These pretty as a picture Fresh Strawberry Tartlets are the perfect dessert to showcase the season’s ripest berries.
Between the sweet luscious berries, the sweet, crisp crust and the dreamy cheesecake filling, these tarts will rock your world, or at least your taste buds!
Celebrate Spring with Fresh Strawberry Tartlets
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 boxes of the ruby berries as the wheels started turning in my sugar-deprived brain. I knew dessert was in order, and fresh strawberry tartlets came to mind.
Artfully Arrange Your Berries
I rolled out the pastry crust, cut a few circles of dough, fit them in my tart pans and prebaked them. The rest was a piece of cake…or pie as the case may be. Cream cheese, sugar and a bit of lemon juice were beaten till smooth, then incorporated into freshly whipped cream.
There was plenty of filling for each of my four strawberry tarts, plus enough for left in the bowl for quality control. Thank goodness it passed the scrumptious test. 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 the elegant sheen. Easy, peasy.
As Bill finished up the last one, he gushed, “These were really, really good. I could eat a hundred of them.” I can only imagine how they’d be with peak of the season berries.
Tip for Decorating Fresh Strawberry Tartlets
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 counter top instead of fiddling around with them on the tart filling.
- Once you’re happy with your arrangement, you can put some more berry slices around the perimeter, then top with your prepared centerpiece. A simple glaze of melted jam 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!
- Even a half berry, cut side down, with a sprig of mint, looks beautiful.
- Brush on some red jelly to give the berries a little sheen. I like to keep a jar of red currant jelly in the fridge just for this purpose. The jelly also adds some color if your berries are on the pale side.
Making Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts
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. 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. 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 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!
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons cold shortening, diced
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 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 and pulse till dough comes away from sides of bowl and forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- After dough has chilled, roll out on lightly floured surface, then cut big enough rounds to fit into four 4½ diameter tart pans. Remove excess dough. Chill filled tart pans if 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 hand mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice till light and fluffy. In another bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks and combine 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.
More Delectable Desserts You’ll Love:
- Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake by Neighborfood
- Butterscotch Chocolate Caramel Cookie Cups by The Messy Baker
- Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies by Alida’s Kitchen
- Coconut Lime Meltaway Cookie Bars by Chocolate Moosey
- Meyer Lemon Bars with Poppyseed Crust by Foxes Love Lemons
- Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Bars by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Mixed Berry Crumble by The Dinner-Mom
- No-Bake Banana Split Dessert Cups by The Weekend Gourmet
- Springtime French Macarons by Hip Foodie Mom
- Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings