Seven years ago, my sister Ajit and I travelled to PEI for a friend’s destination wedding. Really though, our whole focus was to honour our unrequited love for everything Anne of Green Gables. We are life-long fanatics for Canada’s darling fable and movies.
During a touristy day trip around Charlottetown, we stopped at PEI Preserve Company for lunch. This well-known island gem is famous for its delicious homemade jams, jellies, and honey. Along with a sandwich, Ajit also ordered a slice of Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie. It was out of this world and made her smack her lips. Refreshing and creamy. The perfect balance of tart and sweet. She was smitten. Even after getting home, she spoke often of the delicious slice of heaven. Wishing she could go back for seconds or thirds.
Her swooning was enough reason to try to replicate it. It’s fair to say, it took me six years of tinkering to perfect the recipe. I failed many times. Mostly, because I overthought the process.
Last year, when my sister was pregnant and craving anything homemade, I had the privilege to visit her often. In between our sister bonding and baby preparations — I made her an array of my favourite recipes. The pièce de résistance was recreating the raspberry cream cheese pie. She couldn’t believe she was eating it again. She requested it multiple times. We even got her husband addicted to it.
For this recipe, I switched the original pie version to these tartlets. In truth, if I had to choose the best tartlet I’ve ever tasted that honour would go to this raspberry cream cheese version.
The tartlets are adorable with their crinkled edges. So adorable that they could model for Bon Appetit or Food & Wine Magazine. Along with their ‘cuteness’, it’s quite surreal eating your very own mini pie. You won’t want to share the mini-creation. You can indulge in it…All. By. Yourself.
I have one caveat about the tartlet shells: While I usually make everything from scratch. I admit, SOMETIMES life calls for store bought frozen tartlet shells. They are near perfection. Flaky, buttery, and downright delightful.
The filling adds just enough sweetness. There is an underlying zingness from the lemon juice, while the ground cardamom adds a nice surprise. There is something so amazingly rich, sensuous, and almost decadent about the flavours of cardamom and cream cheese coming together. The beauty of these tartlets is that the filling doesn’t have to be neat. Meaning there is no piping necessary with a ridiculous piping bag. Its haphazardness adds to its charm, especially since it gets hidden by the top layer.
Now on to the jammy raspberry compote. It seems like I have a *thing* for raspberry anything. How could I not? Talk about a flavourful fruit: bright, sweet, and sharp. More so, I love that frozen raspberries have the ability to transport me to summery days. Because of the raspberries, this recipe screams late spring or summer. If you are not a fan of raspberries, you could swap them for other delicious berries like, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries. You get the idea. I think these tartlets would even taste spectacular with B.C. nectarines or peaches. (Something for me to try, I suppose). I’ve spiced things up in this version, since the whole premise of this blog is the influence of anything South Asian. The ginger gives a heat to the raspberry compote adding a brightness. If you wanted to, you could use fresh ginger for this recipe.
6-8 oz Cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/ tsp ground cardamom
4 cups frozen raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons corn starch
½ cup water + 1 tablespoon
Purchase a box of 12.Pierce the bottoms with fork and prebake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.
Filling: Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, cardamom, and lemon juice. Spread on bottom of cooled tartlet shells.
Raspberry Compote: Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water and berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Cool in refrigerator about 15-20 mins. Carefully spoon the raspberry compote the filled tartlet shell. Make sure it does not get on the edges of the tartlet shell. Refrigerate at least 3 hours prior to serving.