Spring is a time of renewal. We get the chance to start again and have the hope of good things to come. Flowers bloom as gentle rains coax them out of the ground, birds start chirping in the trees, and the air is fresh and clean. At this time of year, I feel inspired!
This year I have decided I am ready for big changes. We have decided to remodel and add to our house. I started by drastically cleaning my house from top to bottom, tossing out the old and bringing in the new! Walls have been painted, new furniture has been purchased and a new color palette has brightened up the house.
Not only was I looking for change in my surroundings, I also decided to overhaul the traditional recipes I usually serve during the holidays and large family gatherings. I am not doing away with all of the traditional favorites, but it is time to create some new traditions. With this in mind, I headed to the kitchen with a whirlwind of new ideas for recipes for the perfect Easter dinner.
This year for Easter, I wanted to create something special. I had seen someone make little tartelettes using mini muffin pans and it became my inspiration. I decided to create a buttery almond crust and to fill them with a luscious creamy lemon filling. When I think of an Easter or springtime dessert, I always think of fresh strawberries, so I used them for the topping and to add a brilliant color center to my flowers.
The results were fantastic! I will be very proud to serve these dainty little bites to my friends and family this year at Easter. They are not too sweet just rich, creamy and decadent, with the perfect amount of lemon. They look like a bouquet of flowers you can serve on a platter, a perfect centerpiece on a desert table!
I hope you are encouraged by spring and the change it can bring to your life. This year, try something new for Easter or your springtime party. Redecorate or simply add some fresh new items to your menu. Shake things up a bit! Try this recipe, or let it be an inspiration to you to create something unique for your next special dinner.
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 Tablespoons shortening
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 6-8 teaspoons ice water
Lemon Crema and Strawberry Topping
- 5 ounces Challenge Cream Cheese
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1½ Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
- ⅛ cup diced fresh basil (optional)
In a food processor, add almonds. Pulse to grind into small pieces. Add flour, salt and sugar, pulse again to combine. Next add the butter and shortening pulsing until the mixture is a well combined coarse mixture. Next add the wet ingredients. Pulse in the egg yolks and extract. Slowly add enough ice water until a ball is formed. Divide into two sections and flatten into disks. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch. Using a flower shaped 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out flower shapes.
Push flower into an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool in pan before removing to help retain shape.
To create filling, combine cream cheese, sugar, zest juice and whipping cream. Beat on high with a hand mixture for about 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl toss diced strawberries with raspberry jam and fresh basil if desired.
To assemble, fill cooled flower crust with a dollop of Lemon Crema, and top with diced strawberries.
Tip: Tartelettes are best served the day they are made. To make ahead, bake tartelette shells and cover with a plastic wrap. Make the Lemon Crema and refrigerate. When ready to serve, prepare strawberries and fill tartelettes as directed.