldn’t be a problem because they are so good.  Despite passing them around to my neighbors, I still had a few left over and refrigerated them until the next day.  The orange crust remained crisp and the glaze became unsightly, but they were still delicious.  Should you need to make these ahead of time, I would suggest preparing everything head and not assembling them until a few hours before serving.  The red currant jelly glaze should be the last thing you do before popping the completed strawberry tarts into the refrigerator to chill before serving.  And please don’t substitute anything else for the red currant jelly glaze; it is to fruit what salt is to meat in my opinion.



Mini Strawberry Tarts with Orange Crust

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 10 tarts

Serving Size: 1 tart

Mini Strawberry Tarts with Orange Crust

This can be made in stages and assembled shortly before you're ready to serve.


  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup shortening, chilled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup red currant jelly
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)


  1. To prepare the pastry, place flour into a large bowl, add chilled butter and shortening and cut in or rub between fingers until the consistency is that of corn meal.
  2. Add the salt and orange zest and mix well.
  3. Stir in the orange juice and mix until pastry holds together.
  4. Work the pastry into a smooth ball.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  6. Meanwhile, place the milk in a heavy medium-sized saucepan and bring almost to a boil (you will notice small bubbles appearing where the milk meets the side of the saucepan) over moderate heat. Turn off heat and set aside.
  7. To make the filling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, and the vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture makes ribbons, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  8. Beat the 1/4 cup flour into the mixture.
  9. Slowly add the milk, beating constantly.
  10. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and place it over moderate heat.
  11. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  12. Reduce the heat to low and continue to boil, still stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until the cream is very thick.
  13. Immediately remove from heat and pour mixture into a sieve set over a medium-sized bowl and use a rubber spatula to press the custard through to break up any lumps. Scrape the underside of the sieve with the rubber spatula.
  14. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure to press the plastic onto the surface of the warm custard to keep a skin from forming.
  15. Chill for 2 hours.
  16. After the pastry has chilled, remove the plastic wrap and place the pastry on a lightly floured board.
  17. Roll out pastry to 1/8-inch thick and cut it into 10 3.5-inch circles.
  18. Fit the pastry circles over the underside of a cupcake or muffin pan. (If using a non-stick cupcake or muffin pan, be aware that the shells will slide as baking progresses and you will have to right them.) Do not stretch the pastry.
  19. Prick the bottom of each tart shell twice with a fork.
  20. Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 10 minutes, just until browned.
  21. Cool the shells and then remove them from the cupcake or muffin pan.
  22. When ready to assemble the tarts, fill each tart with about 1 tablespoon of the custard filling making sure each tart is sufficiently filled.
  23. Place the strawberries on top of each filled tart, dividing evenly.
  24. Once all the shells are filled and topped, prepare the glaze by adding the red currant jelly and remaining sugar (4 tablespoons) to a small saucepan over moderately high heat.
  25. Heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon and the last drops are sticky as they fall from the spoon. Do not boil beyond this point.
  26. Pour the glaze over each tart while it is still warm. If it begins to tighten and thicken before all of the tarts are glazed, return saucepan to moderate heat just until it begins to loosen to pouring consistency.
  27. Chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving if desired. For best results prepare no more than 6-8 hours in advance and eat on the day assembled.


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy@acommunaltable September 8, 2011 at 1:07 am

Love the new site and that header is gorgeous!! The tarts aren’t bad either:-)!! Truth be told they are gorgeous as well and the crust sounds perfect!!
Great idea to drape the crust over the muffin tins – much less work than filling tart shells!!!


Lori September 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

Thank you Nancy! The orange crust is so delicious and easy to work with. So much to love about this recipe!


Kathy September 8, 2011 at 5:58 am

I love the layout of your blog ^^ I found your blog upon chance from Food Gawker so I can’t really give my opinion, but this one is super cute!!
The tarts look divine, by the way! Plus, it’s great that you can interact with farmers like that. My neighborhood is right across from a farm, but nobody ever approaches them…and frankly, I’m scared to. Oh…well maybe one day, right? 😀
Kathy recently posted..Granola & The First DayMy Profile


Lori @ Lemons and Lavender September 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thank you Kathy. I’m glad you clicked over and found me. Welcome.

If you’re not comfortable dealing with your local farmers, then you shouldn’t. I interact with a few farmers in my area via their publicly accessible farm stores and very rarely head out into the fields on my own.


Tres Delicious September 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Fabulous and so indulging! I wanna try it.


Lori @ Lemons and Lavender September 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thank you! I hope you give these little tarts a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.


kellypea @ sass & veracity September 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Glad to see you in the saddle again — especially with these darling (and I’m sure very tasty) tarts. If you think anything about these is unsightly, just you wait to see the strawberry tarts I have coming up in a post long delayed. Talk about rustic! Anyway, looking forward to see regular post from you soon. Hope your summer was excellent!
kellypea @ sass & veracity recently posted..Easy Breakfast Scramble RecipeMy Profile


Lori September 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Thank you Kelly! It feels good to be back into my groove again. I can’t wait to see your rustic strawberry tarts.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm

This sounds soooo good! And the pictures are glorious :)
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga recently posted..Meetup & SnacksMy Profile


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