Christmas Strawberry Creme Fraiche & Lemon Zest Tarts or Meringues

November 22, 2017

Christmas Strawberry Creme Fraiche & Lemon Zest Tarts or Meringues

For Christmas or summertime sweet treat inspiration, try these two alternatives, using zesty creme fraiche and fresh summer strawberries. They look impressive and are so easy to make (even make them ahead of time and put them together an hour or so before you need them). We bake our own almond sweet pastry but you could use store bought. Ideally, you would also bake your own meringues (see our previous meringue recipe). But, if you are too busy this Christmas, find a high quality ready made meringue - we used The Herb & Spice Mill Vanilla Wheel Meringues (found in many of our Christmas Gourmet Gift Hampers).

Strawberry Creme Fraiche & Lemon Zest Tarts

Almond Pastry

1 cup plain flour

1 Tbspn ground almonds

3 Tbspns castor sugar

75 g cold butter (diced)

a few drops of lemon juice

3 - 4 tsp cold water

  1. Sift the flour and add the ground flour and castor sugar. Mix together.
  2. Add butter and rub together (or whizz in the food processor) until it resembles small breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the lemon juice and enough water to mix to a firm dough (without being soft or wet. If this happens, add a  bit more flour).
  4. Tip it onto food wrap and shape into a round ball. Cover in the food wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, turn the oven to 190 degrees celcius.
  6. Grease small muffin trays.
  7. Roll the pastry out and cut with a round biscuit cutter or any round object, such as a jar.  Place the cut out pastry shapes into the muffin holes.  Cover with grease proof paper and add ceramic pastry balls or uncooked rice, on top of the grease proof paper so that the pastry will not rise and puff up.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 13 - 15 mins. Remove the greaseproof paper and the ceramic balls or rice. Bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the pastry cases are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin tins. Once cool, place them on a wire rack. 
  10. Pastry cases can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Creme Fraiche & Lemon Zest Filling

1 cup creme fraiche

2-3 Tbspns icing sugar (more or less, depending on your personal preference for sweetness)

the zest of 1 lemon - use a lemon zester or grate the lemon (try not to grate the white lemon pith)

1 drop of natural vanilla essence.

Mix the above ingredients together.  You can use the mixture immediately but the lemon flavour improves overnight (store in an airtight container in the fridge).

Christmas Strawberry Tarts with Creme Fraiche & Lemon Zest Filling | Recipe | The Gift Loft (NZ)

Assembling the Tarts

Place spoonfuls of creme fraiche mixture into the pastry cases. Add thinly sliced strawberries to the top and sprinkle with icing sugar (optional). Serve within 1-2 hours of assembling the tarts. Store the tarts in the fridge and remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Christmas Meringues | Christmas Gourmet Food Gift Hampers | The Gift Loft (NZ)

     Meringue Alternative

    Add dollops of the creme fraiche mixture to the top of meringues for a sweeter dessert.  Try our previous meringue recipe, or use store bought meringues. For this recipe, we used The Herb & Spice Mill Vanilla Meringues - delicious and perfect for Christmas Day and summer BBQs.

    The Gift Loft Christmas Gourmet Hampers that include Vanilla Meringues

    Gourmet Christmas Sweet & Savoury Gift Basket | Christmas Gift Idea | The Gift Loft (NZ)

    The Gourmet Christmas Sweet & Savoury Gift Basket

    Le Creuset Christmas Heritage Dish & Gourmet Treats | Stylish Christmas Gift | The Gift Loft (NZ)

    Le Creuset Heritage Dish & Christmas Food Gift Hamper

    The Christmas Gourmet Food Basket with Christmas Cake | Gift for Him & Her | The Gift Loft (NZ)

    The Christmas Gourmet Food Gift Basket with Christmas Fruit Cake

    The No Dried Fruit Gourmet Food Gift Hamper | Gourmet Sweet & Savoury Gift | The Gift Loft (NZ)

    No Dried Fruit Gourmet Sweet & Savoury Food Hamper