Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 19th July 2013
I can’t believe we’re at the tail end of strawberry season already. I couldn’t find one Ontario strawberry anywhere the markets were sold out! If you’re anything like me you’ll be sad to see the last strawberries of the season. I’m going to make a quick trip to local farms this weekend to see if I can pick up a few flats before the fields are empty (fingers crossed). Naomi from Bakers Royale provided the inspiration for these Strawberry Tarts.
Naomi shared these amazing Strawberry Cheesecake Profiteroles and I was excited to try the technique she shared to make the filling. It’s the same technique used to prepare Crema Diplomatica (pastry cream lightened with Chantilly cream) but instead of using pastry cream as a base she prepared a baked cheesecake. Most cheesecake tart recipes that I’ve come across use a no-bake cheesecake as a base so I was excited to try this filling.
I decided to flavour the cheesecake after baking and instead of using a purée I prepared an easy oven baked strawberry jam because I also wanted to layer the base of the tarts with jam to highlight the strawberry flavour.
Oven baked jam can be stored for about 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. It’s a great way to use up seasonal berries especially if you’re anything like me through the berry season, I usually buy way more than we can consume in the few short days that they’re at their best. It’s quick and easy to prepare and tastes so much better than store-bought.
This technique will come in handy because the filling is light and airy and can be used in so many different desserts, dolci al cucchiaio (spoon desserts) or verrine desserts with seasonal berries quickly come to mind or plated desserts, the filling can easily be shaped into a quenelle.
The flavour combinations are endless too. Light and fresh, the perfect way to celebrate summer especially when dining al fresco.
I’m happy I chose to highlight the filling in tarts because the creamy cheesecake filling with the sweet strawberries and the buttery, crispy crust is a winning combination. You’ll notice I also garnished the tarts with a sprig of red currants; the pop of tartness is the perfect contrast to the sweet strawberries.
What am I going to miss most about strawberry season? Sweet juicy strawberries with freshly whipped cream, sometimes-simple pleasures are the best.
Strawberry Cheesecake Tarts
Makes 16 8 cm (3-inch) tarts
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- Strawberry Cheesecake Tart Filling
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Makes about 675 g (about 1½ pounds) pastry
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
- Egg Wash
- Prepare pastry as per recipe instructions adding seeds from ½ vanilla bean to the flour mixture (optional but it adds wonderful flavour).
- Transfer pastry dough to clean work surface, shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, pat down to a disc and transfer to the refrigerator. Allow the pastry dough to rest and chill, 30 minutes.
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking paper.
- Remove pastry from refrigerator and transfer to lightly floured work surface. Lightly dust the surface of the pastry and rolling pin with flour.
- Roll out the pastry to thickness of about 6 mm (¼-inch). Cut the pastry into sixteen 11½ cm (4½-inch) rounds. Fit each pastry round into a tart ring. Using a sharp paring knife, trim excess dough flush with edges of ring. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet (8 pastry shells per sheet). To dock the pastry, prick all over the base of each pastry shell with the tines of a fork. Transfer pastry shells to freezer and chill until firm, 30 minutes (to help prevent pastry from shrinking while baking).
- Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F).
- Bake pastry shells one sheet at-a-time. To blind bake pastry, line each pastry shell with nonstick baking paper and fill with pie weights, uncooked rice or beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges just begin to turn golden, 20 minutes. Remove from oven, remove paper and weights, let stand 1 minute. Using pastry brush, apply egg wash on the base of each pastry shell, return to oven and continue baking until golden all over, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer each pastry shell to wire rack; allow shells to cool completely. Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry shells.
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Smidgeon of salt
- Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Lightly beat together with a fork.
Strawberry Cheesecake Tart Filling
- Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
- Strawberry Jam
- Chantilly Cream
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
- 375 g (about 13¼ ounces or 1½ bricks) Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
- Seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- 113 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 large egg + 2 large egg yolks
- 60 ml (¼ cup) heavy cream, 35%
- 12 g (1½ tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- Preheat oven to 160° C (325° F). Prepare 23 cm (9-inch) springform pan for water bath, cut heavy-duty aluminum foil into three 40 cm (16-inch) squares. Layer aluminum foil squares on a flat work surface. Cut a sheet of nonstick baking paper into 30 cm (12-inch) square. Unlatch the sides of the springform pan and flip the removable base over so that the lip is facing down. Centre the baking paper on the base and reassemble the springform pan (making sure the lip is facing down). Place the pan in the centre of the aluminum squares; wrap foil tightly around the pan (to prevent any water from seeping in). To prepare water bath, bring teakettle of water almost to a boil over medium heat.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed, scraping down sides, bottom of bowl and paddle attachment a couple of times, until smooth (no lumps please), 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla seeds and gradually add the sugar, and beat at medium speed, scraping down sides, bottom of bowl and paddle attachment a couple of times, just until seeds are evenly disbursed and batter is smooth (do not over mix).
