Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Patriotic Fruit Tarts

I love holidays, not just because most of them include a day off and time to spend with dear ones, but also because most holidays give me another excuse to make something sweet.  4th of July (American Independence day, for any non-US readers) is no different.... It always includes a red, white and blue dessert.

 I use to experiment with different patriotic-themed desserts, but once I started making these fruit tarts, there was no going back.  My family & friends simply love them too much for me to make anything else.  This year, my first summer in Texas, I'm taking several larger versions of this tart combination to a cookout with friends.  I'm hoping that they will fall for them just like my family did back in the Midwest.

I always brush the bottom of the tart shell with chocolate. 
 It keeps the tart from getting soggy & adds an extra layer of flavor.  

The whole flavor combination is fantastic (crust... chocolate.... cream cheese.... berries), but honestly, I think it is the filling paired with the fruit that really makes the whole thing.  In fact, I sometimes just like to make the filling and layer it in a bowl with berries for a terrific no-bake dessert (maybe crumble some graham crackers or biscoff cookies).

My hope is that  no matter where you are this 4th of July, you are able to spend the day relaxing with family & friends.  And that you finish the day with a patriotic dessert (and perhaps some fireworks).


16 oz Cream Cheese, softened
7 oz Confectioners’ Sugar, sifted, plus additional to taste if needed
3/4 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
6 oz Heavy Cream

1.   In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cheese, confectioners sugar, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms medium peaks.

2.  Mix 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cheese mixture to lighten the cheese mixture.  Fold the remaining cream into the cheese.

3.  Taste the mixture for sweetness.  If it is not sweet enough sift some additional confectioners sugar over the mixture & fold it in. (if pairing the filling with fruit, taste the fruit with the filling to accurately judge the sweetness levels).

4.  Place the cheese mixture into a piping bag (no tip, unless you REALLY enjoy washing them....) or a large ziplock bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

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