Tarts have always had a special place in my heart. I love how they look. I love their neat & sturdy portability. Filled with fresh cream and fruit, it can only make the perfect afternoon snack or dessert. My only problem: I hate lining tart shells. I used to actually enjoy the act of coaxing the chilled dough into its mold, but that part of me died long ago (probably after lining the million and first) and will take a miracle to ressurect. For those of you who still love lining tart shells, more power to you.
This macaron tartlet is my way of eschewing one of the few things in pastry I dread; and the task I actually feel guilty about delegating to cooks. The softer, chewier texture of a macaron base also makes, in my opinion, a better eating specimen; meaning there is no forcing your way through a solid sucree base. A macaron also requires less equipment; no more reaching for tart rings, no need for blind-baking weights, blah, blah, blah. Another advantage is that you can be in total control of the size and shape of the tart just by how it is piped: micro tarts, tarts for two, tarts for a bunch, square tarts, heart shaped tarts, even trapezoids. I suppose the only disadvantage I can see would be its shallow capacity for filling, so maybe a ganache tart would be better suited to the classic vessel.
I also love that I can color coordinate the shell to compliment the filling, not that one couldn't drop a few bits of dye into a batch of tart dough, but that's just weird! For those worried about a nut allergy, the almond flour can easily be substituted for another ingredient to make it nut-free, graham cracker crumbs is an example. With this summer berry version, a rose-scented pink macaron is indented to make room for a thin layer of strawberry ganache. Once set, an artful piping of barely sweetened vanilla cream cheese adds a little height and makes a sturdy bed for the fruit. And not a single ring mold in sight.