Graham Cracker Crumb Tarts:
5 - 6 tablespoons (70 - 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces (113 grams) white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Any combination of berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) or other fruit such as slices of peaches, plums, bananas, or kiwi.
Graham Cracker Crumb Tarts: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Evenly divide the mixture and press onto the bottom and up the sides of eight - 4 inch (10 cm) tart pans with removable bottoms. (Each tart will use 2 - 3 tablespoons of the graham cracker crumb mixture.) Place the tart shells in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
Cream Filling: Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. (Watch carefully as white chocolate scorches very easily.) Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the melted white chocolate and then the sour cream and vanilla extract, beating until you have a creamy smooth mixture. Evenly divide the cream among the tart shells smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Cover and refrigerate until firm.
To serve: Top with fresh berries or cut up fruit.
Note: You can make both the graham cracker tart shells and filling a few days in advance. But to prevent the crust from softening, do not assemble the tarts until the day they are being served.
Makes 8 - 4 inch (10 cm) tarts. Preparation time 30 minutes.
Note: Instead of individual tarts you can make one large 9-inch (23 cm) tart.
These delicious Graham Cracker Tarts, filled with a rich cream and garnished with fresh fruit, are so elegant. I always find that individual tarts are a dessert that everyone welcomes, although I know that making them can be a little time consuming. One way to reduce the work is to use this simple graham cracker crumb crust, as it is the easiest crust to make yet still packed with loads of flavor.
Graham Crackers are a flat, rectangular-shaped, slightly sweet whole wheat cookie (cracker) that are named after their creator, Rev. Sylvester Graham (1794 - 1851), a United States dietary reformer. Rev. Graham advocated vegetarianism and, in fact, American vegetarianism was called 'Grahamism' in the mid 19th century. He felt it was very important to eat flour that was made from the whole unrefined grain, including the bran. Although graham crackers were once touted as a health food, today they are a favorite snack of children and are the main ingredient in making this graham cracker crust. Graham crackers are sold both as crackers and as crumbs. To make this crust, all you need to do is open a box of graham cracker crumbs and combine it with a little sugar and melted butter. This mixture is then pressed into individual tart pans and left to chill while you make the decadent filling of cream cheese, melted white chocolate, and sour cream. If you are proficient with a pastry bag you can pipe the cream into the chilled shells. Otherwise, simply spread the cream into the shells, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. The finishing touch is to garnish each tart with whatever fresh fruit is in season. What makes these so delightful is that you can garnish each tart with different fruit, taking into account your guests likes and dislikes. Just be sure to place the fresh fruit on top of the tarts just before serving so the fruit does not soften and bleed into the cream.
Note: Crushed Digestive (whole meal) biscuits (cookies) can be used in place of the graham cracker crumbs.