Strawberries & Cream Tarts

Strawberries & Cream Tarts

May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.

I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.

Print Recipe
Strawberries & Cream Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea size pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans.*
  7. Dock the bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with six 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights.)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Filling
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to remove large seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat strawberry purée and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the top of water. Let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour gelatin mixture into warm strawberry purée mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Add extracts and beat until combined.
  7. Add strawberry purée mixture a little at time and whisk until well combined
  8. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
  10. Spoon into cooled tart shells. Smooth tops with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours. Garnish with sliced, fresh strawberries.
Recipe Notes

*To find the tart pans I used, click here.

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

These Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts have three individual components, which, when combined together, are absolutely delicious. I experimented with each separate component of this recipe until I perfected them individually. The tart crust is flaky and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling. The filling is just sweet enough for my sweet tooth and the whipped cream has just enough Earl Grey flavor.

This recipe makes enough whipped cream to cover the entire tops of the tarts or you can be like me and try to be artistic and avant-garde with your whipped cream. To make the Earl Grey infused whipped cream, use your favorite Earl Grey tea, whether it’s loose leaf tea or a teabag. We don’t discriminate here. All forms of tea are welcome! I do have a favorite Earl Grey tea. If you want to check it out, click here. The tea will make your whipped cream a dull pale yellow. This issue is purely aesthetic. I added a tiny bit of violet gel food color which brightens the whipped cream. You can add more if you want a lavender shade.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk, with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea sized pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans
  7. Dock the bottoms of tart crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
Blueberry Filling
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup blueberries. Combine the remaining 3 cups blueberries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer over low heat until blueberries are softened and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of blueberries during the last minute of cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
  1. Combine heavy cream and tea in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat just until bubbles form around the edges.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
  4. Pass through a sieve to strain out tea leaves or remove tea bag if using.
  5. Cover surface with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.
  6. Transfer chilled cream to a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until thickened.
  7. Add powdered sugar and food color in separate additions and continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.

Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate it. Most cookbook recipes were either too dry, too dense or too spongey. Some books have some velvety, butter based recipes that use the reverse creaming method, but they don’t have the moist, nostalgic texture I was looking for. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.

The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark or black cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake. The chocolate frosting recipe is one I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.

I think this frosting recipe is the one! it has the best of both worlds and is perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine.

Print Recipe
Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Instructions
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Combine egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed with a handheld electric mixer, until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add hot coffee and stir to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together maple syrup, water, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth with an electric mixer
  3. Gradually add cooled maple syrup mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined.
Recipe Notes

*For smoothest results, use chopped bar chocolate and make sure chocolate is completely melted.  Do not use chocolate chips

 

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

These Apple Spice Cookies were one of my most popular cookies last fall so I decided to bring them back a little early this year. I’m definitely not the type of person to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes in 90º weather in the middle of August, but these are my favorite fall cookies ever so I wanted to give them a proper head start. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie and help you look forward to fall.

The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!

These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.

Print Recipe
Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Instructions
Cooked Apples
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to skillet.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain any excess liquid from cooled apples.
Apple Spice Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, one at a time, until well combined
  5. Stir in flour mixture, just until combined.
  6. Fold cooled apples into cookie dough.
  7. Divide dough into 12 equal golf ball size portions and place three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Icing
  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your cookies spread too much when baking, refrigerate dough for 20 minutes, then bake as directed.