Plum & elderberry curd tartlets: these little cuties are tangy, rich, and creamy plum & elderberry curd in a shortcrust pastry, topped with vanilla whipped cream and edible flowers
It’s always good to have some quick desserts up your sleeve. I try to keep a few little things on hand for the times when I’ve got a sweet tooth but don’t feel like making anything, or the times when I’m invited to a barbecue and want to bring a special treat that doesn’t take hours to create.
This dessert is one of those. Everything can be made ahead of time, in tiny steps. But even if you make it all in one day, it won’t take you too long. I made this curd back in the Fall, when elderberries and plums were both at the peak of their season. I had a feeling that it might turn out delicious, so I made a big batch, used half for an elderberry cake, and froze the other half. Curd freezes surprisingly well, so it’s always worth making some extra. Then you can simply defrost it and use it to fill a cake, make a sauce, or base an entire dessert around it. Something like these little curd tartlets.
When I decided last-minute that I was going to attend a dinner party, all I had to do was throw together a shortcrust pastry and bake it into small rounds in a mini muffin tin. (Sometimes, I even have pie dough stored away in my freezer for these events). Once cooled, I piped my curd into the small cups and made the littlest batch of whipped cream by simply shaking it in a mason jar. And voila, the perfect party dessert.
I’ve spent the last few years studying party foods. There is a simple science to what works and what doesn’t. People like things that they can easily grab and dig into. If you bring a cake, you better slice it if you want to come home with an empty plate. That’s why these little curd tartlets are perfect for a crowd. It’s a ready-to-go dessert that you can pop right in your pie hole (pun intended).
Now, while I used a a pretty uncommon flavoring for my filling here, you could simply use any curd of your choosing. However, I do suggest you try this curd sometime when you’re able to get your hands on elderberries and plums. I’ve never seen such a gorgeous colored curd before. And the flavor is incredible – you get sweet, tangy, and rich all in one bite. The shortcrust is the perfect thing to vary the texture so that you get creamy and crunchy at the same time. Of course, none of it would be complete without a little cream on top. And some edible flowers. Definitely edible flowers.
Plum & Elderberry Curd Tartlets
Tart, rich, sweet, and creamy plum & elderberry curd in a shortcrust pastry, topped with vanilla whipped cream
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 5 ounces unsalted butter diced & chilled
- 4-6 tbsp ice water
plum & elderberry curd
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup damson plums
- 3 tbsp elderberry juice (see below)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce cold butter diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
for the shortcrust:
Combine flours, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter, using your hands or two knives, until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix gently just until mixture starts to come together and form a shaggy mass. Knead lightly into a ball, flattening slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until fairly thin, about 1/8" thick. Cut rounds using a jar or biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than your muffin molds. I used a large 2 3/4" biscuit cutter for my mini muffin tin. Press dough rounds into tin. Line each with parchment paper or mini muffin liners and fill with pie weights or beans. Chill 15 minutes in fridge. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden around edges; remove parchment and weights and bake until fully cooked, about another 4-5 minutes. Cool completely.
for the curd:
First make the plum puree and elderberry juice. Place plums in a stainless steel pot with a little bit of water to prevent scorching. Cook until the fruit breaks down, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan, puree in a food processor, and strain through a sieve to remove skins. You need 1 cup of puree for this recipe. For the berries, put about one pound (3 hefty cups) into a pot with a little water and cook until broken down, about 10 minutes. Pour berries into a jelly bag and allow to sit for an hour or so, until all juice has been removed. You need 1/4 cup of juice for this recipe.
In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks, plum puree, elder juice, sugar, and lemon juice. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and bring it to simmering. Place bowl of curd mix on top. Cook, whisking frequently, until the curd thickens, about 20 minutes. It should hold its shape on a spoon. Remove from stove, whisk in butter, and then strain. Chill immediately and allow to completely cool.
for the whip:
Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in a pint jar. Screw on lid and shake until very soft peaks form. Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.
Remove crusts from muffin tin. Pipe or spoon curd into cooled shortcrust cups. Dollop with whipped cream. Decorate with edible flowers if desired and serve immediately.
Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.