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.
- 1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all purpose flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) hulled and sliced strawberries Plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold heavy whipping cream
Strawberry Cream Filling
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
- Work in butter and egg yolk with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea size pieces are formed.
- Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.
- Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness
- Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans.*
- Dock the bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Purée strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to remove large seeds.
- In a medium saucepan, heat strawberry purée and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- 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.
- Pour gelatin mixture into warm strawberry purée mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
- Add extracts and beat until combined.
- Add strawberry purée mixture a little at time and whisk until well combined
- In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
- Spoon into cooled tart shells. Smooth tops with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours. Garnish with sliced, fresh strawberries.
*To find the tart pans I used, click here.