Mini Shortbread Flag Tarts for 4th July |
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Mini Shortbread Flag Tarts for 4th July

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Mini Shortbread Flag Tarts for 4th July

These are based on my English Viennese Fancies shortbread recipe - a piped shortbread easily made at home. I make tiny ones similar to the size of a Hershey Kiss for client parties, and drizzle them with melted chocolate and chopped, toasted almonds once they're cooked. In England, it is also sold in bakeries with raspberry jam and buttercream (frosting), sandwiched between two cookies. They remind me a bit of the American spritz cookie or melting moments. I have only made them with butter, but Earth Balance should work as a substitute.

Pre-gluten-free diet, I used to buy Athens mini filo tart shells. In all my cooking class dinner parties I would make a different appetizer using these shells. A recent e-mail from Athens Foods showed the mini filo tarts filled and arranged as a Stars and Stripes Flag. An individually portioned dessert is so easy for parties; you only bring out so many at a time, and doesn't look “attacked” like a cake or cheesecake once cut.

Fill them with Greek Yogurt, sweetened cream cheese, my real cream “cool whip” dirt pie mix, and vanilla pudding. My dirt pie recipe is an easier option to be made into a flag with fruit in a 9” x 13” pan. Regular whipped cream should only be used just before serving because it melts the quickest in heat. These are also great for children’s parties. If you have a mini muffin pan that is no longer non-stick, line the pan with red, white and blue cupcake liners. I thought it was a cute idea to continue the red, white and blue theme, plus the liners make the shortbread more finger portable.

You need to make three or four times the shortbread recipe (42 or 56 tarts) to have enough for the flag.

2 x 24 hole mini muffin pan, plus leftover dough plopped on cookie sheet.

Makes about 14 minis


  • 1 stick of butter (4 oz., 115 g) softened at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (25 g, 1 oz.) powdered (icing/confectioners) sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. (8 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract/essence (I tested this with Costco’s labeled gluten-free)
  • ¾ cup less 1 Tbsp.  (2 ½ oz., 75 g) Oonagh’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) gluten-free cornstarch (corn flour in UK) (I tested this with Argo’s labeled gluten-free.) Put the cornstarch in the ¾ cup measure and then add gluten-free mix to ¾ cup level. Put 15 ml cornstarch in bowl then add 2 ½ oz. (75 g) gluten-free mix to bowl)
  • ¼ cup (3/4 oz., 25 g) almond meal/almond flour/ground almonds
  • 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum
  • Salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 x 8 oz. (2 x 250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature (lite or Neufchatel is fine, store brand is fine)
  • Either 2/3 cup powdered sugar plus ¼ cup honey for flavor, or 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pint, 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • Container of blueberries, washed and dried
  • More strawberries than you thought you would need. Leftover filling can have any liqueur you like added and served as a dip for leftover strawberries. Plus, you need to choose small strawberries to halve and then slice to fit in tarts.

Tart Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy, stir in vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add flours, xanthan gum, and salt and mix until a soft dough is formed. Bake as directed. They are still soft when baked and firm up when cool. They are very melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly, same as a good shortbread. Don’t add more xanthan gum. Think about different flavored extracts in dough.
  3. No need to refrigerate the dough. These are a very tender shortbread, so it might be easier to line the mini muffin pan with paper cases for easy removal and so they don't disintegrate. Using a number 60, 1+1/4 inch, 3.2 cm across scoop or a 1 Tbsp. metal scoop, scoop the dough into mini muffin pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until nicely light golden brown. Don’t cook until dark brown or else they don’t taste very good at all. Remove from oven and leave to cool before removing from pan. You could also make these in regular muffin cup cases in a large muffin pan, pressing dough down to make larger shortbread cases to fill with even more fruit and cream. Adjust cooking time. Tarts still dome in the middle.

Filling Directions:

  1. Combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and honey in a 6-8 cup bowl. Beat until smooth.
  2. Whip the 2 cups of cream until stiff in a separate bowl and gently whisk into cream cheese mix. I find if you let the electric hand mixer gently mix cream in, you don’t need to gently fold the cream in by hand. Taste and see if it is sweet enough for you. If not, add some powdered sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time and gently beat in. Put filling in large sandwich bag, cut off corner and pipe filling into cooled tarts. Since these shortbreads don't make a 'big hole' for the filling, you need a stiffer filling that can be mounded above shortbread, won't run over sides and can carry weight of fruit. Plus, you want more filling to taste anyway.
  3. Arrange 48 tarts, 6×8, on a platter. Cut the tip off of the bag, and fill each tart with the filling. Place 3 blueberries on each of the upper left corner 9 shells, a 3×3 square. To make the stripes: for each row of shells, alternate placing strawberry semi-circles at the top and bottom of the shells. Repeat this process with the strawberries until you have completed the red and white stripes of the flag.

Oonagh’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • 1 x 14 oz. bag potato starch (3 ½ cups)
  • 1 ¾ cup of tapioca starch (7 oz.)
  • Just under 1 cup of amaranth or millet (actually ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. or 4 oz.)
  • Just under 1 cup of sorghum (actually ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. or 4 oz.)

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