When I was a little girl I was fascinated by miniatures. One of the best days of my childhood included a visit to the Carole and Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures in downtown Los Angeles. The museum housed the Kayes’ privately commissioned, $25 million collection. Tiny elegant English homes. A reconstructed Palace of Versailles. The Titanic. The Hollywood Bowl. The stuff that kids with overactive imaginations and a flair for the dramatic live for.
Sadly, the museum did not survive into the 21st century. My appreciation for miniatures, however, remains. While not as fierce as when I spent hours with my nose glued to display cases admiring immaculately painted minuscule teacups, I do still love a good tiny thing.
I didn’t intend for these mini pies to turn out quite as small as they did. The dough slid down the sides of the muffin tin as I pre-baked the crust. The good thing about pie, as I have learned over and over and again, is that it is very difficult to truly f*** up. Case in point, these pie-lettes are as delicious as they are cute.
Best served on tiny plates, with a tiny dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Mini Strawberry Thyme Tarts
Recipe from Beekman 1802
Crust for 6-7 mini tarts:
First, make and prebake your favorite pie dough (here’s mine–you’ll only need half the recipe) in a muffin tin (or in individual tart dishes if you are fancy like they are over at Beekman). I recommend lining the individual pie-lettes with foil and baking weights (or uncooked beans or rice) while baking to keep the crust from sliding down).
4 cups whole, washed, hulled, super-ripe strawberries (A little less than 2 pints.)
12 springs fresh thyme
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Limoncello or Grand Marnier
¾ cup apricot or apple jam
Heat 1 cup of the strawberries, 6 sprigs of thyme, and sugar in a small sauce pan, over medium heat. Lightly smash berries to produce a little juice. Let simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often, not allowing to burn. Strawberries should be completely softened if not dissolved. Remove thyme springs and puree mixture with immersion blender (or a fork.)
Once mixture has cooled add 3 tablespoons in the bottom of each baked pastry shell.
Arrange remaining strawberries in pyramid on top of pureed mixture.
In small saucepan, heat Limoncello, jam, and remaining thyme sprigs until dissolved. Allow to simmer for five minutes, adding water or more liqueur if necessary to keep from scorching. Remove thyme springs.
While melted jelly mixture is still hot, lightly brush over piled strawberries, coating completely. Allow 30 minutes to cool and set.
Serve at room temperature with creme fraiche, or a mixture of ½ whipped cream and ½ sour cream.