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Entries in tart (11)


Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that I hold close to my heart. It may not have the magic of Christmas or the table spread of Thanksgiving, but it has its own charm. Laughter, love, hot plates of grilled food, the boom of a good firecracker, and the glow of a flickering bonfire—these are things that define the holiday for me. During the long days of summer, taking a break, even for a day, to start up the grill or enjoy the warm sun with friends and family feels like a blessing.

This year I can't wait to lay beneath the stars and watch the fireworks explode brilliantly above.

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

For celebrations and get-togethers, I like to challenge myself to come up with a new dessert to serve my loved ones. In the case of the Fourth of July, when potlucks and picnics are plentiful, the dessert should be portable and require no special dishes so they can be quickly snatched from the table and enjoyed on the run. While I debated between popsicles and pies, ultimately the decision made itself when I spied the red and blue berries at the market.

Though these do need to be kept chilled, these festive no-bake cheesecakes fit the holiday just right. The cheesecakes can be whipped up in less than an hour, making them an easy dessert to prepare (and an even easier dessert to devour).

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

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Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts are a fantastic way to celebrate summer. A soft sugar cookie crust is filled with a heaping helping of vanilla cheesecake filling. The filling is whipped, which gives the tarts a light quality. Topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries, the tarts play between sweet and tart, never swaying too far in one direction. These tarts make for a lovely end to a vibrant summer meal.

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Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

Some people have a green thumb. To put it quite frankly, I am not one of them. While many gardeners can sow, weed, and prune a plant into flourishing perfection, I struggle to complete some of the more basic tasks, such as burying the seeds at the correct depth or finding the motivation to weed (perhaps a bit of laziness is also to blame). Even so, my plants have a tendency to wither despite regular watering. They gather the nasty little bugs whenever I want to keep a flower indoors, and my vegetable plants grow the smallest of produce at the end of the season.

I am become Death, the destroyer of plants.

Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

Each spring the feeling of rebirth floats through the air, infecting me with a strong desire to kneel in the dirt and plant a garden. The eagerness to hold a handful of seeds makes me briefly forget my black thumb and the poor path my plants will soon travel down. When I lived at home with my parents, I would convince my mother to fill her garden with half a dozen varieties of vegetables. I convinced her that I would do the tending. I convinced her I would help them grow. Rarely, I am ashamed to admit, did I follow through on my deceitful promises. The plants would endure a hot sun, vagrant weeds, and abit of neglect. At the end of the season, we'd collect our micro-vegetables, telling ourselves that we would plant flowers next year instead.

Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

As the temperature finally rose this weekend, I felt the familiar urge to dig around in the dirt and grow new life. The trees have not yet budded with leaves, but for the first time this year it felt like spring has arrived. Even though I know my planting ventures are destined to end poorly (just ask my basil plant from last summer), I cannot shake the optimism that this year might be different—that this year I could grow something beautiful.

Even if I will not be able to grow a flourishing plant, I can bake something beautiful. And really, that might be the most delicious in the end.

Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

This Lime Curd Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream is an ode to spring, with bright green colors and bold new flavors. A lightly sweetened whole wheat tart crust is filled with a tart lime curd and swirled with spoonfuls of coconut whipped cream. Serve with a sprinkling of lime zest and another dollop of whipped cream to celebrate the arrival of sunshine and warmer weather.

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Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

December is riddled with dinner parties and friend and family get-togethers. While I love a good reason to eat great food and spend time with loved ones, there is always pressure on me to bring a fabulous dessert. Truth be told, the largest contributor to the pressure is myself. I want to find a way to outdo myself, to wow the guests with unexpected flavor combinations or an elaborate dish. The baker inside me wants to be a bit of a show-off. However, as time has shown me again and again, the pressure I place on myself to perform tends to backfire.

For Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I created a wonderful caramel pumpkin bread pudding. It took me two attempts to get it right, once because I burned the pudding in the oven and the second because I burned the caramel on the stove. Pressure, it seems, brings about rookie mistakes. One year I attempted to create a meringue cake to share with you on my blog's first birthday. A year and a half later, I haven't recovered from the misfortune that happened in my kitchen (contrary to what my mother may believe, I'm still not ready to discuss it).

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

This year, I've decided to learn from my past mistakes. While I can't erase the small part of me that wants to create brilliant, impressive desserts, I want to avoid disaster, disappointment, and rushing to the grocery store to grab more ingredients an hour before the event takes place (no one needs that kind of stress). This year, I am planning ahead. It seem like an obvious decision, but I've always been a last minute kind of girl, making the desserts the day or morning ahead and panicking if something goes awry.

I've gotten too good at panicking.

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

A month ago, my boyfriend convinced me we needed to buy pomegranates. After bringing them home and prying them open, I quickly decided they would be heavenly with a bit of chocolate. It took a bit of convincing for my skeptical boyfriend (and a mouth full of chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds to prove my point), but he ultimately came to the same conclusion. I put this idea on the back burner for the last month, mulling it over and trying to figure out the best presentation. I've always thought pomegranates looked like gems so the last thing I wanted to do was hide them in a dessert.

This Chocolate Pomegranate Tart is the result of all the reflection and, well, reflect it does.

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

A slice of this Chocolate Pomegranate Tart brings a hint of pomegranate to a decadent chocolate tart. The crust is made with ground almonds, reminding me a bit of sugar cookies. A rich chocolate truffle filling is baked in, setting like a thick custard. The finished tart is glazed with pomegranate juice (thickened to a syrup to strengthen the flavor) and dotted with pomegranate arils. The pomegranate seeds catch the light just so, making this a lovely tart to impress guests.

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