How can you make a great day better? Add a some wonderful food.
It is Sunday and I usually make a sweet treat today but I knew we were having a busy weekend so I made these at the end of last week.
Strawberry and Lemon Tartlets. These are super easy but taste like a fine French pastry.
Today we have been to the zoo. The boys had a great time, they love the zoo, especially the nocturnal house. They are funny, Mr 7 likes to stop and read every sign, whilst Mr 4 just runs from one enclosure to the next, he has no interest in the information, now I know he can't read yet, but Mr 7 has always been like that, before he could read he wanted someone to read the information for him. They had a great time, Mr 4 slept all the way home. Feel it could be a late night for him tonight. They are having a quick bowl of pasta for dinner as we had a great (and big) picnic lunch. Bread, cheese, ham, salami, apple, tomatoes, sweet potato dip and of course some strawberry and lemon tartlets.
I love these pastries. They are delicious and the perfect size to have with a cup of tea. Slightly embarrassing story. I was taking photos of these on Thursday afternoon. I made a cup of tea and set it all up on my outside table. I took plenty of photos and then sat down at the table to have a quick look through the photos and check the composition etc. Next moment I look down and I have drunk the cup of tea and taken a bite out of the tart. 😳 Luckily I was happy with the photos I had taken so I ate another tart and didn't worry about it.
These are made with frozen puff pastry, which is such a versatile food stuff that I always have it in my freezer. They defrost super quickly and really are very good quality. If you have frozen pastry you are half way to creating something wonderful.
Do you remember my bulk purchase of Philadelphia cream cheese? If not you can read about it here. If you do then you will know I have a fridge full of the stuff. There is slightly less of it now as I have been making Mr 4 cream cheese and Vegemite toast as his afternoon snack and I had a week of not really cooking, so Stew and I lived on bread and cheese dinners. Which is really one of the best no cook dinners. So, although diminished, the cream cheese supply is still pretty high. Enter these yummy tartlets. They use cream cheese and sugar to make a delicious creamy filling that has the look and texture of a crème patisserie but without any of the grief or hard work. (Personally I like this better but then I am not a big fan of custard) Either way this is quick, easy and wonderfully tasty.
I have always bought 'St Dalfour' sugar free jams and marmalades, as they tastes great, are better for the kids and I like that the ingredient list only includes the things I put in my home made jam. For the strawberry jam the ingredients list reads as follows: Strawberries 55%, Grape Juice Concentrate, Fruit Pectin, Lemon Juice. Having said that Woolworths have introduced a sugar free home-brand and it is pretty good. Any jam will work, but the high sugar ones will make your tartlets much sweeter.
With the lemon icing not all lemon extract is made equal. Some are far stronger than others. I got an essence from the supermarket and it isn't as strong as the extract I had before. So I suggest adding it a small amount at a time and testing the flavour. You want a strong lemon taste. Don't try and substitute lemon juice. If you can't get lemon extract then some grated lemon zest will give you a nice hint of lemon, but probably not enough to justify the Lemon in the name. But hey go with it and just rename them to strawberry tartlets 😉
Makes 32 miniature tarts
- 2 sheets of puff pastry sheet
- 170g cream cheese
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 4 tbsp strawberry jam
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
For the glaze
- 120g icing sugar
- 4 tsp water
- ¼ tsp lemon extract
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan forced/Gas mark 6.
- Lay the two sheet of frozen puff pastry out and allow to thaw for 10 minutes.
- Using a food processor mix the castor sugar, milk and cream cheese together.
- Cut your pastry so you get 16 squares from each sheet. (cut into quarters and then cut each quarter into quarters)
- Line a baking sheet with cooking paper (I use 'Glad Bake & Cooking Paper) and lay out your pastry squares.
- Using a butter knife cut a square inside each pastry square. You don't want to cut all the way through just score it so that you have guide for the filling and also this helps a little wall rise up around the cream cheese. Using a sharp knife prick the surface of the inner square to minimise its puffyness.
- Place a small amount (about half a teaspoon) of the cream cheese mix into the middle of each pastry square.
- Add a small dollop of jam.
- In a small bowl or cup, beat the egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of each square with the egg mix.
- Bake for 14-15 minutes. until they are puffed up and the edges are lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before adding the lemon icing.
- Mix together the icing sugar and water. Stir through the lemon extract.
- Pour the icing to a small zip lock bag and seal.
- Allow it to sit at room temperature until you need it.
- When you are ready to ice the pastries, cut a tiny corner off the bag and drizzle each tart.