March 20, 2013

Beautiful Berry Cream-Filled Tart: My Favorite Dessert

This dessert seriously makes me swoon. It is my all time favorite dessert, ever since I was a teenager. I was that weird kid that was thrilled to see fruit in my lunch box (thanks Mom). I guess I have a special place in my heart for berries because they are so perishable and the season is pretty short. You gotta get 'em while the getting is good. Kinda like kisses from my kids - I'll take them whenever they are ripe for taking. Even the wet sloppy ones from the 2 year old!

The tart may look a little difficult because it's so showy (like the pavlova) but it's really not. Pull together the ingredients for the crust and press it into a pie pan or a tart pan (see below) and then make the creamy filling. After that, it's just a matter of piling on the berries!

Beautiful Berry Cream-Filled Tart

Pastry Shell
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tbsp heavy cream

Put flour, sugar and salt into a bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse. Add the egg/ cream and pulse until the dough is chunky and holds together when squeezed. (You can also do this in a bowl with a pastry cutter, it just takes more work.) Dump the dough onto was paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Roll dough out into the shape of your tart pan. This dough makes enough for a 9" round pan. (A tart pan has a bottom that comes apart from the sides like a cheesecake pan to make serving a cutting the tart easier. You just lift the bottom of the pan out of the sides and serve the tart on the bottom. You can use a pie pan, just serve it right out of the pan like a pie.) Fit the dough into the pan and cover it with foil or parchment paper. Put some pie weights or dried beans on top of the foil to keep it from puffing up and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove the weights, prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Cream Filling
2/3 c sour cream
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c heavy cream
Beat sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and cream together in a large bowl. Spread mixture over cooled pastry shell. Arrange berries over the top and garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Chill between 1-4 hours before serving. This doesn't keep well in the fridge for more than a day, since the crust gets soggy.

March 14, 2013

Easter Egg Nest Cupcakes

Easter is coming!! I can't wait since we celebrate with our families at our house. I'm ready to have everyone over and celebrate. Easter brings joy and it's just what we need. I'm ever so grateful for the eternal gift I've been given through Jesus' sacrifice.

Easter time is also when our Girls are ramping up their laying! We have eggs coming out of our ears right now. I was inspired to create this cute cupcake. They are a totally fun Easter treat I made for the preschool and elementary aged kids. Super easy. Just whip up some cupcakes and top with icing. Then sprinkle on some chow mein noodles and add a few speckled jelly beans or whoppers to the top. How simple is that???


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