First Place: Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart
By Kristina Harris, Raleigh, NC
36 honey graham crackers (9 sheets)
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 tsp. water
2/3 cup (5 ounces) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
5 cups small fresh strawberries, hulled and divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with parchment paper.
To prepare crust, place crackers in food processor; process until crumbly. Add sugar, butter, and water. Stir just until moist. Place cracker mixture in tart pan, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.
To prepare topping, place 1 cup strawberries in food processor and process until smooth. Combine strawberry puree, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook one minute. Remove glaze from heat. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Combine the remaining 4 cups strawberries and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon glaze evenly over the berries. Sprinkle almonds around edge. Chill 3 hours before serving.
Yield: 8 servings
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
Second Place: Liza Lou’s Strawberry Muddin Pie
By Liza Zaytoun, Raleigh, NC
1 pkg double-stuffed Oreos
8 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 box of banana pudding
Dash of nutmeg
2 cups milk (whole)
2-1/2 cups strawberries, sliced and stems removed
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 gelatin packets, softened
3 cups heavy cream (will make leftover mousse)
Strawberries for garnish
In a food processor or by hand, make oreo crumbs. The finer the better. Do so in half batches. Add 4 Tbsp. of butter at a time ‘til Oreo crumbs are slightly wet and will hold together real nice. Pack into pie pans carefully about 1/4 inch thick, evenly all the way around. Place in refrigerator to chill.
Now, make banana pudding according to box instructions, stirring in 2 cups of milk with pudding contents and dash of nutmeg, over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until it bubbles, then stir 1 more minute. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, stirring twice to break up any lumps. Allow to cool for a bit more (to warm temperature), then add 3/4 inch layer to oreo crust. Chill in refrigerator.
For mousse, over medium high heat, cook strawberries, sugar, and water stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add gelatin and stir in until dissolved. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool to room temperature.
In a mixer or with hand mixer, whip cream until it has soft peaks. Add cooked strawberry puree very slowly while continuing to beat mixture on medium speed. Taste to see if needs more sugar, in your opinion.
Add mousse to top of pie, mounding it on! Place back in refrigerator to chill overnight.
Garnish with sliced strawberries and enjoy.
Third Place: Chocolate Covered NC Strawberry Tart
By Mary Boury, Knightdale, NC
3/4 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1-1/2 cups melted chocolate chips
1 cup Heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. butter
2 cups NC strawberries
White chocolate chips melted for garnish
Press cookie dough in a thin layer in a 9” tart pan, then bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until brown.
Heat cream and butter until just starting to boil. Add to chocolate chips in a bowl. Let sit, then stir until combined. Add vanilla, and let sit at room temperature until set.
Line dough with sliced strawberries. Add chocolate sauce – top with whole berries. Drizzle with white chocolate.