Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart














 I had signed up at work to bring in a dessert on Staff Day.  Most participants are keeping their dessert secret until Staff Day, but I think most participants are bringing in something chocolate-based.  I wanted to bring in something different in order for it to stand out.

It seems like every professional food blogger has made the strawberry tart recipe from the book Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons.  So I figure, if it's good enough for the experts, it must be SOME RECIPE!  Woo-hoo! Finally, I get to win a staff contest!  

Maybe ...

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart
Adapted from Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons
Makes one 9-inch tart


Crust:
40 honey graham crackers (about 10 sheets)
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbl.butter, melted
1 Tbl. water
Cooking spray

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1/2 of a large lemon)
2 Tbs. sour cream
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbl. Amaretto (optional)

Topping:
4 1/2 cups small fresh hulled strawberries, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbl. cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat bottom of tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray and set aside.

For crust:
Break up crackers in a food processor and process until crumbly. Add sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist.















Place crumbs in prepared tart pan, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan.














Make sure that the sides are on the thickish side so that it won't crumble when removed from pan later.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For filling:
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and extracts (and Amaretto, if desired) in a medium bowl, use a mixer to beat at medium speed until smooth.














Almost done.














See how smooth the mixture looks?  Almost like whipped cream.  Now spread this mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.













Refrigerate while preparing topping.

For topping:
Place 1 1/2 cups strawberries in food processor and process until pureed.














Pass puree through fine strainer, pressing with back of spoon to remove as much juice as possible; discard solids.














Awwww ..... a heart!  Anyway, whisk together strawberry juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until boiling. Reduce heat to low and cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat, stir in lemon juice, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.














When glaze is cool, spread 1/2 over tart filling, almost up to edge.














Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling.














Spoon  remaining glaze evenly over berries. Sprinkle nuts around edge of tart. Cover and chill a few hours before serving.  

Remove tart from pan before serving.

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