Strawberry Tarts

June 19, 2012

Cooking

Strawberry season is upon us.  Last year was a bit of a bust for strawberries around our house.  I was not feeling up to picking berries in the heat or canning them or much of anything else for that matter.  Consequently, I am more than pumped this year to make use of these luscious little red fruits.

There are a lot of strawberry pie recipes out there.  This is the one my family uses, re-made into a tart.

1 pie crust, baked and cooled OR approximately 30 baked tart shells

1 cup whipping cream

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp lemon rind

4 tsp lemon juice

6 cups strawberries

2 tsp corn starch

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup water

1 Tbsp icing sugar

Whip the whipping cream to the soft peak stage.  Keep in mind you are not looking for butter here or something that will hold up the Eiffel tower.

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In a separate bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese and the first 1/3 cup of white sugar (Hint: if you have neglected to soften regular cream cheese, you can use spreadable in it’s place).  Zest in the lemon rind and juice.  I use one lemon for this for easy measurement.  Gently fold in HALF of the whipped cream.

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If you are making this into a pie, spread the entire mixture into the bottom of the pie crust.  If you are making this into tarts, divide the mixture evenly between 30 shells.  I used 24 when I made it this time, and they turned out a little too full.

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Crush some strawberries to yield approximately one cup.

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Mix the corn starch and water together to avoid lumps in your final product.

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Cook the crushed berries, corn starch mixture, and 3/4 cup of white sugar until it is clear and thick.  If you want to get all fancy at this point, you can strain the mixture to bring out any berry lumps that are left.  We have several small people here at our house, so I skip this step.  If you are making this into a pie, gently stir in the remaining berries, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then pour the entire mixture onto the chilled based.  Keep the entire concoction refrigerated until served.

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To make this into tarts, place a single small berry or half of a larger berry, onto each tart.  This is also a great trick if you don’t have enough berries to make a full pie.

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Carefully pour the cooled glaze onto each tart.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Now, about the remaining whipping cream.  Carefully beat in the icing sugar and use it to decorate the top of the pie or tarts.  Or skip the step all together and start with just half a cup of whipping cream.

If you need to make these a couple of days ahead, you can, but no more than two really – they will start to go soggy.  To keep the tart shells from absorbing the liquid from the filling, you can brush the still hot shells with some egg white to form a barrier.

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