I love tarts with shortbread crusts, but homemade sb crusts take time, & most of the tart recipes I have found had some other crust until I finally found one with a butter recipe cookie crust in June 2012 Southern Living. I used this crust recipe and adjusted the cookies used, and then I used a filling recipe from HEB.com. I made this for Memorial Day 2012, and everyone loved it. I don't see any filling for a tart exactly like this one, so I am posting it because it is so easy to make. Only the crust is baked, and if you use two ready-made shortbread crusts, it is even easier!
SHORTBREAD CRUST (FROM SOUTHERN LIVING, JUNE 2012
walkers brand pure butter shortbread cookies, (5.3 oz size)
real butter, very soft
almond or vanilla extract
TART FILLING FROM HTTP://WWW.HEB.COM/RECIPES/STRAWBERRY-TART/4557007
8 oz. neufchatel cheese, softened
greek yogurt (i like more greek yogurt than this--about 3/4 cup with a little more sugar added)
sifted powdered sugar
pure vanilla extract or a few drops of orange oil
strawberries, fresh or other fresh fruit of choice
Oven should be preheated to 350 degrees before beginning. Then, place cookies in blender, one half of a bag at a time. Do not eat any of them no matter how much you want to do so. You need all of the cookies. Grind cookies into crumbs and then pour into a bowl. The cookie crumbs are heavy, but they should measure over 2 cups of crumbs. (The original recipe calls for 2 2/3 cups of crumbs, but I didn't have that much. It still works.)
2To the cookie crumb mixture, add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. (Lavender flavored powdered sugar would be even better. Stormy Stewart has a lavender shortbread recipe that tells how to make lavender sugar.) Then add 1/3 cup of very soft butter and mix well. I softened the butter in my glass pie plate (since I didn't have a tart pan). After pouring butter out of pie plate, I rubbed butter over pie plate to butter it well. (The crust removed easily when the tart was cut. The crust also holds together when serving much better than a store-bought shortbread crust.) Finally, add the 1/2 teaspoon of extract. Mix together well, and then pour into greased pie plate (10-inch) and press into the bottom and sides of the plate. (I used my fingers.) Bake in preheated oven 10-14 minutes until lightly browned on edges.
Cool crust completely before adding filling.
3Note: The original Southern Living testing team used 2 2/3 cups of Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies (about 1 1/2 pkgs.) and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract rather than vanilla extract. They also made 6 6-inch tarts instead of a large one(in case you want to make this according to the original recipe).
With electric mixer, blend together the very soft and creamy neufchatel cheese with Greek yogurt, softened butter, and powdered sugar. Once it's completely mixed, add vanilla extract or orange oil and mix.
With spatula, spoon and scrape filling into cooled crust. Refrigerate. (I made the crust and filling a day ahead, and cut strawberries and added them the day I served this.)
If you use store bought ready-made crusts, you will probably have enough filling for two of these since those are smaller than 10-inch, and I have doubled the recipe. With two tarts, you will need more fruit toppings. If you have more filling than what you like, HEB recommends using it as a fruit dip. I like more filling in my tarts than some people.
5Note about changes to the original recipe:
The original recipe for filling used half of this recipe, but I wanted more filling. It also didn't add any vanilla or orange. The original was supposed to go into a plain pie crust.
Also, my husband says the short bread crust that I bake (as in the instructions) is better than using the ready-made crusts. I credit Walker shortbread cookies for that! The flavor is better if you follow this recipe as posted, and it also doesn't fall apart when serving like the store-bought crust did when I made it that way.
I made another variation. Instead of using Walker's Shortbread Cookies, I made Stormy Stewart's Lavender Shortbread Cookies. Lavender Shortbread cookies
Then I ground up 2 2/3 cups of these lavender cookies to make the crust using the recipe above. The lavender goes so well with the filling and the fruit. It's not super easy this way, but it does increase the WOW factor and adds another flavor.
6Strawberry or Fruit Topping:
Use fresh, ripe fruit. I cut strawberries in half and topped the whole tart. You could also slice peaches, kiwi, the fruit of your choice, or a combination of fruits for the topping.
The strawberry and blueberry combination is perfect for Memorial Day or 4th of July!
Chill until serving. The flavors become even better later in the day. We didn't get a chance to see what it was like the day after I added the strawberries (2 days after the filling was done).