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Strawberry and Vanilla Tartlets

Most fruits can be bought all year, but you can’t beat the true American strawberry that is   in season between June and September.


Strawberries have been a popular fruit since ancient Roman times. They believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.


To enjoy strawberries at their best add a little black pepper or good quality balsamic vinegar and eat at room temperature. This, magically, brings out their superior flavor.
This tart is made with vanilla short crust pastry that is filled with cream cheese and Greek yoghurt and is topped with fresh strawberries. For a shortcut, buy ready rolled short crust pastry.


Preparation Time: 25 minutes plus 20 minutes for pastry to chill; Cooking Time:  20 minutes. Serves: 10 individual tartlets


Ingredients
For The Pastry Crust
1 ¾ cups plain all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
 2 egg yolks – to glaze pastry

 


 For the Filling
  2 cups cream cheese
  1 cup Greek Yogurt or Thick natural yoghurt
  1-teaspoon vanilla extract
 3 cups strawberries – hulled and halved
 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
 6 tablespoons strawberry jam – to glaze

 


 Method
1. Combine all the pastry crust ingredients together in the food processor until it forms a dough mix. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten slightly and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.


       2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.


       3.  Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the pastry. Cut out ten rounds using a 6-inch plain cutter. Press the pastry into the section of a deep muffin tin or loose-based tartlet case. Tear ten pieces of kitchen foil into ten 6-inch squares and press one into each pastry shell. Fill with baking beans or rice to ensure a perfect pastry shell.


      4.  Bake covered for 15 minutes, then remove the foil. Glaze the inside of the pastry with egg yolk. Return to the oven for a further 3-4 minutes or until golden.


       5.  Remove from the muffin tins as soon as they are cool enough to handle and leave on a wire rack.


       6.  Stir in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract into the cream cheese or Greek yoghurt. Spoon into the pastry cases. Cut the strawberries into halves and arrange on top.


       7.  Melt the strawberry jam in a small saucepan or microwave with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Brush the strawberries until generously coated.


 To serve the stylish way: Dust with a little confectioners sugar. 

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