Finally, it is feeling like summer here. We have actually had a week in the 70’s with some sun here in the Northeast. Some times I think I’m crazy for enduring this crazy weather. I went to a Red Sox game two weeks ago wearing a winter coat and hat. And I was still cold. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the sun is warming up these cold New England bones.
To celebrate the warmth, I’ve been buying strawberries and blackberries even though they have to get shipped here from hundreds of miles away. I had some in my fridge and I really wanted to make a tart or cobbler. The berries looked too beautiful to not put them on display, so I decided to throw a few ingredients together for a tart. I made a press-in-the-pan shortbread crust, which was super simple and came together quickly in the food processor. Then I made a sweet cream-cheese filling, spread it on the baked crust, and decorated it with some berries. I can imagine most summer fruits looking beautiful and on display with this tart. Use whatever is fresh and available in your area and get as creative as you’d like with cutting and placing the fruit on the tart. In order to get a nice shimmer and some added flavor, I brushed warm apricot jam all over the fruit.
Pat-in-the-Pan Shortbread Crust
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 stick of butter
- optional: egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Using your hands, a food processor, a pastry cutter, or two knives, work/cut the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should look like cornmeal with a few larger lumps of butter.
- If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, you can add an egg yolk to bring it together.
- Pat the crust into a 9″ or 10″ pie or tart plate. Prick all over with a fork and chill for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
- Bake the crust for 15 – 18 minutes, or until it starts to become golden brown.
- 1 package of cream cheese (use full fat or 1/3 fat), softened
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- optional: lemon zest or vanilla extract
- Beat cream cheese and sugar together in mixer or food processor. Once it is creamy and the sugar is fully incorporated, then refrigerate until the crust has fully cooled.
- Once the crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust and then decorate with fruit.
- Whatever combination of berries you wish – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.
- Apricot jam
- Use enough fruit to cover the tart. In the summer, berries are the best and easiest to work with – blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. Use whatever combination works best for you. Decorate and arrange however you wish.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of apricot jam in the microwave. Brush jam on the berries and the edges of the tart crust.
- Keep tart in refrigerator until ready to serve.