Birthday Dinners…a time for families to gather.

Today (August 18, 2014) was my oldest son’s birthday.  His sweet wife asked me to help her make his favorite dinner.  She is new to cooking and really wanted to make his birthday dinner special.  Since she is the mother to a fourteen month old and a five week old, I offered to do the shopping as well.  So what is his favorite dinner?  Breaded Veal Cutlets, Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, and Garlic Bread.  I added a salad and of course a dessert.  My son is not fond of cake so I decided to make some Strawberry Tarts with a Cheesecake-like filling.

His oldest daughter, Vanessa helped!

My Sous Chef Vanessa

My Sous Chef Vanessa

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Breaded Veal Cutlets

Breaded Veal Cutlets

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Strawberry Tarts

Strawberry Tarts

The Breaded Veal is on page 67 but I used Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs instead of Saltine Crackers.  Uncle Paolo’s Basic Tomato (Marinara) Sauce is on page 86.  This recipe makes a lot of sauce but don’t let that stop you!  It freezes beautifully.  Salad is on page 132 Pompeian Salad.  Garlic Bread page 38.

And for the Strawberry Tarts:

Start with a sheet of defrosted puff pastry that you have sitting on a sheet of parchment paper.  (This makes it easy to transfer to a sheet pan for baking.)  First brush the sheet with an egg wash=1 whole egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.  Using a very sharp paring knife, divide the sheet of pastry into 8 equal squares.  Using the very tip of the knife, make two slits in the pastry in the shape of an L….DO NOT CUT IT ALL THE WAY AROUND THE SQUARE.  It is important that the opposite corners of the L cut are still attached.  Now place you fore finger on the inside corner of the L and lift the cut strip and fit it to the inside of the opposite corner, gently pressing it down.  Now repeat with the other strip that is on the opposite corner.  Repeat this method on all 8 squares.

Puff pastry square with cuts to make sides of tart.

Puff pastry square with cuts to make sides of tart.

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Pastry "docked" and sides pressed with the back of a fork.

You have now doubled the edges of the squares to make the sides of the tarts. Pastry is “docked” and sides pressed with the back of a fork. Brush again with egg wash before baking.

Baked til golden brown.  Run tip of sharp around inside edge.

Baked until  golden brown and crispy at 400* Preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes. Run tip of a sharp knife 1/4″ deep around inside edge while still warm.

Press down center to make a little tart shell.

Press down center to make a little tart shell while the pastry is still warm.  Cool completely.

Fill with sweetened cream cheese.

Fill with sweetened cream cheese: 16 oz. cream cheese softened to room temp. sweetened to taste with confectioner’s sugar and a little vanilla extract.  Blend well with a couple of tablespoons of milk to soften slightly.

Add sliced fresh berries; brush with melted and cooled apple jelly.  Drizzle with a conf. Sugar drizzle.

Add sliced fresh berries; brush with melted and cooled apple jelly. Drizzle with a confectioner’s sugar drizzle.

It is best served within two hours of assembly.  Keep chilled.

Happy Birthday, Jason……until next time…Bon Appetit,  Chiqui

One thought on “Birthday Dinners…a time for families to gather.

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