Peppered Strawberry Tartlets
1 lb. sliced strawberries
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
½ tsp. The Spice Hunter Coarse Black Pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup whipping cream
½ tsp. The Spice Hunter Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract
Combine strawberries, ½ cup sugar and black pepper in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. While chilling berries, make pie dough; cut shortening into flour mixed with salt until the shortening is pea sized, then add ice water, one tablespoon at a time to the flour, mixing with a fork just until moistened (about 6 to 8 tablespoons water total). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until berries are done chilling.
Next divide dough into 24 equal pieces, roll each piece into a 2-3 inch circle and gently press into a mini-muffin pan. Prick bottom of dough with a fork. Once all the dough is formed, cook in a 375°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Crusts may shrink and/or puff up some during cooking. Remove from oven and cool.
While crusts are cooking, drain liquid from berries into a small saucepan. Place berries back in refrigerator. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently until it has become thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then mix back into berries.
When almost ready to serve, combine the whipping cream, vanilla extract and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Assemble tartlets by placing a spoonful of berries into each crust and topping with whipped cream.