As each New Year arrives, we all make plans. Plans to lose weight, read more, smoke less, stop dating inappropriate people, etc. By April, those resolutions are abandoned and we’re left with a heavier, less literate, smokey existence that we end up sharing with the creepy guy next door who has “Word To Yo Mutha” tattooed on his forehead.
That’s why I say no to New Year’s resolutions. Because then there is no opportunity to break them. That might seem a bit dreary, but it’s actually a bit more optimistic than you might think. This is because I start my new year in April with the beginning of strawberry season.
By the time strawberries begin to ripen, all signs of winter have left and the world becomes green again. This is the true beginning of the growing season. First the strawberries, then the rhubarb, then apricots, tomatoes, peppers, peaches, watermelons, and on and on.
The first resolution I make every April is to find something new to do with strawberries. For those outside California, luscious sugary sweet strawberries only come around a couple months out of the year. And they must be taken advantage of. This year I made a Strawberry Shortcake Tart with Meyer Lemon Curd. Simple and sweet without the shame of a year-long commitment.
Meyer Lemon and Strawberry Shortcake Tart Recipe
Meyer Lemon Curd
1/2 c + 1/8 c (140g) Meyer lemon juice, about 3 1/2 lemons
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
6 yolks (110g)
3 whole eggs
3/4 c (175g) unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 c (160g) sugar
2 c (275g) all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
2 c (345g) heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Sugar, for sprinkling
1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
1 c (175g) heavy cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar
For the curd
Fill a pot with about 3″ of water and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the yolks, egg, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a glass or metal bowl. Add the butter. Place bowl on top of simmering water. (Placing a bowl over boiling water to cook something gently is called a bain marie, FYI.) Whisk gently until the butter has melted.
Switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring until the curd has thickened. Curd will coat the back of the spoon when ready. Immediately remove the bowl from atop the pan and pour curd through a sieve. This will remove any pieces of egg white and zest creating a smooth and dreamy curd. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the curd and let cool. Once cool, whisk the curd one last time to get out any lumps that popped up while cooling.
For the shortcake
Preheat oven to 425F (220F). Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening. Work your hands through the dough to incorporate butter and shortening until no large pieces are left and dough has texture of coarse meal. Add in 1 1/2 c of the cream and stir to combine. If there are still dry crumbs, add the remaining cream, 2 tbsp at a time, until dough is very soft but not sticky.
Line a 9″ spring form pan with parchment and grease the sides. Gently spread the dough into the pan in an even layer. Try not to press it down otherwise it will become too dense. Brush the top of the shortcake with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-25m until the cake is golden brown. Let cool.
For the assembly
Whip together the heavy cream and powdered sugar, by hand or with a mixer, until soft peaks form. Remove the shortcake from the pan. Spread curd on top of the cake in an even layer. You might have a few spoonfuls of curd leftover. Whole strawberries dipped in curd is a heavenly snack, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Anyways, arrange the strawberries on top of the curd. Place large dollops of the whipped cream all over the tart. Slice and serve.
Have trouble storing strawberries for longer than a day or two? Learn how to make strawberries more than a week by clicking here.