For our Hollywood Bowl picnic dessert I decided to try something new. I remember having a cream cheese-based fruit dip when I was younger, and I set out to try to make a vegan version. It’s no secret that I love a good fruit tart, and once I found some non-vegan dip recipes to base my version on, I started thinking I’d make some mini tarts and use the dip as the filling. I decided to top the whole thing off with sliced kiwis – a fruit that I hadn’t ever used in a tart before.
I used the sweet pastry crust from “Nonna’s Italian Kitchen” as the base of the tart. Once I started making it I couldn’t find my lemon extract, and after tearing apart the kitchen, I decided to just use some fresh lemon zest. I’m not sure if that affected the texture of the tart shell. I’ll definitely try this again with lemon extract, but I think I’ll also experiment with other recipes as well.
I wasn’t sure how the whole thing would come together, but it was surprisingly tasty. Apart from making the shell, which isn’t terribly complicated, it’s actually a super simple recipe.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the brown sugar and vanilla extract into the cream cheese. Serve at room temperature with fruit for dipping, or spread into cooled tart shells and top with sliced fresh fruit. Store left-over dip in the refrigerator.
The sweet pastry crust only made three small tart shells for me, but the fruit dip recipe should yield enough filling for 4 mini tarts or one 9-inch tart.