I really love spring. A fresh start in so many ways! One of my favorite spring activities is going to the strawberry patch and picking big, juicy fruit right off the bush. Most of the strawberries make it into our basket, but I will admit that a fair share go from vine to mouth in one swift motion.
Once we get the berries home, it's a race to see how may ways we can use them before they spoil. Among many of the strawberry dishes we have had over the past week were these little babies:
I bet you are glad you stopped by, because I am going to tell you how to make them!!! And once you do, share them at your spring brunch, or take some to a neighbor!
You will need some sort of tart pan, which looks a lot like a regular sized muffin tin, but with shallower pockets.
You could attempt to make the tart shells in a muffin tin, but I am not taking responsibility for stuck and broken shells. Just be sure to grease and flour the pan before you place your pastry in the cups.
6 T. sugar
2/3 cup margarine
1 1/2 T. cream
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 1/4 C. cake flour, plus extra if your dough seems too sticky
1. Cream sugar and margarine together in a medium bowl. Add cream, egg yolk, and vanilla/almond extract and mix until well blended. Add the 1 1/4 cups of cake flour. If the dough is really sticky, and doesn't come together or leave the sides of the bowl, add more flour in small increments until it does.
2. Remove dough from bowl and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 min. to 1 hour.
3. Roll chilled dough out on a floured surface and use a cookie cutter or glass to cut circles about an inch larger than the tart pan cups. Transfer circles of dough to each cup, easing them into the bottom and up the sides. Press gently around the sides and cut away the excess dough on top. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more or until golden brown (watch them carefully for the color you want, they can over-brown quickly). You want the shells to be crunchy though, not soft.
Allow to cool before filling.
Makes 24 mini tart shells or one 9-inch tart shell*
* If you would like to make one large tart shell, roll out dough to 1 inch larger than the pan and gently lay the dough into the bottom and up the sides. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to seal the edges and cut away excess. Lay foil over the dough, gently pressing it against the bottom and sides. Pour 1 1/2 cups baking beads, dry beans, or rice on top of the foil (this is to prevent the dough from rising during baking) Bake this way at 350 degrees F. for 15 min. Remove foil and return the crust to the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.
1 C. strawberries
1 C. blueberries (*if you are making a 9-inch tart add another cup of berries)
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 T. sugar, divided
4 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed in the refrigerator (that's 1/2 of an 8 oz. container)
1. Rinse the berries and dry on paper towels. Cut the strawberries into quarters.
2. Beat cream cheese and 1 T. sugar until smooth. Add whipped topping and mix until well blended.
3. Spread filling into tart shells, and arrange berries on top of filling.
4. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 T. of sugar.
Source: adapted from a Lion House Pies recipe.