I can't think of many things my family enjoys more than eating dessert (or anything) together. Growing up we were blessed with adventure, and we spent a couple years in Japan before I was a teenager. My parents had a friend, Teriyoshi, who would always take us to see new gardens, and markets and he made sure we got to try all of the (different) food, that we would have never had the chance to try otherwise. Looking back as an adult I think, "Man, what great memories", but as a kid, there were some definite 'scary' moments, like when Teriyoshi would come over on Saturday afternoons, he'd almost always have Dorayaki with him. What is that you ask? A pancake. A pancake with bean paste filling. And it was all I could do to gag it down. He was always so polite and kind, that I couldn't imagine offending him. Or maybe it was the look in my dad's eye telling me to go ahead and eat that cold pancake (pancakes still make me gag to this day!!) So we put in our fair share of trying new (and different) foods and looking back I am so glad we did. Inevitably though the holidays would roll around, and those were always different. I say different because as a 10yr old, they weren't hard for me. I had my brothers, and sister, and mom and dad, and we had traditions and songs and each other, and food! My mom is the best cook and baker I know, to this day, and back then she took the simple things of home and brought them to us daily, while living overseas, but especially around the holidays. Things like pie, that you can throw together anywhere in the world, with a little flour, butter and perseverance. Or whip cream and strawberries, things that smelled and looked like home. There's nothing like it, and it can't be beat. This recipe incorporates all of those things, and it's simple; pie crust, cream cheese filling, whip cream and fruit!
What you will need:
11" inch tart pan
pie crust (as always, we use our recipe here, !)
small to medium size star cookie cutter
For the cream cheese filling:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Whip Cream Top
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar (we like our whipping cream sweet!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half (or blueberries, raspberries or all 3!)
What you will do:
Mix up pie crust per directions. Divide into 2 balls.
Roll one out to fit to the bottom of the tart pan, with just a little of it going up the sides of the tart pan. Dough will always shrink when baking, so go a bit bigger than you think. The dough should be about 1/4 in thick.
Set the dough aside and roll out remaining pie crust until it is around 1 in thick. Cut out lots of stars and carefully place them on a baking sheet. Coat them with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Preheat oven 375F
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese, egg, powdered sugar and cornstarch until well blended.
With a spatula, carefully spread the cream cheese filling mixture onto the crust in the tart pan (it will be a thin layer!)
Place tart into oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the crust start to brown. Remove tart from oven, and allow to cool.
You can bake the stars at the same time as the tart, but they will not take as long to bake, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While the tart, and stars are cooling, mix the whip cream up.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until it thickens. Keep an eye on it, it happens quickly!
Once the tart is cool, remove outside ring of tart pan and carefully pile the whip cream on top. Add the stars and strawberries, and enjoy!