Someone in White Bear Lake decided we needed curbs. Expensive curbs. Curbs that will keep our streets torn up for the duration of the summer. Curbs that require jackhammering, truck back-up beeps, steel clanging, house-shaking, dust-flying, high-pitched-machinery, migraine-inducing noise to begin promptly at 7 a.m. and continue for 13 hours per day. I sound like a bitter little bird, don't I? I'm on vacation for the week. I had thought about sleeping. The trucks start moving in between 6 a.m. and 6:30 A.M. I swear I'll never complain about bird-chirpings waking me up at 5 a.m. again.
Well - there's always eating. Somehow when huge holes are being dug outside your living room window, a broiled piece of fish with a green salad is not what you are dreaming about.
Sweet comfort is on your mind. Sweet comfort in the way of a berry topped, almond cream tart. Now I will admit, I used too much mixture (the recipe made me do it!) and I shouldn't have used the 11 inch pie pan when it specifically said 9 inch - but you know - I just cast my fate to the wind and made it and we ate it. No regrets.
ALMOND CREAM FRUIT TART (from PASTA MAGAZINE 2000 - yes, I save my magazines)
It looks intimidating with the steps - but if I can do it in my sleep-deprived frazzled state, anyone can!
1-1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 toasted ground almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
ALMOND CREAM FILLING
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 t vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 t almond extract
8 oz light cream cheese
4 cups fresh fruit (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch premixed with 1 cup water (trust me you don't need that much - half will do - less than half)
CRUST: Mix all ingredients for the crust in a mixing bowl. Press into a nine inch pie pan. You can use an 11 inch pie pan as I did - but all will be stretched thinner! Except for the berry mixture - that is abundant. Bake at 375 degrees F for six minutes. Cool for 30-40 minutes.
ALMOND CREAM FILLING: Pour cream and vanilla in small-medium bowl. Whip till soft peaks form. In a second (larger bowl) whip cream cheese, sugar and almond extract until smooth. Using a large spoon, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust in tart pan. Refrigerate for two hours (longer is probably better.)
Mix berries and sugar in saucepan until mixture bubbles. Then stir in cornstarch mixture (remember: less is more). Stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool on counter for about an hour. (One hour did not do it - it could probably be refrigerated after 30 minutes). Just before serving spread on top of Almond Cream Tart. Eat. Taste summer, sweet sun, light skies and the quiet before the trucks.