Strawberries Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese

stuffs about 28 strawberries

8 ounces of mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese for a substitution), room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
28  strawberries
dark chocolate bar for garnish 

Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.

With a sharp paring knife, cut off the leafy bottoms of the strawberries to create a flat base. Cut a deep cross in the tops of the strawberries, down through the tip but not completely through to the bottom.  
 
Place the cheese mixture into a piping bag with a star tip (I used a 1M tip).  If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a quart sized zip lock and just cut off a corner so the tip fits snugly through that.  Pipe the cheese mixture into the strawberries.  With a course microplane or cheese grater, grate chocolate over the cheese stuffed strawberries.  Place the strawberries on a serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

The Italian Dish

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