- In liquid measuring cup, lightly beat egg and egg yolks together with a fork. Gradually add the lightly beaten eggs to the batter and beat at medium speed until just combined.
- Add the heavy cream and flour, and beat at low speed until just combined.
- Strain the batter through a fine mesh sieve into springform pan (to ensure a smooth, creamy texture). Gently tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to allow any air bubbles that may have formed to dissipate. Transfer the pan to a large roasting tin.
- Pull out the middle oven rack slightly (just enough to comfortably fill the roasting pan with water); place roasting pan on rack. Carefully pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan filling about halfway up the side of the springform pan (do this step carefully to prevent any water from getting into the filling). Carefully push the roasting pan into the centre of the oven rack and then ever so carefully push the oven rack back into the oven.
- Bake until cheesecake is set around the edges and the centre slightly jiggles when springform pan is gently shaken (it will continue to set as it cools), 35 to 40 minutes.
- Carefully pull out oven rack, remove roasting pan from oven and transfer to heatproof surface. Remove springform pan and transfer to heatproof surface; immediately remove aluminum foil and transfer to wire rack. Allow cheesecake to cool completely away from drafts. Transfer cheesecake in springform pan to refrigerator, loosely cover with sheet of nonstick baking paper and allow chilling overnight.
- 560 g (19¾ ounces or about 2 1/3 cups) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
- 225 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 25 ml (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Place strawberries in ovenproof dish. Sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over top of berries; toss to evenly coat berries.
- Transfer to oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until thickened and sticky, between 35 and 60 minutes (jam will thicken as it chills in the refrigerator).
- Remove from oven and cool slightly.
- Transfer to blender jar, cover with lid and kitchen towel, and process to purée. Strain the jam through fine mesh sieve into heatproof bowl (to remove seeds, I like to perform this task twice to ensure a seed-free tart filling). Cover with sheet of plastic wrap, transfer to refrigerator and chill until cold (jam will thicken as it chills).
Recipe Note: The base of a Chantilly cream should be prepared 24 hours in advance for best vanilla flavouring. In airtight container combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean and seeds, whisk to combine and chill in the refrigerator 24 hours.
- 250 ml (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) heavy cream, 35%
- 16 g (2 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- Remove vanilla bean from cream mixture. Pour vanilla bean-heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar into medium bowl. Using handheld electric mixer beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.
To Assemble Strawberry Cheesecake Tart Filling
- 80 to 120 ml (1/3 to ½ cup) strawberry jam
- Spoon chilled cheesecake into large bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth with handheld electric mixer.
- Beat in 80 ml (1/3 cup) strawberry jam, taste, if you would like more strawberry flavour add the remaining jam a little at a time, tasting after each addition. I prepared the filling with 120 ml (½ cup) jam because I preferred more strawberry flavour.
- Fold the Chantilly cream into the cheesecake filling in three additions.
- Chill in the refrigerator to firm up until filling is piping consistency.
- 75 ml (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon) apricot jam, red currant jelly or cherry jelly
- ½ tablespoon water
- ½ tablespoon Crème de Cassis, optional
- Combine jam or jelly, water and if using, Crème de Cassis in small saucepan. Cook over low heat until jam or jelly is dissolved. Strain through fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool slightly.
Assembling Cheesecake Tarts
Assembling the tarts is a quick task, to ensure the pastry shells remain crisp I prefer to fill and garnish the tarts just before serving. If you will be doing the same, make sure to reheat the glaze just before assembly. If the glaze thickens too much during chilling add a teaspoon or two of water to make it fluid again.
- Strawberry Jam
- Fresh strawberries and red currants (optional)
- Transfer cheesecake filling to large pastry bag fitted with large decorative tip (Wilton 1M, swirl tip).
- Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons strawberry jam into each pastry shell. Use the back of a small spoon to spread the jam evenly over the base of each shell to the edges (don’t put too much jam in the shell because you don’t want it to come up the sides of the shell).
- Pipe filling overtop of jam layer.
- Garnish with fresh berries and currants. Using small pastry brush, apply a thin coat of glaze on the berries.
- Buon Appetito!
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