Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Strawberry Season

The weather is warming up and the choices of fruit at the market and the backyard are getting more diverse. No matter how many juicy pieces of fruit there are to pick from, my go-to fruit is the strawberry. I love it for myself and for entertaining. There are so many desserts to create using strawberries as well as side dishes. I threw together a strawberry and mint salad last year and it was really good. Of course there is always the strawberry smoothie and pancakes with sliced strawberries on top. My favorite strawberry dish is a recipe from Cooking Light and I'm sharing the most delish dessert with you. The Strawberry Almond Cream Tart is really easy to make and can be served with brunch or after a heavy dinner. To make the prep easier, check out the Strawberry Slicester we found from Sur La Table. What's your favorite way to eat a strawberry?

Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart

Prepare the crust and filling up to 2 days ahead; assemble the morning of your brunch. You'll have extra glaze--try it on ice cream or pound cake.

Yield: 10 servings

* Crust:
* 36 honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets)
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 4 teaspoons water
* Cooking spray

* 2/3 cup light cream cheese
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

* 6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted


Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist. Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan 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.

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

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

Combine 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.

Note: You can use either an 8 x 12-inch rectangular pan or a 9-inch round tart pan. The recipe also works with a 9-inch springform pan and a 10-inch pie plate.
Nutritional Information

289 (28% from fat)
8.9g (sat 4.2g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.5g)

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