Raspberry Cream Cheese Tarts
It’s that part of the year again, when the stone fruits have gone and the berries have yet to come. There’s pears and apples galore in the market along with the usual suspects but these don’t tempt me so much these days. I miss those crisp and flavorful Himachal apples from my childhood–apples so juicy, that one bite would send the juices flowing down one’s arm. What I see in the market now are mostly imported apples that have probably been sitting in temperature controlled environments for months before they came to my fruit seller. By the time they come home, they have lost their taste and texture and are possibly only good enough for cooking with.
But this post isn’t about apples; neither is is about eating fresh fruit. It’s about the elation of finding a rare commodity and shunning one’s principles temporarily. I have an Achilles’ Heel for berries. When strawberries come to Mumbai, I will not be caught dead without a boxful in the fridge. I love jamuns and mulberries equally and must stain my mouth purple when they are in season. I love raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, redcurrants and the lot in equal measure and it depresses me that these are so rare to find fresh in our country. A local fruit vendor keeps small quantities of these once in a while, but they are often compromised on quality. So, when I found a tiny amount of flash frozen raspberries in an online store, I pounced on them without batting an eyelid at the price and waited impatiently for them to arrive. About 20 minutes after they stepped into my kitchen, I had made these and already devoured one:
Raspberry. Cream Cheese. Tart. What’s not to like? These simple, no-bake tarts are great for an afternoon tea or a brunch party. All they need is a few minutes of assembly and an hour or so of chilling. Replace raspberries with your favorite berry or do a spread in several flavors, if you like.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Tarts
(Makes 4 small tarts)
- 3/4 cup ground digestive biscuits
- 4 tbsp. melted butter
- 3/4 cup cream cheese
- 3 tbsp. softly whipped cream
- 3 tbsp. icing sugar (more or less as liked)
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
- Sprigs of young mint to decorate
- Mix the ground biscuits and the melted butter together until the mixture clumps together like wet sand when pressed.
- Press on the base and sides of the tart cases until about 1/4 inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator.
- Soften the cream cheese by beating with a wooden spoon or with an electric beater. Add the raspberries and fold in, macerating as you go. If you like a smooth filling, puree the raspberries and sieve before adding to the cream cheese.
- Add the icing sugar and mix once.
- Fold in the whipped cream carefully.
- Spoon into the tart cases and level the tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Decorate with a raspberry and a small sprig of mint.