strawberries & glaze :
- wash & remove hulls from the strawberries, toss with the lemon/lime juice, zest and sugar (you can add lemon/lime slices too) and let sit for 60-90 minutes until slightly softer and they release part of their juices
- drain the sticky juice from the strawberries (about 120 ml or ½ cup), place the strawberries on a rack, heat the juice in a small casserole at medium-high heat for 10 minutes until thicker and reduced to two-thirds of the initial volume (approximately 80 ml or 1/3 cup) and let cool to room temperature
- pour the syrup glaze on top of each strawberry several times until glossy and well-coated and let the excess syrup drip off (save the syrup for later) and let the strawberries dry at room temperature for 30 minutes or 1 hour
cookie tartlet shells :
- preheat oven to 190°C
- mix together the crushed cookies, flour, almond powder, sugar and salt and combine with the melted butter until sandy
- brush the cupcakes mold with melted butter (if not using silicone), add about 3 tbsp of the mix in each cavity, press down gently and then form a deep round indent in the middle to create a cup shape (use anything that is appropriately-sized such as the base of a shot glass, espresso coffee press tool, large cork, etc)
note : my silicone baking mold had 8 straight-sided cylinder-shaped cavities and each measured 6 cm in diameter and 4 cm high …
- bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden, press down the centers if too puffed up and let cool completely
- when cooled, remove the individual tart shells from the baking mold and brush the inside with the remaining thickened strawberry syrup to seal the insides (before adding the vanilla cream)
vanilla cream filling :
- heat up the unsweetened condensed milk with the scraped vanilla pod or extract and rose water and salt (I add 1 bay leaf too) until slightly simmering
- whisk together the egg yolks, icing sugar and cornstarch until very smooth
- remove the vanilla pod and:or bay leaf, slowly add the very warm simmered condensed milk to the egg yolk mixture and continue whisking until thickened, then return the mixture to the casserole and keep whisking continuously at medium heat for 2-2 ½ minutes until thickened
- remove from the heat, add the cubed butter and whisk until well incorporated and glossy (add the soaked gelatin sheets or gelatin powder now if you are in a rush and need to assemble the tarts immediately) and whisk until very smooth
note : if you’re not in a rush , you can refrigerate the vanilla cream filling and use a pastry bag to fill the tart shells later on or the next day …
- fill each tart shells with the still warm vanilla cream filling (if the cream has firmed up quickly, then use a pastry bag), place a large strawberry on each and slightly push down, sprinkle with some lemon and lime zest and refrigerate/chill before serving.
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