It has been ridiculously hot these past few days. Hot enough to prevent me from going anywhere near the stove or oven. I did try grilling once, but that was excruciatingly miserable. I have been making due with cold food, and just waiting, fingers crossed, for the weather to turn. This is probably the first time, while living in Vermont, that I have actually wished for cooler weather. I’ll probably be rueing it come January.
In deference to the steamy weather and the 4th of July holiday, I decided to experiment with red, white, and blue dessert options that do not require the use of an oven. I settled on trying to construct these no-bake fruit tarts. A no-bake shortbread crust, a raw whipped cream cheese and maple filling, and a sprinkling of fresh berries. The only time that I bent the cold food rules was to heat up a little jelly which I then brushed onto my berries for a little additional shine.
Recipe makes 4 (4″) tarts.
- 1 lb Shortbread cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted Butter
- 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temp)
- zest from 1 Lemon
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- Fresh Berries
- Jelly (optional)
- Use a food processor to grind the shortbread cookies into crumbs.
- Slowly pour in the melted butter while continuing to pulse the processor. The cookie crumbs should begin to clump together into a dough. Notice how similar these steps are to a graham-cracker crust?
- Firmly press the dough into your tart pans. If you were baking the tarts you would try to be as light as possible when pressing in the dough, relying on the heat from baking to melt the sugar and hold the crust together. As we are not baking the crust and are relying on the cooling butter to hold the tarts together, you want to pack the crumbs in as firmly as possible.
- Cool the tart shells in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, whip up the cream cheese with a hand held mixer or beater.
- Add the lemon zest to the cream cheese.
- Slowly add the maple syrup to the cream cheese.
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of your tart shells, and use the bottom of your spoon to level it out.
- Arrange the berries on top of the cream cheese filling.
- For a shiny finish, heat up a little jelly, and gently brush it over the fruit. I used a blueberry jelly which gave my tarts a little purple polish.