There’s something about Spring, with all of its celebrations that pull friends and family together, beginning with Easter, then Mother’s Day, followed by graduations and wedding showers, that just seem to demand tiny sweet desserts. Desserts that can be picked up and popped into the mouth and disappear as fast as a bag of M&M’s.
Shortbread is one of my favorite spring desserts. So rich and buttery and short on sugar, the cookie-like sweet pairs well with berries and citrus curds. This spring, I’ve added coconut to my shortbread recipe. Pressed into mini-muffin cups, the dough bakes up nicely, turning a golden brown. I’ve discovered lovely mango curd (recipe is in my last post) is absolutely luscious as a filling for these bite-sized coconut shortbread cups.
One of the things I appreciate about shortbread, besides its versatility, is the fact the dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for a couple of days, or slipped into a freezer-strength zip-top bag and kept frozen for a few months. Mixing this shortbread takes no time at all in the food processor.
Once baked, the empty shortbread cups can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. So, for those special occasions when you are expecting many guests, you can make and bake shortbread cups at your leisure, stocking up for the big day.
I plan to have a small supply of baked Coconut Shortbread Tartlets in the freezer this spring. Once mango season has come to an end, the little cups will be ready to fill with lemon curd and berries or homemade ice cream with a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. Or chocolate mousse. Or, how about mini banana cream pies?
Coconut Shortbread Tartlets with Mango Curd Filling
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (2 1/4 sticks), chilled
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mango Curd
- Whipped cream, fresh mango bits and mint leaves, for garnish
Cut butter into small chunks. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour, powdered sugar and salt until well combined. Add coconut and pulse a few times. In a small bowl, whisk together yolks, ice water and vanilla until combined well. Add to flour mixture in food processor and pulse until incorporated.
Form dough into a ball. Divide into two equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap each disk of dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to a week.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Form one disk of dough into 36 equal -sized balls, keeping remaining disk of dough wrapped and chilled. Press dough balls into bottom and up sides of 36 ungreased mini-muffin cups (measuring about 1 3/4 inches across the top and about 1 inch deep). Prick bottom of shortbread shells with a wooden pick. Chill for 15 minutes, or until firm. Bake in middle of preheated 400-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool in cups on rack.
At this point, cooled shortbread cups can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for a month or two or they can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for a few days.
When ready to serve, fill each shortbread cup with Mango Curd. Garnish as desired and serve.
The full batch of dough will make 6 dozen shortbread tartlets. You will probably need a double batch of Mango Curd to fill all 6 dozen. One batch is plenty for 1 disk of dough, or 36 tartlets.
You’ll find more shortbread and citrus curd recipes on these older posts on my blog: