Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

I immediately flagged this recipe when I saw it in Cooking Light last month, knowing that I'd be able to get fresh strawberries soon. After picking up a bunch at our farmer's market, I decided to whip this up since we had the rest of the ingredients at home. The end result was a light, delicious dessert with all of the flavors of a strawberry cheesecake (just with more strawberry and less cheesecake).

I made a few changes: I used a mix of regular and cinnamon graham crackers for the crust, and added a splash of Amaretto instead of the almond extract. I also used more strawberry glaze than I was supposed to (a tasty mistake, mind you). For some reason the original recipe instructs you to make the glaze, and then tells you to use half of it on your tart and save the rest for another use. Since I can't read, I just dumped most of the glaze on the tart before I realized I wasn't supposed to. No one complained. So, use as much as you like. If you have any leftover, try it on pancakes or ice cream.

The only problem I had with this was that I wasn't able to cut a nice-looking (ie., triangular) slice. The middle of my crust was too soft, so I probably needed to bake it a little bit longer. It may also have helped if I used a tart pan rather than a pie plate, but we don't seem to own a tart pan.

John and I just polished off the last two slices in order to fill the void in our hearts from the end of our favorite tv series, Lost. I think I'm going to need to make more...

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart
adapted from Cooking Light

Crust:
36 honey and/or cinnamon graham crackers (9 sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

Filling:
2/3 cup (about 5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond liqueur

Topping:
5 cups small fresh strawberries, hulled and divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and 4 teaspoons water; pulse just until moist. Place cracker mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan lightly coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract and almond liqueur in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.

4. To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor, and process until smooth. Combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

5. Combine the remaining 4 cups strawberries and juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use). Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Yield:  10 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)
Download a printable recipe.
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