My strawberry patch is going nuts and I am so happy I am getting bowls and bowls of the best tasting strawberries, there is just no comparison to home grown fresh strawberries. My strawberry patch started off with a couple of stragglers that Mike’s grandma left in our driveway. We never planted the strawberries, they were sitting in a broken terracotta pot and summer came around and couple stragglers planted themselves next to the lavender in the driveway. I took a few of the driveway plants and planted them in the back of the yard and the 8 plants turned into 80 plants in 2 years. And everybody who enjoyed harvesting something eatable in their own yard will do anything not to waste your homegrown food (or any food for that matter). So these days we are eating a lot of strawberries and making lots of strawberry desserts.
These little individual strawberry cheesecakes are a bit of work but absolutely worth it. The cookie crust beats any store bought one.
- 2 sticks butter softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups all-pourpose flour
- 3/4 cups almond flour
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
Cream Cheese Pastry Cream
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups strawberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Toasted sliced almonds for garnish
- Cream butter with confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and lighter in color. Add egg and yolk and beat to combine.
- Combine all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter in 2 batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix until well combined. Form dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or until firm.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough to a 12 x 24-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Use a plastic lid from a large yogurt or sour cream container (at least 5 1/2-inch round) to mark 8 circles. Cut them out with a paring knife and press into 4 1/2-inch pans with removable bottoms. Prick each shell all over with a fork and freeze 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake chilled shells until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Pastry Cream
- Combine 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla bean, if using, in a medium saucepan. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk yolks, cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar together. Add remaining 1/4 cup cold milk and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup hot milk mixture to egg mixture while whisking continually. Add another 1/4 cup, then add egg and milk mixture back to remaining hot milk in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat, add cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (1 teaspoon total if not using vanilla bean) and whisk until smooth. Strain into a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate.
- Place sugar and 1 cup strawberries in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon water to cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to berries and sugar stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and cool completely. Fold remaining berries (cut in half’s or quarters) into cooked mixture.
- Whisk pastry cream until smooth and spoon into tart shells. Smooth surface and top with berries. Garnish with sliced almonds if desired and serve immediately after assembling.