The warm season is definitely on here and there is nothing I crave more than fresh fruit and cold beverages to get me by.
I know I have been making lots of desserts lately, but my wonderful husband is kind enough to take them with him to the office so I don't have to be tempted with them here at home. Anyway.. I much prefer a ripe juicy naked strawberry to quench my sweet tooth!
This recipe is adapted from a custard tart from The Joy of Baking as well as utilizing one of my favorite pastry crust recipes by Dorie Greenspan. For the recipe I subbed the half and half with cream cheese to give it a bit more depth and texture. My husband loved the cheesecake I made the previous week so I knew the addition of cream cheese would be a welcome one.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 tablespoon Cognac, Calvados, Rum or Water
Strawberry Glaze Directions
In a small saucepan heat the strawberry preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add the Cognac or water.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup cream cheese
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Brandy
Cheese Custard Prep
In a large bowl whisk the flour and sugar together. Mix in the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Do not let this mixture sit too long as it will form a crust.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk till warm, add the cream cheese and let meld with milk. Cook till it just starts to simmer. Take off heat and add vanilla and the liqueur. Gradually whisk into the egg mixture stirring constantly. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the apples.
Roll out the pastry and fit it into a 8 or 9 inch tart pan. Prick the bottom of the shell and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°
Place rack in center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack. When cool, spread a thin layer of warm glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and prevent it from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Arrange the fruit in concentric circles on top of the cooled and glazed tart shell. Carefully pour the custard over the apples to just below the top of the tart pan (do not fill all the way or the custard will drip between the crust and the pan). Sprinkle lightly with the Cinnamon Sugar.
Place tart pan on a larger baking sheet to make it easier to remove from oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set.