In an earlier post on ShawnsPlate.com, I wrote about my job at Shoney’s and my absolute hate for cleaning their salad bar. While I absolutely hated salad bar duties, I absolutely loved getting to make their strawberry pies and hot fudge cakes. If you’ve never had the strawberry pie, it was made with whole fresh strawberries suspended in a strawberry gel, shortening crust, topped with whipped cream. Although I loved the pie, I always felt that it could be better.
When I opened my library based coffee house, The Literary Cafe, I decided to convert the strawberry pie into a tart using a cookie crust and a creamy filling such as a whipped cream mousse or cheesecake, topped with sliced fresh glazed strawberries. My customers enjoyed it so much, it never left the menu and was always sold out by the day’s end.
This week there were such gorgeous strawberries at the market, I immediately thought of this tart and knew that I wanted to devote a blog post to this recipe. It may seem like a lot of steps but, each one is so easy, you’ll finish before you know it!
P.S. Don’t eat any of the cookies…It takes all 24 to make the crust. I didn’t follow my own advice and had to crush some vanilla wafers to make up the difference.
|Easiest crust ever!!! Crush cookies in ziploc bag, mix with half & half and vanilla.|
|Whisk dry ingredients, then add water…|
|Boil for 1 minute and you get this lovely glaze!|
|Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.|
|Fill tart shell and you’re ready to add the strawberries.|
|Just layer strawberries…|
|They make their own design…Just add glaze & chill|
Makes One 10-inch Tart
1 pkg Pecan Sandies(24 cookies), or choice of shortbread cookies, crushed
2 tablespoons half & half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place crushed cookies in a large bowl. Add half & half and vanilla. Stir or mix with hands until mixture is moistened like damp sand. Press mixture into tart pan evenly covering sides and bottom. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
Place Jell-O, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Use a whisk to completely blend dry ingredients. Stir in water. Pour mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils. Allow to boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Pour glaze mixture into a shallow bowl to cool. Leave at room temperature until ready to use. If glaze is too solid when ready to use, heat for 15 seconds in the microwave.
Vanilla Mousse Filling:
1 8oz bar cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth. Beat in orange zest and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
1 quart fresh strawberries, reserve prettiest strawberry for center of tart
Leave crust in tart pan. Fill crust with vanilla mousse, spreading out until level. Slice strawberries, except the reserved berry. Starting at outer edge of tart, place a row of sliced berries, pointed tips outward. Continue next row of strawberries slightly overlapping the first row. Continue placing strawberries, working inward to center. Place reserved strawberry, tip up at center of the tart. Use the back of a spoon to apply a layer of glaze to the strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before unmolding and cutting tart.