Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mini Berries 'n' Cream Tarts (no bake)

These are just too darn cute.  These tiny little two-bite desserts are so pretty and scrumptious, so easy to make and light in your stomach on a hot summer night.  Aren't they beautiful?

I'm starting with dessert first from last night's book club menu because I just can't wait to share this recipe!  Last year, I tried to find pre-baked phyllo pastry shells.  I swear I looked in the freezer section in every grocery store around and they didn't carry them; all I found were the sheets of phyllo pastry, which I find very difficult to work with.  And then last weekend when I bought puff pastry at Target, right under my nose I saw the elusive phyllo shells!  I bought two boxes and knew I had to make something with them immediately.

My brother gave me this handy little decorating tool for my birthday, and I was so excited to get to use it (until now, I've piped filling using a zip-lock bag with the corner snipped off--which works okay, but isn't very pretty.)  Of course, with the berries on top, no one can see how nicely you piped the filling in, but I like knowing it's pretty underneath.  :)

These are so tiny that you'll probably need to make about 4 per person.  Don't even try to eat just one.  You won't be able to.

I went very simple with the filling (just 6 ingredients for this whole recipe), so I'd love to hear how you make this recipe your own with other sweet or savory fillings and toppings.  I'm already thinking of some sweet crab and green onion appetizers...

Make these tarts this weekend.  Eat them.  Fall in love with them.

Mini Berries 'n' Cream Tarts
  • 30 mini pre-baked phyllo shells
  • 1/3 package lowfat cream cheese (1/3 cup), softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • fresh assorted berries
Thaw the phyllo shells, about 30 minutes.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, lemon curd and powdered sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the whipping cream and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until soft peaks form.

Pipe about one tablespoon of filling into each shell; top with berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Chill for an hour before serving to firm the filling up a little.

You might also like to try my recipe for Lemon Curd...

Girly Treats for Book Club Dinner

A few months ago, some friends and I started a book club, and last night was our third meeting which I hosted this time.  We're an informal group of book clubbers, usually chatting more about what's going on in our lives than the book;  book club is really just an excuse to get together for some girly talk, wine and a relaxing dinner!  But I love the books, too, and it motivates me to read, something I used to do a lot of, but don't make as much time for in the past few years.  

This month we read "Not My Daughter", by Barbara Delinsky.  She's one of my favorite authors, and there's always a character or a story line that I can completely relate to.  This book is no different; even though I'm not a mom, I appreciate the insight into family life, difficult choices and that there is no perfect answer on how to be a good parent.  To my pregnant, soon to be mom friends from the book club, and to my sister, who is a month away from having her third beautiful daughter, you're going to be awesome!  :)

Since it was my first time to host, I wanted to make a fun meal that tied to the book in a way, but found that challenging since this book didn't have any strong "food themes" other than a Thanksgiving meal, so seeing how it's July and 90 degrees out, I needed a different plan.  (The first book we read in April or May was "The Help", and we happily ate fried chicken, biscuits and chocolate pie--if you've read the book, you'll know the joke about the pie...).  

In "Not My Daughter", the ladies own a business that creates colors for the yarn that they dye and sell;  the main character, Susan, is also described as having a "fuchsia heart", what her mother blames for Susan's life choices.  Heart-shaped cookies would have been too obvious...  so with the theme of color throughout the book, I made a really colorful and fresh summer dinner.  And also--it's light and healthy!  :)

I'll post the recipes over the next few days, so until then, a little sneak peek at what we ate... 
Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges Lettuce Wraps

Cauliflower and Artichoke Greek Salad

Mini no-bake Berries 'n' Cream Tarts

Strawberry Lemonade