Aug 15, 2012

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

Holy crap-a-roo I gained 5 pounds.  My dear husband told me it's 'water-weight.'  He must have went to some sort of 'how to be a good husband and avoid getting a knee to the groin by your wife' class and learned that is a safe thing to say to a woman who's gained weight.

In a delusional attempt to avoid accepting I did actually gain weight, I believed him. 

Since I cannot wallow in my muffin top I decided the blog must go.  This week I'm sharing a 'healthy' recipe.  Well, sort of.  I guess you can say it's a lighter option rather than a healthy one. Typically fruit tarts are made with a butter-based crust, however this one uses graham crackers, whoop-de-doo.  Additionally this recipe swaps out the traditional egg-based custard for a sweetened light cream cheese.  Oh and don't forget the strawberries.  Fruit!  Yay fruit!  Fruit is healthy.  See we don't need Richard Simmons.  We just need fruit pie.

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart 
makes one 9 inch tart

*note: for 10 inch round tart pan, you'll need to double the crust and filling ingredients


For the crust
36 honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

For the filling
2/3 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the glaze
6 cups small fresh strawberries with stems removed, divided (you can use 2 cups frozen strawberries and 4 cups fresh if you'd like)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the candied almonds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
 2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).  Place graham crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist. 

Spray your tart pan (with a removable bottom) with cooking spray.  Transfer crumbs into prepared pan.

Press into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  Thickness should be around 3/4".  As you can see I realized here that my pan was too big and had to go and prepare an additional batch of crumbs for the sides.  If you're using a 9 inch pan, you should have enough crumbs and won't need the additional batch.

You can also see here I ran out of graham crackers and had to use digestive biscuits for the sides.  Either cookie will work just fine and you'd never even notice once it's finished!  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare the candied almonds, combine the 1/2 cup sliced almonds with the 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small frying pan.  Cook on medium heat until the sugar melts and the almonds are golden brown.  You'll need to keep an eye on them and stir frequently as they can burn quickly as the almonds are sliced quite thin.  Transfer to a sheet of aluminum foil and let cool.  Try not to eat them all before it's time to garnish...they are SO addictive.


To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract in a medium sized bowl.  Stir to combine and pour over cooled crust.  Cover and place in refrigerator while you prepare the glaze.

To prepare the glaze, combine 2 cups of the strawberries in a food processor and puree until smooth.  I used frozen strawberries for this part as fresh strawberries here are EXPENSIVE!  Pour strawberry puree into a saucepan.  Add sugar and cornstarch.  Stir over medium heat using a whisk.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for one minute.  Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.  I let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes on the counter then moved to the refrigerator to finish.  Never put anything extremely hot in the fridge as it can increase the temperature inside, jeopardizing the safety of your dairy and other food products.

Ok I messed up a bit here and am going share with you anyway because I don't want you to make the same ding-dong mistake.  I poured the entire batch of glaze over the sweetened cream cheese.  If you read the recipe properly at this point, you are supposed to add the strawberries in a circular pattern on top of the cream cheese and then pour HALF the glaze on top, saving the other half of the glaze for something else, perhaps your cereal or ice cream...yeh I was too excited and dumped it all...with no berries.  DOH! 

Once I realized what a stupid mistake I made, I had to remove the glaze with a spoon.  Well as much as I could anyway, as shown here:

I was so irritated I forgot to take pictures as I was too busy curing at myself for being such a bonehead.  SO, here is what you do: 

Combine the remaining 4 cups of fresh strawberries with one tablespoon of lemon juice.  Use your hands to give them a good toss.  Arrange your berries, stem side down (of course be sure to trim the tops off!) in a circular pattern over the cream cheese.  Take HALF the glaze and pour over the berries.  Sprinkle the candied almonds around the edge of the tart and chill for 3 hours.

Slice up and enjoy...and of course read your directions.

 recipe slightly adapted from  Cooking Light

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