Last week I had plans to take dinner to a really dear friend who recently discovered she has breast cancer. Sharing a meal with a friend is always nice, but sometimes it's just an absolute necessity. I love to be able to cook for people I care for, and as I explained to my dear friend, who has always been a giver and never a receiver, there is grace on both sides, and sometimes being a receiver is a lot harder than being the giver. She is going to have to practice being a gracious receiver (though she is always more than gracious), because inside I think she probably really hates to have to just sit and take. (Love you, Gina)
I wanted to make a sweet treat for their dessert, but her children are at college, so I didn't want to take a whole pie or cake for just her and her husband. I saw some tiny tarts somewhere recently and they looked so cute and personal, I decided to create my own. I started with a shortbread cookie, which was easy to roll out quickly and bake. The bonus was with it being small, it cooled quickly. Then I topped it with a slightly lemony, cream cheese and whipped cream combination. On top of that, fresh blueberries. You could use any fresh fruit, except maybe apples and melon. I love berries because they don't turn like peaches. Blueberries happen to be my fave and I really like that they don't "juice" all over, like sliced strawberries.
This recipe makes 6 individual tarts, but you can double it with no trouble. Also, you can leave out the lemon juice for a less tart cream. Just an FYI, I keep an opened box of instant vanilla pudding in the pantry for stabilizing whipped cream.
I wouldn't top them with the cream more than a couple hours ahead. I delivered dinner early in the day and Gina didn't mention that the cookie got soft, but just to be on the safe side, wait until a couple hours before serving. I topped my own tart right before I ate it and the cookie was, obviously, still crunchy. It was delightful.
NOTE: Gina reported that the cookie did not get soggy and I topped them with cream a good six hours before they ate them.
Creamy Blueberry Tarts
1/2 c. butter (no substitutes)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. flour (I used half oat flour for a little healthiness)
1/2 cup whipping cream3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. instant vanilla pudding
2 T. instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 - 3/4 cup blueberries, washed and dried
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add flour and mix until blended. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch on floured surface. Cut with round cookie cutters, or, in a pinch, a floured glass. Place on baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not let brown.
Meanwhile, whip cream with sugar and pudding until the cream holds soft peaks. Add cream cheese and whip until smooth and creamy.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, spoon several tablespoons of the whipped cream mixture over the top (just split up the cream amongst all the cookies), and then top with blueberries.