Mini Strawberry Tarts in Pretzel Crust

Makes 6 mini tarts

Crust

2 ½ C mini pretzels, finely crushed (yield 1 ¼ cups)

¼ C light brown sugar, packed

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling

4oz. cream cheese, softened

2 T light brown sugar, packed

1 t vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ C strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided

½ C light brown sugar, packed

4 t cornstarch

¼ C water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat 6 wells of a large muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Prepare the crust: process the pretzels in a food processor until very finely crushed, add the sugar and pulse to mix, then add the melted butter and pulse until well mixed and resembling wet sand. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells and press very firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each well. (Make sure the crust is well packed on all sides as this will keep the shells from breaking once baked). Bake the crusts until the cups are set and browned, 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool in the muffin pan.

Prepare the Filling: cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing well with a rubber spatula. Set aside (but do not refrigerate yet).

Prepare the Topping: put ¾ cup of strawberries in a bowl and mash them with a fork (or crush with a potato masher), enough to yield ½ cup. In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar and cornstarch then add the water and crushed strawberries. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ¾ cup sliced strawberries. If the remaining strawberries are large, cut them into smaller pieces.

Assemble the tarts: carefully wedge the tip of a paring knife between the top of each crust and the inside of the well, gently sliding each crust out of the well of the muffin pan; transfer to a platter. Spoon and spread some of the cream cheese filling in the bottom, then carefully spoon the strawberry topping on top. Refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled and set, at least 3 hours. Garnish with mint if desired.


Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

compote

 

Cardamom gives this compote an alluring flavor. Spoon it over pound cake, cheesecake, ice cream or go savory and serve it with pork. It will keep refrigerated and tightly covered for 4-5 days. Danielle adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed during April 2015 as part of our Colors of Spring month.

1 ½ lbs. rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 lb strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
½ C honey; more to taste
¼ C orange juice
½ t cardamom
1 small vanilla bean, slit and seeds scraped from pod
¼ t sea salt

Combine the rhubarb, honey, orange juice, cardamom and salt in a large saucepan. With a pairing knife, slit the vanilla bean open lengthwise and with the back of the knife carefully scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the rhubarb.


Coriander Roasted Strawberries

roasted

 

 

This is an unusual combination and utterly irresistible. The strawberries are not too sweet and the citrusy notes of the coriander seed are not assertive, but just right.  You could serve the strawberries with mascarpone or even just whipped cream, lightly sweetened.  You could even try the strawberries as part of a cheese course.  Adrienne demoed this at the US Botanic garden May 22 2014. Adapted from inspiredtaste.com. Read More


Radish and Herb Salad with Strawberries and Sungold Tomatoes

strawberry herb salad

 

 

The combination of strawberries and tomatoes is irresistible.  This salad does that and more, adding peppery radishes, plenty of herbs and a creamy yogurt dressing flavored with maple syrup to enhance the sweetness of the strawberries.  Make it even more  kid-friendly by omitting the radishes, but for grown-ups, don’t change a thing.  Danielle demoed this recipe at Brookside and at USBG in May 2014.  Adapted from Food52. Read More


Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse

white choc mousse

 

 

This is a rich dessert ideally served in expresso cups or small clear glass dessert cups. For a really special occasion, serve in chocolate shells. Decadent white chocolate and intense strawberry combine to make this one of your more memorable treats. Make it the day ahead for best results.  Use a chilled bowl to whip the cream to perfection. Adrienne demoed this in May 2014. Read More