Friday, April 27, 2007

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

I purchased a flat of strawberries yesterday as my own plants do not begin bearing fruit until June and I could no longer bear the wait. As they were inexpensive, I bought a large flat and today I put every last berry to use. Between the strawberry/banana sorbet and the strawberry tart, I managed to use them all. I selected luckily, as there was not a single bad berry in the entire flat.

This is an elaborate tart to make and it took all day. Granted, with a two year old running about, I had a fair amount of interruption, but it was a time-consuming process. You could, if pressed for time, make a glaze from red currant jam and save yourself the hassle of mashing berries, extracting juice and cooking it to filling.

I realise it is sort of typical to adorn this tart with whipped cream piped out from a pastry tube. Personally, that just seems gauche to me. I have some double cream in the icebox that can be served alongside it, but really, I think the tart is rich enough as is (with the cream cheese base and all).

Now I need to get back to the grocer and buy another flat of berries for the freezer.

For The Sugar Crust Shell:
(Note-this is a very soft crust and while it can be done as a tart shell, I’m not brave enough to try it. Basically, it is a sugar cookie).

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients and cut in the butter and shortening until a fine meal is achieved. You will need to use your fingertips after the initial cutting in. Blend in egg and vanilla. Knead into a ball quickly. Work the dough in small pieced by smearing it with the heel of your hand to incorporate the butter throughout. Form into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate two hours until firm.

Roll out carefully, and place in pie plate (or if you’re daring a flan ring).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and grease a piece of foil. Fit it over the crust and weight it with a handful of dried beans. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Remove the foil and prick the inside of the crust with a fork numerous times. Return to oven and bake until it begins to pull away from the sides and turns golden. Cool completely before using.

For the Cream Cheese Base

8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
½ cup caster sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla

Combine and spread in the bottom of the tart.
Top with a layer of attractive strawberries.

For The Glaze:

1 qt (approximately) strawberries mashed and extracted of juice. You want a total of 1 ½ cups juice and you may need more or less berries to get there. If you come-up a bit short, top it off with water.
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Bring juice to boiling slowly and add the sugar and cornstarch. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it returns to a boil. Boil 1 minute (keep the mixture moving). Remove from heat and cool before using to glaze berries.


Quont said...

My goodness, that looks so delicious I could eat it right off the screen. Thank you for sharing these fabulous recipes!

Goody said...

Thank you. I'm not one for fiddling with and posing food for photos so it is always nice to hear it at least looks apetising.

Page D. said...

Wow! Just surfed it and wish I was your neighbor! There are so many great looking dishes, I will attempt some soon! Thanks!

Goody said...

Hey Page, I wish I HAD neighbours (still haven't adjusted to country living).

Let me know if you try any recipes and how they work for you.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Just skipping through the blogs and landed here. Oh, my goodness, the food looks incredible! I'm with Page D. I'd love to be your neighbor. I'd have a tea party and let you bring some of your treats!
Mind if I put your link on my page?

Goody said...

Thanks. I just had a look at your blog and would be honoured with a link-you're a great storyteller.

I wish I could make sense of the template to add links here, but early on I did something and now I seem to be unable to un-do it. One of these days I'm going to switch templates (and probably lose everything).