Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

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My in-laws recently returned from a sunny vacation in Florida and with them, they brought back some delicious strawberries. Fresh berries in Ohio grocery stores are usually pretty tart and tasteless this time of year, and the Florida produce is just another reason to love this buckeye state we call home.

I’ve made this dessert a few times before (this time for dinner at a friends’ house) and it now ranks up towards the top of Robert’s favorites. If you’re looking for a way to jazz it up even more, you can add a drizzle of  hot fudge sauce for all the chocolate lovers in your life; or you can make the tart into tartlettes for individual treats. Any way you decide, you can’t go wrong.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Printable version

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream

Topping

  • 16 ounce container of strawberries, sliced

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare the crust: Whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. Set aside. Place the flour, salt, and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter cubes and pulse until mixture is crumbly and the size of peas. With the food processor running, slowly add the liquid mixture to the butter/flour mix until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and mold into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

2. Place the dough in the tart pan:  Take the dough out of the refrigerator.  Unwrap and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 13-inch round.  Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch tart pan.  Press the dough to the sides of the tart pan, removing the excess off the top as needed.  Put the tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

3.  Bake the crust: While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled dough/pan from the freezer and mold tin foil into the shell and over the edge of the tart pan. Place pie weights on top of the foil (I used dry beans). Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Take out of the oven and gently remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Allow to cool on a baking rack.

4. Make the filling: Place the cream cheese into a bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until well-comibined. Add in the vanilla and cream and mix 30 seconds longer.

5. Assemble the tart: Spoon the cream cheese filling into the cooled tart shell. Spread out evenly. Place strawberries in a circular pattern and serve within 2 hours of preparing for best results.

Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

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I adore Valentine’s Day. The colors, the excessive hearts, the candy. It’s all glorious. But I don’t just view this as a holiday for couples, I see it as a day to celebrate all of the people you love in your life (I know, I know- it sounds sickeningly cloying, but it’s really how I feel). I decided to celebrate by baking these cookies while listening to my eclectic Pandora radio stations. It was a good Saturday, folks.

I first eyed this marbling method with royal icing last year, and I’ve been waiting to try it ever since. I’ve had some practice with decorating sugar cookies (with my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe), but I still have a lot to learn. What I have picked up so far is that it’s most important to plan ahead.  Most sugar cookie doughs require at least some chilling time and the royal icing is stable enough to be made a few days in advance. It’s also helpful to have all of the tools you need ready to go to make the process as efficient as possible.

Here’s what I like to use:

  • Disposable piping bags
  • Round piping tips
  • Good quality food coloring (I use Wilton or Americolor)
  • Plastic squeeze bottles (for flooding icing)
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic containers with lids (for icing storage)
  • Baking racks

And here is how I decorated the cookies:

1. Outline the cookies

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2. Thin the icing with water and flood

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3. Pipe dots

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4. Drag a toothpick through the dots

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5. Allow cookies to dry completely and enjoy 🙂

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Source: Decorating method vis Annie’s Eats