I can’t get enough of desserts with fresh berries and citrus. I wanted to make something extra special for our Easter celebration, so I made two different tarts to complement one another, in one of my favorite fruit and berry combinations: key limes and raspberries.
The crust is an incredibly important part of the tart. I’m really excited to share my super easy and delicious shortbread tart crust recipe and how-to. I love this recipe so much, that the ratio of crust to curd/fruit filling is a lot higher for my tarts. It’s just what I prefer. This recipe is also perfect for making lemon bars. If you prefer less crust, I recommend you cut the shortbread tart crust recipe in half.
I’ve been loving fresh curd/fruit fillings in my desserts for spring. So far I’ve made lemon, orange, key lime and raspberry. If you’re a big fan of lemon, simply use my lemon curd/pie filling recipe from my lemon meringue pie post. The recipes will be exactly the same, except for omitting the citrus zest when using berries. Below I’ll demonstrate the raspberry curd/filling.
All right. Let’s make a tart! You will first need to prepare the crust.
Shortbread Tart Crust Recipe by Mili’s Sweets
Here’s what you’ll need:
18 tablespoons of butter (2 sticks, plus two tablespoon)
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Here’s what you’ll do:
Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer. Use the paddle attachment and mix on low until all ingredients have literally lifted from the bowl, forming the dough.
Before handling the dough, prepare the pan with a light amount of cooking spray and set aside a small amount of flour to powder your hands. (The spray is probably not necessary with a non-stick pan, but I tend to be overly careful use it anyway.)
I used a 7″ x 11″ rectangle tart pan. The dough will form a ball in your hands within seconds. Place your formed ball in the center of the pan and arrange it so that it completely covers the pan and goes up to the top of the sides. To have a beautiful finish, where the tart will have the ridges of the pan, use your hand and thumb to push the excess dough away from the top edge of the pan.
Next, use a fork to make an edging and a toothpick to poke holes at the bottom of the dough (so that when you bake it, it doesn’t misshape). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can have this prepared in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready, bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to completely cool before pouring in your fruit curd of choice.
Mili’s Sweets Raspberry Curd/Filling Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 cup of salted butter (two sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raspberry puree (blended fresh berries, with seeds strained/removed)
(For Key Lime Curd/Filling, use the zest of 6-8 key limes, along with substituting the puree with 1/3 cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice. Place the zest, after your butter has been creamed to the bottom of your standing mixer bowl. It will take about a dozen key limes, depending on their size.)
Here’s what you’ll do:
In a standing mixer, with a paddle attachment or scraping paddle attachment, on medium-speed, cream the softened butter until it completely covers the bottom of the mixing bowl. (If you are making the key-lime version, you’ll now mix in the zest.)
Add the sugar and salt. Mix until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until all are incorporated. Mix in the raspberry puree last.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan at medium heat. Use a whisk to constantly stir the ingredients. Use a timer to keep your time of 10 minutes. In 6-7 minutes, you’ll notice that it will start to bubble. It will also be turning a deeper pink color. At that point, lower the heat to medium-low and continue whisking. By the end of the 10 minutes your arm might be a little sore but it will be worth it. Once the 10 minutes are up, remove the pan from heat.
Pour the hot mixture directly into the cooled, prepared pie crust. Use an offset spatula to spread the filling evenly. I don’t like to use plastic wrap to cover tarts before I refrigerate, since it creates snags in the filling. Place the tart into the refrigerator as is, for at least 2 and a half hours, or until you are ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve and the tart has been removed from the pan and plated, decorate and garnish by placing fresh berries and slices of lime at the top of the tart. It would also be beautiful if the tart was completely covered with only slices of key lime or only fresh raspberries.
The end result is a vibrant, delicious and memorable dessert. I hope you’ll be able to make one of these tarts or any of the fresh curds this spring. If you do, and use my recipes, please let me know how it goes!