I was all set to make the regulation fresh strawberry pie but you know, sometimes you just have to follow the urge when it hits and change things up a bit. I put away the lard and rolling pin, pulled out the butter and made a yummy sugar-cookie crust instead of a pastry shell. Lined that with a schmear of cream cheese and topped it all off with a pretty mix of sweet-tart blueberries and fragrant strawberries. I have to say it was pretty good - just not a good bed for a bunch of birthday candles .... but David was only too happy to forgo that tradition as well :)
I went a little bit crazy with this dessert and threw caution to the winds - I used plain old white sugar and white flour (gasp!!) in the cookie crust and white sugar in the glaze for the berries. Call me irresponsible but I rationalized it with the thought that it was an exception not the rule. Nevertheless I wanted to include Eden in celebrating and enjoying the whole meal so for her portion (needing to be gluten-free and refined sugar free) I lined a pretty bowl with the cream cheese mixture, topped that with beautiful, clean berries, and topped the lot with a soft spoonful of whipped cream. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?!
fresh berry birthday tarte
For the crust:
10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
In a medium bowl combine the melted butter, salt, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mixture, mixing just until well blended. It will be really soft but don't worry, just dump the lot into a 10" tarte pan and press it evenly across the bottom with your fingers. As the butter cools it firms up nicely. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is a beautiful warm gold. Don't underbake or it will taste doughy instead of being deliciously crisp. Cool completely on a wire rack before assembling the tarte.
For the filling:
5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 250 gm package of cream cheese
4 Tbsp honey
To make the glaze for the berries process 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries with the water in a blender until smooth. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan; stir in the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring, over medium heat until thickened. Cook and stir for another minute. Remove form heat and let cool without stirring for 15 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese and honey together until light and smooth.
To assemble the tarte:
Spread the cream cheese/honey mixture evenly over the cookie crust.
Gently fold the remaining strawberries and 2 cups of the blueberries into the cooled glaze. Top the cream cheese layer with the berry mixture. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with softly whipped fresh heavy cream.