~ This recipe took home the grand prize in the California Avocado Commission’s Cutting Edge Culinary Recipe Contest on June 27, 2014!
Happy Monday! Do you guys remember how last year at Fitbloggin’ I must have found a million four leaf clovers, because I cleaned out with a whole Amana Kitchen Set AND a Tiffany necklace?! What the what?! Well, this year I’m hoping luck is on my side again because the California Avocado Commission has put a call out for creative avocado recipes featuring mostly fruits and veggies for the California Avocado Cutting-Edge Culinary Recipe Contest. I’ve been
obsessing thinking about what I was going to make for three weeks, flip-flopping back and forth between a sweet recipe or a more “classic” avocado recipe, in which avocado plays the mellow counterpart to some strong flavor like cilantro, onion, or prosciutto. In the end I decided to take a risk, and make a dessert — a deliciously decadent dessert that tastes like a million calories but is actually cutely packed into portion controlled tarts. I present to you, Avocado Cream Tarts — a rich shortbread shell filled with a light, fluffy avocado mascarpone cream, sweetened with a touch of wildflower honey and given a clean, crisp accent with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The mascarpone pairs beautifully with the buttery notes of avocado, all the better topped with juicy, ripe, diced nectarines and strawberries. This sweet treat has a simple, just-picked, summery taste, and I hope you like it as much as I do.
1 Package of Shortbread Tartlet Shells or Phyllo Shells (bake as instructed), or miniature graham cracker shells (Or even a thin, sweet cookie if you can’t find anything else. I used shortbread tartlet shells found near the ready made pie shells in the baking section.)
1.5 Cups Mascarpone Cheese
1 Medium Ripe California Avocado, Mashed
1 Teaspoon Honey
1/2 Teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Diced Nectarine (or more to taste)
Handful of strawberries (or more to taste)
1) Mash the avocado with a fork until it’s guacamole consistency. A few small chunks are fine, but for the most part you want a smooth taste. Combine this with the mascarpone in a mixing bowl, and beat on medium for a minute until well mixed. If you don’t have a mixing bowl, you can use a whisk and your hands, but mix well. Slowly add in the honey and lemon juice. You can either increase or decrease the amounts of either of these, but I found 1 tsp honey to give just a very slight sweetness, and the lemon to add a very slight tartness to bring out the buttery avocado.
2) Dice the nectarine and strawberries very finely. Either use a spoon or piping bag to carefully fill the shells. Don’t have a piping bag but want a pretty swirl? You can make an improv piping bag, using a ziploc bag filled with the cream, snipped in the corner with scissors.
2) Dice your nectarines and strawberries and dab a few pieces of each on top. Pat yourself on the back, cuz you’re all done! See how easy that was?! There are a million different variations you could do on this; blueberries, banana, kiwi, apricots, mango… the possibilities are endless.
When I was brainstorming this recipe, it was important to me that it be quick and no-bake. We’re up in the 90s here in Los Angeles, and turning on my oven for anything takes some doing. I also wanted to feature avocado in a non-traditional sense; as a dessert, with lots of complementary flavors, but still with the buttery, rich avocado taste being the main feature.
Each avocado tarlet is about 130 calories, and well worth every bite. Avocados are packed with healthy fats, and are sodium and cholesterol free. It’s also sometimes called the Alligator Pear for its bumpy, green skin. For more fun avocado facts, visit this link from my friends at the California Avocado Commission.
What do you think about this dessert? Would you give an avocado dessert a try? What’s your favorite way to use avocados?