Monday, April 13, 2009


This Easter we went to my friend Pam's house, which was great because I didn't have to make dinner. Instead I got to volunteer for dessert. The request from my host was " something fruity". So I decided to give a strawberry tart a try. (I also made cupcakes because there were going to be kiddies there.) I found this recipe on Tastespotting and I was astounded at how easy it was.

The first major hurdle; I didn't have a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, I only had an 11 inch one. On my first try I figured, what's the difference, but the tart shell ended up coming out really thin, so the second try I made a double batch ( not easy in a standard cuisinart) and pushed as much as I thought necessary, the rest of the dough I pressed into little tart shells just to see if it would work, it did. The next problem was the cooking time, at 350 degrees, it needed 20 minutes, 25 burned it.

I have to say I have never worked with Mascarpone cheese before and I really enjoyed it I will definitely be trying to find more places to incorporate this newfound ingredient into my life. I even took the filling and tweaked it for another purpose (more on that in another post).

The only other problem that I encountered was my strawberries. They were distinctly out of season, and thus too tart and watery. The solution? Powered sugar tapped through a sieve over the berries before they were placed on the tart.

I made the crust the night before and let it sit out so that it would be ready for topping when I got up the next morning and it worked out really well. I highly recommend this dessert for dinner parties or any social gathering really. It is really easy to make and looks absolutely lovely.

• 3/4 cup sliced almonds

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

• 1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

• 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

• 1 teaspoon almond extract

• 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

• 8 ounces mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup powdered sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 cups fresh raspberries or strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse almonds and granulated sugar until finely ground, being careful to stop before they turn into nut butter. Add flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. With motor running, add egg, egg yolk, and almond extract and whirl until dough comes together. It will be sticky but that's ok.

Press dough evenly into the bottom (not the sides) of a 10-in. tart pan with removable rim. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then remove rim. You can let this sit overnight to cool and it will be fine in the morning.

IMelt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stir in 2 tbsp. cream. Spread chocolate on crust and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat remaining 1/2 cup cream to firm peaks ( no worries if you over beat it it'll still be fine). Beat in mascarpone, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Spread on chocolate-coated crust. Arrange strawberries on top. Serve tart immediately or cover with plastic wrap and chill up to overnight

Original recipe found on Berkley Cooking.

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