Strawberry Lemon Tarts

these make me forget the crappy weather. one day, summer will be here.

Strawberries and lemons.

They’re so pretty.  And especially together.  Tart and sweet.   So different but so committed to making their relationship work out.

I love strawberry lemon tarts because they have so many layers of flavours.  You might not think so.. you might think they only have two: strawberries and lemons.  But you would be wrong.  It starts with tart lemon curd, then the slightly sweeter raw strawberries,  the sticky sweetness of the jam and finally, just a touch of pure sweetness with the confectioner’s sugar.

Ok, I totally made this recipe up.  And I used store bought tart shells.  So sue me now.  I hate making pastry.  And y’all come here for the photos anyway and trust me… tart shells I make will not be photogenic.  At all.

They’ll look more like Play-Doh ashtrays.

This came out of a big batch of lemon curd that I made, which, unfortunately, was rather runny but spot on perfect taste wise.  It was my first time making lemon curd and my Aunty Ann in England has the lock on the Best. Lemon. Curd. Ever. and I can honestly say my flavour was pretty close to hers.  So I’m not sure why it was too runny.  Still worked great on toast though!

And the strawberry jam was homemade from last years fresh, u-pick Fraser Valley Strawberries.  1000x better than California strawberries that are available this time of year (hint.. they’re red, the whole way through the berry… not just on the outside!!).  I really do believe the difference in taste with homemade jam and homemade lemon curd takes these tarts to a whole other level.

summer please come. please?

Strawberry Lemon Tarts

You can make as many or as few of these as you want.  Just as long as you have enough to fill them.  I made four.  Because nobody in this house needs to be eating a lot of them!

You will need:

Prebaked tarts shells
Strawberry Jam (I highly recommend homemade if you have it)
Lemon Curd (again, homemade is best! but make sure it’s not too runny)
Strawberries, sliced in half
Confectioner’s sugar

Spread a layer of strawberry jam in the bottom of each tart shell.

Place one strawberry half in each tart shell so that its tip rests in the jam, and its top leans against the top of the tart shell.

Fill the shells up with lemon curd till nearly full

With a teaspoon, gently dot strawberry jam along the opposite rim of the shell from the strawberry so it rests on top of the lemon curd but also starts to mix in with it.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and garnish with more strawberries.

Et voila!!!  Enjoy with gusto!

Terrible photo but I caught the jam droplet just as it fell.

Photography

Image 1: 50mm, f3.5, 1/50th, ISO 400, +2/3 exposure compensation.  Backlit from the window right behind the shot.

Post Processing: I did some split toning to this one by bumping up the yellow in the highlights and the blue in the shadows, giving it a bit of a retro feel that I was going for.  Other than that, straight out of the camera with regular sharpening.

Image 2: 50mm, f3.5, 1/50th, ISO 400, +2/3 exposure compensation.  Light is from my big window to the left.  No reflector was used (note the shadows on the right)

Post processing: Small crop to tighten the focus on the plate.  I was unhappy with the light so I did do some fancy post processing with smart object layers in Camera Raw and Photoshop (Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3- excellent book!) that let you avoid dodging and burning and compromising pixel quality.  Plus, it’s pretty fast!

Image 3: 50mm, f3.5, 1/20th, ISO400, -2/3 exposure compensation.  Shot this on my stove, hand held at eye level with stark light coming in from my small kitchen sink window to the left (hence the underexposure).

Post Processing: I upped the contrast a little bit on this one and sharpened it but the real alteration to this photos was a crop.  It was originally an ok photo with a portrait orientation.  I cropped it down to a landscape oriented shot and it was a significant improvement.  It’s still not a great photo, but I liked that I caught the jam droplet falling.

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses to Strawberry Lemon Tarts

  1. Silvia March 12, 2011 at 3:02 AM #

    This looks so elegant, and is so fast made!
    (And I never had lemon curd)

    • Melissa March 12, 2011 at 8:10 AM #

      really? i’m surprised. I’d never had it till I was in Europe years ago. it was so popular there. it’s been hard to find here until recently. homemade is still better – I will post mine later this week.

      • Silvia March 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM #

        I think it’s an English thing…

  2. Priyanka March 12, 2011 at 4:59 AM #

    I love it………..m totally drooling over it :)

    • Melissa March 12, 2011 at 8:11 AM #

      thanks :)

  3. bellini March 12, 2011 at 7:09 AM #

    Lemon curd seems to be a favourite on blogs right now. I love it with sun-ripened strawberries…just a dream at the moment.

    • Melissa March 12, 2011 at 8:12 AM #

      I’d noticed that to – I think because lemons are in season – especially Meyer Lemons in the US (can’t find them here) which are supposed to be wonderful for Lemon Curd. I just made it because it’s a childhood favourite and I had a whole bunch of leftover egg yolks I need to use up!

  4. Ethan March 12, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

    Ok, let’s be honest, even if your shells came out looking like ashtrays, you’d make them look incredible with your photog skills. I on the other hand would make them look like dirty, used ashtrays.
    The tarts look great and your pictures are incredible!

    • Melissa March 12, 2011 at 5:50 PM #

      Thanks Ethan :)
      I thought yours were showing a lot of improvement! Give me shout if you want some tips.

  5. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 14, 2011 at 9:35 PM #

    Ohhhh – I can’t handle it! These are so great for spring!!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  6. Emily January 25, 2012 at 9:49 PM #

    So I was wondering if since your first batch of Lemon Curd turned out runny (because of too much lemon juice that you figured out later), while making this particular recipe, should you maybe make a “runnier” Lemon Curd? Or does it set better being a bit thicker?? Right now Meyer Lemons are apparently in season here (or at least they are very popular in the stores) and I have been seeing so many recipes that call for them specifically. I want to try this one (ESPECIALLY if i get to make the Lemon Curd!!)

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