I think this is actually only the second time I used strawberries in dessert. The only other strawberry thing on my blog is strawberry mint soup with cantaloupe sorbet. I serve plain strawberries as dessert often but somehow never really use them in desserts. For Food in Colours, hosted by Sunshinemum of Tongueticklers I needed something red to match this month’s colour. So strawberries were perfect.
I used a cream cheese crust for this tartlet. Needed to try out the recipe because it sounded so easy. And easy it was. The results were good but not that good that I will be replacing my favourite crust: Donna Hay’s sweet shortcrust pastry. In the Netherlands we’re not used to crusts without sugar for sweet things and I guess I’m more Dutch than I thought 😉 I’ve tried the crust with several fillings and every time I would think: it’s ok but it would have been better with Donna’s crust.
I haven’t tasted the complete tartlet by the way but did taste the combination of strawberry and filling which I thought was very good. Had a cheese cake kind of taste.
I gave the tartlet to a friend of mine whom I wanted to please because I needed a bit of his help while working on some Mesopotamian pottery sherds. He would have helped me anyway but a pretty tartlet always helps 😉 The feedback about the tartlet was that he liked it but it was a bit on the heavy side. Probably because he ate the whole thing by himself 😉 I also made him some tehina shortbread rounds but I will post about these in the future.
I used citric acid (lemon salt) dissolved in water instead of lemon juice because I didn’t want to water the cream cheese down too much and still have a tart filling. You could use lemon juice as well (I think about 2 ts) but maybe you have to add more icing sugar to make a firmer filling. The filling will be a little too much for 1 tartlet so expect to have about Â¼ left-over.
Strawberry and lemon cream cheese tartlet
Â¼ ts citric acid
1 ts water
200 g (7 oz) cream cheese
4 tbs icing sugar
Â½ lemon peel
about 5 medium strawberries, sliced
1 tbs red preserves (I used home-made redcurrant preserves)
about Â½ ts water
an 11 cm (4 Â½ in) pre-baked tart crust
Dissolve the citric acid in the teaspoon of water. Add one teaspoon of the mixture to the cream cheese. Add the icing sugar and lemon peel as well. Mix until combined and smooth.
Fill the tartlet with the cream cheese. Smooth the top with a wet spoon. Arrange the strawberries on top.
Mix the water with the preserves and heat until boiling. Brush the preserves on top of the strawberries.
Serve the same day.
Cream cheese crust (from Essentials of Baking by Williams-Sonoma)
makes four 11 cm (4 Â½ in) tartlets
125 g (4 oz / Â½ cup) butter, room temperature
90 g (3 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
155 (5 oz / 1 cup) flour, sifted
Mix the butter and cream cheese with hand mixer on low speed until smooth and combined. Add flour and mix until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough in four. Press the dough into the tartlet pans. Freeze the tartlets for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200Â°C (400Â°F).
Line the tartlets with aluminium foil. Fill with uncooked beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the aluminium foil can be removed without it sticking to the crust. Lower the temperature to 180Â°C (350Â°F) and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the crusts to a wire rack to cool completely.