Mascarpone Tart Topped with Fresh Strawberries

  • Serves: Makes one 10- to 12-inch tart pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350 crust
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Variaiton: Mascarpone Sweet Pastry Tart Topped with Fresh Strawberries
Our recipe really lets the beauty of fresh strawberries shine atop a mascarpone filled hazelnut cookie crust.
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INGREDIENTS
Hazelnut Cookie Tart Crust
1/2 cup hazelnuts, blanched and toasted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk beaten lightly with 2 tablespoons water

Mascarpone Filling
1 pound (about 2 cups) mascarpone, room temperature ; measure in cup meant for dry ingredients and level to rim
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely miced (chopped) orange or lemon peel; measure after mincing

Topping
2 pints whole strawberries (about 4 cups)
3/4 cups red currant jelly; you can substitute with seedless strawberry or raspberry jam, orange marmalade, even apricot jam.

INSTRUCTIONS
Make crust:
1. Butter and flour a 10- to 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. In a food processor grind blanched and toasted hazelnuts fine with sugar, flour, and salt. Add butter and pulse mixture well. Add yolk mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, and pulse mixture until it forms a dough. Press dough onto bottom and up side of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim.

3. Bake crust in middle of a 350 degree F oven 25 minutes, or until browned lightly, and cool in pan on a rack. Crust may be made 3 days ahead and kept, covered, in a cool dry place.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries:
SARAH SAYS: When washing strawberries, do so before you remove their tops and stems. Your berry will not get as water-logged and mushy if you do. After washing, remove green caps. Set aside on paper towels. Do not do this step ahead of time and then refrigerate the berries. They do not store well after cleaning. For best results, store your strawberries in the original clear clamshell container you purchased them in. For berries purchased in plastic pint containers, transfer them to a large container with a dry paper towel on the bottom. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature before serving. Under ideal conditions, strawberries should keep for 2 - 5 days in your refrigerator, but for best results, consume your berries as soon after purchase as possible.

Make the Filling and Topping:
1. Mix the mascarpone with the sugar, juice and peel medium bowl. Spread the mascarpone mixture onto the cooled crust using a rubber spatula. Chill the tart for an hour or more until set.

2. Cut the strawberries into slices, halves, or quarters. Arrange the berries over the filling in an attractive pattern. (Do not cut the berries ahead of time; do so right before decorating the tart.)

3. Melt jelly over low flame in a small saucepan or in the microwave under very low power. Strain to remove any seeds, if applicable, through a fine mesh strainer. Push the jelly through through strainer using a rubber spatula. Let cool until tepid or slightly warm and still spreadable.

4. With a pastry brush, brush the fruit already placed in the tart, lightly with the cooled, but still liquid glaze. (Reheat if it gets too jelled, but let cool slightly if too warm).

Final steps:
1. Chill the tart for for at least 30 minutes, if needed.. Remove the sides of the tart pan and loosen the tart from the bottom of the pan using a thin icing spatula or long knife. Slide it off the pan's bottom and place the tart on a serving platter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, if needed.

2. To serve, cut into wedges.

STORAGE
Store tart in the refrigerator where it will keep for about 2 to 3 days.

VARIATION
Sweet Pastry Crust
INGREDIENTS
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 egg large yolks
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon flour into measuring cup and level to rim
1/4 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Butter and flour a 10- to 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. Place the butter, sugar, and lemon peel in the work bowl of food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg yolks and pulse to mix well. Add the flour and salt and pulse the processor briefly until the flour is mixed in. Be careful not to overwork the dough. The dough will be very crumbly.

3. Remove the dough from the work bowl, press it into a disk shape and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper on a work surface. Roll the dough out to a round that is 1 to 2 inches larger than the tart pan. Pick the dough and the waxed paper up and place the dough into the tart pan. If any of the dough tears just patch it back together with your fingers.

5. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to trim the edges. Remove the scraps. Pierce the bottom of the tart shell with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove to a rack to cool before filling.

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