Tag Archives: fruit tart

Mixed Berry and Praline Pecan Cookie Tart

It’s Sunday and I’m flat-out with piercing back pain.  I can stand or lie down but if I sit?  Oooeee!  Good thing I already had brunch ready, topped off with a gorgeous mixed berry tart studded with praline pecans.  Given it’s a school night and there’s work tomorrow, a quick but satisfying indulgence is called for, the operative word being quick.  This recipe is a re-make of the ’90’s version of the “fruit pizza”.  Any fruit will do as a topping but I feel there’s something lush and almost scandalous about mounds of berries.  Adding the store-bought praline pecans takes this tart to a new level.  The tart is good served cold or at room temperature.  My son, James, loved it as a kid.  You’ll love it now!

Mixed Berry and Praline Pecan Cookie Tart

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 16-ounce package per-cut sugar cookie dough
  •  8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped praline pecans, found in nut section of your grocery store’s produce department
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons jelly, I find guava jelly is the best with most fruits
  • fresh mint to garnish, optional
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  2. Break pre-cut chunks of cookie dough and place 1 inch apart in an 11-12 inch circle on an ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  3. Gently press down on each piece of dough so all pieces meet and the end result is one large cookie.
  4. Bake 17-20 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are golden.
  5. Cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  6. In a medium size bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is completely smooth and combined well.
  7. When the cookie is completely cool, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top.
  8. Scatter and mound the berries on the cream cheese and lightly press on the fruit to help it stay in place.
  9. Warm the jelly in microwave until it’s melted.
  10. Using a pastry brush or NEW paint brush, paint the berries with the jelly.  If the jelly firms up, warm it again in the microwave for 10 seconds.
  11. Chill until serving.
  12. Garnish with fresh mint when serving.



Goat Cheese Cheesecake Bites Topped with Lemon Curd and Fresh Fruit

Strawberry, sour cherry and blueberry. Oh, baby!
Strawberry, sour cherry and blueberry. Oh, baby!

The twang and tang combination of goat cheese and cream cheese is a fusion that will send your taste buds to an ambrosial rapture.  I’m crazy about legitimate, bona fide cheesecake, I mean, who isn’t?  My wish is for the tartness of the lemon and cheese to shine through the batter followed by the slightly sweet after glow of a lemon curd topping.  I want my filling somewhat dry, almost crumbly, with a hint of bite…as a proper New York cheesecake would be.  A cloyingly sweet and gummy cheesecake with a soggy bit of canned fruit topping sitting on a synthetic vanilla wafer is a recipe for disappointment.  This recipe will make your heart sing.  Pleasing to the eye, these tiny cakes end up looking like little jewels and because they’re bitesize…well,, hey, portion control! The marrying of goat cheese with cream cheese jacks up the flavor.  The sweet but tangy lemon curd pairs beautifully with both cheeses and the fresh fruit acts like a foil cutting through the tartlet’s richness.


I happened to have homemade lemon curd on hand, which is always lovely, but if you’re short on time or don’t wish to fuss with it store-bought lemon curd is perfectly fine.  It can be found in the grocery store along side the jellies and jams. It does add a surprising contrast of flavors but the lemon curd really acts as a “glue” in order to hold the fresh fruit in place.  And, of course, choose your favorite fruits that boast deep, rich colors.  Blackberries would be gorgeous.  If you’d like to add a glossy to shine to the bites, a quick painting of heated jelly with have your treats sparkling.  If you like more of a matte finish, a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar is lovely.  But either way this dessert is a bad-ass pleasure. Let me know what you think.

