I made these last weekend, when we were invited over at the last minute to have dinner in our friends’ back yard. I wanted to make a pie, but there wasn’t time – and my crammed freezer had half a package of frozen tart shells left over from something or other that I kept having to move so I could close it, so I decided to solve two problems at once.
Most berries are sweetened and thickened with sugar and flour or cornstarch before being baked in a pie; in this case, the tart shells get a quick 10 or so minutes in the oven to get toasty while you simmer some berries on the stovetop with those same ingredients, reserving half the berries to stir in at the end so that they burst and pop and retain their juice. You then satisfyingly spoon the berry filling into the tart shells, and you’re done.
You could, I’m sure, spike the filling with lemon zest or spoon it over lemon curd, or top your filled tarts with a dollop of cream. But they were perfectly awesome straight up, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – so awesome in fact that I made another batch a couple days later, when my parents were stopping by for dinner. It’s the sort of dessert that demands – or rather politely asks, in a casual, summery sort of way – to be eaten outside.