Strawberry Tart

Strawberry pie, the quintessential pie for summer.  I have fond memories of my mom making strawberry pie every summer with sweet strawberries and a package of the red strawberry gel from the supermarket.  I had the official job of licking the spoon and bowl – yum that gel was sweet.  I am in the process of cleaning out our deep freezer so I can defrost and clean it.  In the deep freezer I found a cream cheese tart shell and some frozen strawberries to use and felt this was the best use šŸ˜‰  I would have preferred all fresh strawberries (I only had about a cup of fresh) but this pie was still delicious.  I searched for homemade gel recipes and found one that I slightly adapted to the ingredients I had on hand.  I served this with a dollop of fresh whipped cream (whipping cream beaten until whip cream consistency with just a dash of sugar), which is much better than store-bought šŸ˜‰  I actually ate my piece standing up after taking photos – it was that good.  I had a bite and couldn’t stop.  I shared this with our neighbors who appreciated the sweet slice of summer too.  I might have had leftovers for breakfast with coffee while writing this post šŸ˜‰    

**I used sugar-free strawberry gelatin and the filling was very sweet so if you use regular gelatin, you may want to cut some of the sugar.  I use dried beans in foil to help the shell from bubbling and baking evenly.

Strawberry Tart
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Makes enough for a 9-inch tart or pie

Ingredients for filling
3-4 cups of fresh strawberries, cut in half
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 small package (0.44 ounces; 12.4 grams) sugar-free strawberry gelatin (such as Jell-O)*

Ingredients for tart shell
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes

Instructions for filling
1.  In a sauce pan, combine sugar, water, and corn starch.  Bring to a boil and cook until mixture starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes, remove from heat and mix in gelatin.  Set aside and let cool.
2. After gel is cooled, mix in strawberries and set aside until the tart shell is cooled. 

Instructions for tart shell
Preheat oven to 400F
1.  In a food processor add salt and flour, pulse to combine.  Add butter and cream cheese, pulse until mixture starts to come together.
2.  Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it in half.  Press each half into discs, cover with plastic.  You can store this dough in the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator or keep it in the refrigerator up to 2 days. 
3.  On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of the dough to fit a 9-inch tart shell/pie pan. 
4.  Gently place dough into tart shell or pie pan and fold the extra dough back over the crust to form a thick crust.  Gently roll a rolling pin over the top of the crust to remove extra dough.  Using a fork, make fork marks all over dough. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
5. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the tart and press down lightly, adding  pie weights or dried beans in the foil.

Beans as pie weights in tart shell

6.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, carefully remove the foil with the beans/weights and place the tart shell back in the oven for 5-9 minutes or until lightly browned. 
7.  Remove tart shell from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
8. Once shell has cooled, add strawberry filling and serve or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

*Notes:  If using regular gelatin (not sugar-free), you may want to cut down on the sugar in the gel.
Too make it easier to remove the tart from the pan place the bottom carefully on a can and the tart ring will slide off easily.

Serve with homemade whipped cream.  Best to serve the day you assemble the tart/pie.
Mangia!
Lindsay Lou

Source: Tart recipe from Williams Sonoma Cream Cheese Pie Tart; Gel recipe adapted from Janice Papola via All Recipes

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