Goat Cheese Cheesecake Bites with Lemon Curd and Fresh Fruit

  • Servings: 40 mini-cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 6-ounce bag lemon cookies, crushed into crumbs.  I use Pepperidge Farms brand.
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups lemon curd
  • fresh fruit for color, your choice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Place 40 mini size baking cups, paper or foil, on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil.  Spray cups lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place 1 level teaspoon of cookie crumbs on the bottom of each sprayed baking cup.
  4. Use your fingertips or even a muddler from your bar to press down on the crumbs.  This is your crust.  Set cookie sheet aside.
  5. In a large bowl beat the cheeses together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs and beat well followed by the sugar.  Beat well.
  7. Add lemon juice and vanilla beating well after each addition.
  8. Scoop batter into baking cups filling 2/3 full.  I use a 1 1/2″ melon ball scoop.
  9. Bake 15-17 minutes keeping a watchful eye.  Each oven is different and these can cook quickly.
  10. Cool in baking cups and refrigerate 6 hours to overnight.
  11. Prior to serving top with 1/2-1 teaspoon lemon curd, to your taste
  12. Top lemon curd with fresh fruit.
  13. For a glossy finish heat 3 or 4 tablespoons of jelly in microwave until dissolved, 10-15 seconds.  Use a small pastry or paint brush to cover fruit with jelly.  Re-heat jelly if necessary as you work.



Strawberry Tart


This tart is to die for.  I don’t have a story for you and I don’t care.  This tart is one of the most exquisite things on the planet.  Takes a little time but well worth it as it’s SCARY good.  So good that I cut a piece for myself, one for Jimmy and the rest I’m taking to my Greek school class.  How’s that for starting the week off right?  This sweet is sorority girl pretty and perfect for a luncheon, baptism or gorgeous spring day.  I’ll tell you right from the get-go it’s not my recipe but Ina Garten’s.  It’s from her Barefoot in Paris book.  And the recipe’s spot on.  I’m not crazy about apricot jelly on fruit tarts so I used passion fruit jelly.  It really brings out the flavors of the strawberries.  And I didn’t have Crisco just lard in the back of the refrigerator for emergencies.  Too lazy to accommodate the contents of the refrigerator I used 8 tablespoons of butter instead of 6 and skipped the Crisco all together.  But other than that I don’t think I made any other changes except I made it in stages.  I made the cream on Friday, the pastry on Saturday and assembled it today, Monday.  I have to say I think the cream is better than what you get from a bakery.  Maybe it’s the Cognac…I don’t know but it’ll make you swoon.  And the pastry…all buttery and crumbly…oh, sweet baby Jesus!!  Every bite was perfection.  Y’all have just GOT to try this!  So here goes.  The cream recipe follows.

Strawberry Tart

Makes 1- 4″X13″ tart or 4 41/2″ tarts

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cold Crisco
  • 1/4 iced water
  • 2 cups pastry cream, recipe follows
  • 2-3 pints strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/3 cup apricot jelly
  • 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, (optional)P1000045
  1. 1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the butter and Crisco and pulse about 10 times or until the butter is the size of peas.
  3. Add the ice-cold water and process until the dough comes together.  I needed to add one more tablespoon.
  4. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disc.
  5. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Roll out the dough to fit your tart pan.  The pan should have removable sides.  Do not stretch the dough when placing in the pan or the dough will shrink while baking.
  8. Cut off the excess by running the rolling-pin over the top of the pan.
  9. Line the tart shell with a piece of buttered tin foil, butter side to dough, and fill with dried beans or rice.
  10. Bake 10 minutes.  Remove tin foil and prick the bottom of the tart all over with a fork.  Continue to bake another 15-20 minutes or until just barely browned.  Set aside to cool.
  11. Before serving, fill the tart with the pastry cream.  Arrange the berries on top of the cream.
  12. Melt the jelly with one teaspoon of water and brush carefully all over the top of the tarts.
  13. If using pistachios, sprinkle over the top.



Pastry Cream

yield: 2 cups

  • 5 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes or until very thick.
  2. Reduce to low-speed and add cornstarch.
  3. With the mixer on low, SLOWLY pour in the hot milk into the egg mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat – I went to medium-low – stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Don’t be alarmed when the mixture begins to boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously.  Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes.  The custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding.
  6. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter and heavy cream.
  7. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl.  Another thing I didn’t do.  Up to you.
  8. Place plastic wrap directly on to cream and refrigerate until cold.