Turn store-bought puff pastry into delightful little tarts with fresh fruit and a lemony cream cheese filling; try eating just one!
If you’re a loyal reader, you will mostly like know already that home for me is Canada. To be more precise, we call Toronto home. There’s something to be said about living in a metropolis with everything readily available and pretty much at your finger tips, but I long for a quiet life in the country.
But, just because I live in Canada, that does not mean that I cannot celebrate and prepare a recipe for Independence Day. I love living in Canada, but I’m very much drawn to the United States. You know, Dear Reader, that I have a weakness for shopping and for country decor, and I find those things in the US. I have a full on love affair with Trader Joe’s (which we don’t have here in Canada) and I love Target and Barnes & Noble.
In addition to my attraction to obviously materialistic things, a large portion of subscribers and readers of Lord Byron’s Kitchen reside in the United States. So, for those readers, I prepared these delicious and super easy Puff Pastry Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts. (Don’t worry, my Canadian readers, there’s a special Canada Day-based treat coming for you in a few days!)
So, let’s talk puff pastry. First of all, let me just go on record and state that I have never, and probably will never, attempt to make puff pastry from scratch at home. It’s a skill that takes time to master and I have not yet mastered a simple pie crust, so I’m not about to attempt puff pastry.
Puff pasty is light, flaky, and buttery dough. It’s basically really thin layers of dough that are separated by a super thin layer of butter. To make it, dough is rolled out with a rolling pin and a layer of butter is smeared over top. The dough is folded over and rolled out again. This process is repeated over and over. Commonly, puff pastry can have up to 1,000 layers! Do you see why I’m not attempting to make it from scratch?
Once puff pastry is baked, the many layers of butter between the dough melts and the water content in the butter steams to create these very thin, flaky layers. Each layer of dough is basically separated from the next to create a puffed dough that’s golden brown and super delicate.
You can buy puff pastry in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Look in the freezer section where the frozen pie crusts and cool whip is kept. You can use puff pastry for so many things, so you might want to buy extra and keep it in your freezer. Whatever you do, please follow the directions on the package very carefully. Each manufacturer seems to have different prep and baking times.
If you’re buying frozen puff pastry, it most likely will be sold in sheets that have been carefully rolled. You will need to defrost overnight in your fridge. If you attempt to defrost at room temperature, they might become too sticky to work with. Plan ahead for this recipe, Dear Reader, to avoid wasting your puff pastry. Usually, when I bring home store bought puff pastry, I leave it in the fridge and use it the next day. That way, I don’t have to worry about remembering to remove it from the freezer.
When you prepare your Puff Pastry Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts, you can use any fruit that you like. I decided to use strawberries and raspberries for their red colour, and blueberries and blackberries for the blue. I know the 4th of July is all about red, white, and blue, so I’m going to say that the cream cheese filling is white, so this tart certainly works for the red, white, and blue theme!
Of course, you don’t have to make a red, white, and blue theme. You can use just berries or just fruit. I also made some with all strawberries and all blueberries just because I had extra left over. There’s no glazing necessary. I don’t think the tarts need the extra sugar. The fruit and berries have natural sugar, and there’s a little bit of sugar in the cream cheese mixture.
Serve these tarts at room temperature with a little sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. They’re sure to be a hit! Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
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