Can you believe we are half way through December already? Holiday parties are in full swing around here, and my friend Stacie hosted a mug exchange and brunch this weekend. I needed to bring something to contribute, and my original plan included chocolate brioche buns. That was before I realized how involved making brioche was. (Since I was a bit too ambitious and already bought the ingredients, I'm going to brave the challenge sometime this week. Cross your fingers they won't totally flop.)
I realize that fruit tarts are not a seasonal dessert...Those strawberries probably had to sit on a truck for days before making it to the grocery store. However, I had some lemon curd in the fridge and was just craving something lemony and fruity. The filling was pretty simple, just two of my favorite fattening things on earth: cream cheese and lemon curd.
I made this standard pie crust recipe in the food processor and rolled out the dough between wax paper. (Thanks, Jenn for this awesome tip! I'll never flour my counter tops again while rolling out a pie crust.)
How adorable are these little tart pans?! I found them at TJ Maxx for $3.99. I have big plans for them...quiches, mini key lime pies, mini cheesecakes. I know; this is pure kitchen nerdery on display.Mini Fruit Tarts
-1 block of cream cheese (softened)
-3/4 cup of lemon curd
Stir until completely combined and all lumps have disappeared.
*This makes one 9 inch pie crust or twelve 2.5 inch mini crusts.
-1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup chilled butter (cut into cubes and place in freezer for a few minutes before using)
-1/4 cup ice water
-1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine flour and salt by pulsing in food processor. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture sticks together when you pinch with your fingers. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
-Blackberries or blueberries
1. Roll out crust and press tins upside down on crust to cut shapes. Press dough into the tins and cut off any excess that hangs over the edge.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes until golden brown. Prep cream while crusts are cooking. Refrigerate cream until needed.
3. Place on rack and allow to cool.
4. Spoon about a tablespoon of cream into each crust.
5. Lay fruit on top and gently press into the cream. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.Stacie had her table all set for a festive and intimate brunch. She even had little presents at each place setting. We each brought a brunch item and cute mug to exchange. Our "mug shots". (Seeing as how I am 8 months preggo and take up a lot of space in a frame, I was more than happy to take pictures instead of be in them.)The older I get the more I appreciate intimate gatherings...As exciting as big parties can be, sometimes you get lost in shuffle and miss spending time with the people you had intended to in the first place. In the midst of celebration, I keep coming back to the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Like most of the country, we've been glued to the TV watching the coverage of this nightmare. As a teacher, this hits close to home...I think of those teachers that died and know the responsibility they felt to their students. I just keep seeing the faces of those precious babies and thinking of their families this time of year. Presents were probably already wrapped and waiting under the tree. Advent calendars were counting down the days until families would celebrate together. Now those families are faced with the most senseless of tragedies and will spend what was meant to be a season of hope mourning the loss of their most precious gifts. There really are no words to express such loss...Saying prayers for them is all we can do.