The first time I made this hibiscus strawberry curd tart, I took the last little tart over to our neighbors to thank them for the various eggs, butter, and cups of sugar they're constantly lending me. Ulterior motive: to resist eating two tarts in one day.
Only they didn't answer their door.
So I ate that "extra" tart as soon as I walked back in my house. I wasn't even hungry. I reasoned that I was saving it from an ant attack if I left it on their porch. I could have put it in the fridge and tried again later, but I just couldn't take it staring at me any longer. This tart has the sweetest puppy dog eyes you just can't turn down.
I served that first version of these tartlets when our friends came for dinner last weekend. As often happens in our house, they showed up while I was still taking pictures and I showed them this sugar shot above (channeling Alanna's captivating steam pictures). As soon as one of them asked what it was, the second instantly chimed in, "smoke, duh."
Only it's not. It's sugar! Fooled ya!
Same thing happened when I was 10 years old and the police questioned my friends and I for smoking candy cigarettes and drinking soda out of our dad's old beer bottles on the side of the road just down from our campsite. (This is totally normal, guys. <--- I have to say that too often...) For some reason I don't think the cops of today would have just tasted our "beer" and let us on carry on our shenanigans with a "Gotchya!"
Did you know that when you food process sugar, it puffs like a cloud of smoke? So realistic that you might think somehow a cup of sugar made your food processor overheat causing you to rip the cord from the wall likety-split. (Not that I would know...)
To taste test hibiscus's impact on this filling, I made the strawberry curd two ways - one with hibiscus and one without. The results were fascinating - hibiscus has flower power. Not only does it give the curd multiple flavor notes - sweet strawberry with a tart citrus hint on top - but it imparts a Barbie pink hue.
Without hibiscus, the strawberry curd tasted like, well, strawberries, but the egg yolks made it look like muted hummus. And nobody wants to eat a sweet hummus tart.
For Hibiscus Strawberry Curd Tart 2.0, I swapped out an overly tart hibiscus Chantilly cream for a light and airy toasted meringue. I left for a dinner party before I could take a tartlet to the neighbors, but texted Lucas, "Can you take the tart in the fridge next door?"
This way I wouldn't be the one to accidentally eat it if they didn't answer their door. Again.
(They answered...as if they were holding out for the final recipe.)
These dainty pink treats taste like a toasted lemon meringue tart with sweet strawberry notes. Swirled inside a crumbly gluten-free almond crust with a heavy dose of glossy meringue plopped on top and toasted, this hibiscus strawberry curd tart will steal your heart. And your willpower.
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Gluten-free Almond Crust
- ¾ cup (90g) almond flour/almond meal
- ½ cup (60g) gluten-free oat flour*
- 2 tablespoons (16g) sweet rice flour (different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- 2 tablespoons (16g) tapioca starch or tapioca flour
- ¼ cup (30g) powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
Hibiscus Strawberry Curd
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ tablespoons dried hibiscus
- ¾ cup strawberry purée, strained (from about ¾lb of strawberries)
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
- 2 teaspoons lime zest (from 1 lime)
- 2 teaspoons corn starch, sifted
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ cup caster sugar or powdered sugar
Gluten-free Almond Crust
- Place all flours, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add butter cubes and pulse until dough begins to clump together. (This might take a few minutes - it will appear dry at first, but it will eventually clump into a coarse meal).
- Divide dough between four tartlet pans with removable bottoms (or one large tart pan) and use your fingers to press dough evenly in bottom of pan and up sides.
- Freeze crust for 15 minutes while you prepare the hibiscus strawberry curd.
- Bake 350°F for 15-17 minutes, until it begins to turn golden brown. Use the back of a spoon to gently press crust down to make it flat it. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before removing them from the pans.
Hibiscus Strawberry Curd
- Pulse sugar and dried hibiscus in a food processor until hibiscus is finely ground.
- Prepare a double broiler, or fit a heat proof bowl over a large pot filled with an inch of simmering water.
- In the heat proof bowl, combine hibiscus sugar, strawberry purée, eggs, egg yolks, lime juice, lime zest, and corn starch. Whisk to combine.
- With stove on medium-high heat, cook, whisking continuously, until mixture thickens and reaches 170°F on thermometer, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove bowl from heat and strain curd through a fine metal strainer to remove any pieces of cooked egg or hibiscus.
- Add butter and whisk to melt and combine.
- Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you bake the crusts.
- When the crusts have cooled, divide the curd among the four prepared crusts, using a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day) before serving.
- Just before serving, prepare meringue (recipe below).
- Wipe the bowl of your stand mixer to make sure it is super clean.
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until it begins to foam and holds soft peaks.
- Add sugar, one spoonful at a time, and whisk on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form. Check to make sure the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a bit of meringue between your finger tips to make sure it's not gritty. If it is, keep whisking until sugar dissolves. The meringue is done when you hold a spoonful upside down and nothing drips.
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag with a wide round tip and pipe meringue on top of each curd-filled tartlet, or if you don't have a piping bag, spoon the meringue directly onto the tarts.
- Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the meringue. (If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can place the tarts under the broiler for 2- 4 minutes, watching carefully until just toasted).
*I grind my own oat flour by pulsing gluten-free oats in the blender or food processor until fine, then sifting out any large pieces.