Fresh Strawberry Tarts
These pretty as a picture Fresh Strawberry Tarts are the perfect dessert to showcase the season’s ripest, most flavorful berries.
With the combination of sweet luscious berries, sweet, crisp crusts, and a dreamy cheesecake filling, this Fruit Tart Recipe will rock your world, or at least your taste buds!
Why These Tarts Work
After such a dreadful winter, it was a joy to find fragrant strawberries at the market. Surely a sign of spring! I snatched up a couple of boxes of ruby red berries as the wheels started turning in my sugar-deprived brain. I knew dessert was in order, and fresh strawberry tartlets came to mind.
- The buttery pastry shells can be made ahead of time.
- A simple filling of cream cheese and whipped cream is easy and delicious.
- If you wait until strawberries are ripe and fragrant, you’ll have a spectacular dessert.
How to Make
- Roll out the pastry crust, cut a few circles of dough, fit them in the tart pans, and prebaked them. The rest was a piece of cake…or pie as the case may be. There will be enough filling for five tarts, so gather the scraps to make another tart shell if desired.
- Cream cheese, sugar, and a bit of lemon juice were beaten till smooth, then incorporated into freshly whipped cream.
- Berries can be arranged on top of each tart in any manner you’d like.I arranged sliced berries on two and halved berries on the rest.
- A simple glaze of melted red currant jelly provided an elegant sheen. Easy, peasy. PRO-Tip: The easiest glaze for strawberries is some melted red jelly. I prefer currant, but raspberry or strawberry work well, too. You don’t want jam as it has pieces of fruit and seeds.
As Bill finished up the last one, he gushed, “These strawberry tartlets were really, really good. I could eat a hundred of them.”
I love to play around with different ways to top strawberry tarts, whether full size or minis. Look for the brightest, most vibrant berries for the best presentation.
- My favorite way to top these strawberry cream cheese tarts was to take 4 similar-sized strawberry slices from the middles of a few different berries and intertwine them together. You’ll need to remove any hull and make sure the stem end is split open so you can connect all four together. This is easier to do on the countertop instead of fiddling around with them on the tart filling.
- Once you’re happy with your arrangement, a simple glaze of melted jam or jelly gives the berries a boost of color and some nice sheen. Looking at the top photo will give you some visual clues in case my description is lacking!
- The jelly also adds some color if your berries are on the pale side.
- Even a half berry, cut side down, with a sprig of mint, looks beautiful.
- Brush (affiliate link) on some red jelly to give the berries a little sheen. I like to keep a jar of red currant jelly (affiliate link) in the fridge just for this purpose.
If you’ve made tarts before, you may be familiar with terms and techniques like blind baking. But in case you aren’t, here are some tips for making these strawberry tartlets.
- First, you may need to buy some small tart pans (affiliate link) . I like the ones with removable bottoms, for easy removal and serving. Mine are 4 1/2-inch in diameter, but 4-inch would work, too.
- The crusts need to be baked alone since the filling is no-bake. Baking without a filling is called blind-baking.
- Once the tart shells are full of pastry, you line them with non-stick foil and weigh that down with dried beans or pie weights (affiliate link). This helps keep the bottom crust stay flat against the tart pan while it bakes.
- PRO-Tip: If you use dried beans as pie weights, they can be used over and over again. Just place them in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag or canning jar and save them for your next pie or tart.
- PRO-Tip: When making the crusts, make sure to keep all the ingredients cold, as that will make for the flakiest crust.
- The butter is for flavor and the shortening is for flakiness.
- Pull out the cream cheese for up to 2 hours before making the filling. It will mix best at room temperature.
- Chill the bowl you’ll use to whip the cream as a cold bowl helps stabilize the cream.
- PRO-Tip: Use fresh lemon juice, never bottled. You can squeeze the whole lemon and keep the extra juice in your freezer for the next recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
A tart is a pastry crust with shallow sides, a filling, and no top crust, according to The Food Lover’s Companion. Therefore, a fruit tart is any tart that incorporates fruit into the filling or topping.
Some fruit tarts are filled and then baked and others, like this one, has a crust that is baked and then filled. Baking the shell first is called blind baking and often needs the assistance of pie weights to prevent the bottom of the crust from puffing up. There are ceramic pie weights or substitutes like dried beans.
My favorite trick is to use some jelly or jam that will complement the color of the fruit. Red currant jelly isn’t overly sweet and works well for strawberries and raspberries. Use a small pastry brush to lightly paint the jelly over the fruit.
Melt the jelly gently in the microwave to liquefy it. Wait until it cools to room temperature so it doesn’t cook/discolor the berries. You may need to thin it with some water and whisk until smooth.
If the filling is perishable, store the tarts in the refrigerator covered with plastic to keep the fruit fresher for a longer time The plastic will also minimize the tart absorbing any refrigerator odors. When sliced strawberries are used, they’ll start showing their age after a night in the refrigerator. But they’re still safe to eat for 3-4 days.
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- Key Lime Tartlets
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- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons cold shortening, diced
- 3-4 tablespoons of ice cold water
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup whipping cream
- Fresh strawberries (12-16 depending on size)
- 2 tablespoons red currant jelly (or other red jelly)
- Put flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
- Add butter and shortening and pulse till the butter is the size of peas.
- Add water a little at a time and pulse till the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. You may not need all 4 tablespoons of water.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, then cut big enough rounds to fit into four 4 to 4½ diameter tart pans. Remove excess dough. Chill the filled tart pans if the dough has softened.
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Line tart pans with non-stick foil and fill with beans or ceramic pie weights. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the foil, prick the bottoms of the tarts with a fork and bake for another 15 minutes or till tart shells are lightly browned. Cool.
- Make filling. With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice till light and fluffy.
- In another bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks and combine it with the cream cheese mixture.
- Spread into cooled tart shells. Top with sliced or halved strawberries. Gently warm jelly in the microwave. Brush jelly over berries, then chill tarts for 30-60 minutes before serving.
Total time is about 2 hours with cooling and chilling included.
This recipe is for 4 fruit tarts, but I usually have enough dough and filling to make 5.
The crusts can be made the day before. On the day you plan to serve, make the filling and fill the shells. Add the berries and glaze within a few hours of serving time.
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Serving Size:1 tart
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 502Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g
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