This is probably the first time in years that I have sat on a box of strawberries. Procrastination is a sin. I wonder why it was not part of the seven deadly sins. The idea was to make a strawberry tart with a cream cheese filling and photograph it for Valentine’s Day. It’s now five days I am planning but not getting on with the baking. It is an easy recipe. I have baked it a million times before. I guess I will blame this unwillingness to covid. The children are out to play on Central greens and today is Republic Day. I’ve decided to write a blog post instead. That way I will be forced to bake or there is a high chance that I’ll end up with yet another jar of the strawberry preserve.
No shortcrust pastry for this strawberry tart
I don’t have a food processor or a stand mixer. Therefore, I have to knead the dough by hand, which is fine as long as I don’t have to make a shortcrust. The entire process of breaking down the butter with the flour with your fingers and forming the crumb takes forever. However, I needn’t worry about that. This recipe doesn’t need a short-crust pastry. Instead, it is a simple rough dough with all-purpose flour, caster sugar, salt and melted butter. The butter binds the dough together and we don’t need egg too. You don’t even have to roll the dough. All you have to do is press the dough on the pie tin and spread it to the edges. And I promise, the crust when baked is divine. You have to bake the crust for about 25 to 30 minutes and let it cool down completely before filling it with cream cheese.
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Filling for the strawberry tart
For this tart, I have used cream cheese and whipping cream as a filling. Get the cream cheese at room temperature. Then whip it once and add castor sugar to it. Add some grated lemon rind and lemon juice and whisk to form a smooth cream. In another bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Then add the whipped cream to the cream cheese and fold in till you have everything well incorporated. I don’t use any strawberries in the filling since I top the entire tart with strawberry slices. So there is plenty of flavour.
Freezing and storing suggestions
You can freeze the dough before baking the tart crust. Put it in an airtight container and freeze it for up to a month. Thaw and bring to room temperature before baking. You can really freeze the whole tart. Cream cheese changes texture once frozen. However, once you have made the strawberry tart, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a week.
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The Easiest Strawberry Tart Recipe
For the crust
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup castor sugar
- 2 pinch salt
- 10 tbsp melted butter approx
For the filling
- 1 cup cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 no lemon zest and juice both
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
For the topping
- 400 gms fresh strawberries
- 2 tbsp strawberry jam
To make the crust
- Take all the dry ingredients for the crust in a mixing bowl. Melt butter and add tbsp by tbsp into the flour. First add 5 tbsp and then slowly add as required to bring the dough together.
- Take an 8 or 9-inch pie tin and place the dough in the centre. Then using your fingers, spread the dough till you have reached the edges and the sides of the pie tin.
- Take a fork and prick it in several places.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 175 degrees C for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust has browned (golden) and darker golden on the outside edges.
- Let the crust cool down completely. It takes a good 15 to 20 minutes till it hardens. And you need to handle it carefully. No need to release it from the pie tin.
To make the filling
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese. caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon rind.
- In another mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream till you have formed stiff peaks.
- Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese and fold everything together till they have both incorporated and formed a smooth filling.
Assembling the tart
- Fill the crust with the cream cheese whipped cream filling. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Slice strawberries and decorate the top. You have to start from the outside edge and then keep coming in with the strawberries.
- Take jam in a bowl and add a tbsp of hot water to make it a bit runny.
- Brush the tops of the strawberries with the jam.
- Keep it in the refrigerator to set. It takes about 4 hours to set well.