It is summer time and the strawberries in North Carolina are intoxicating. And it’s not just when you purée them and add champagne to sip by the pool. This tart was inspired by some extra mascarpone that was nearing expiration. Deb at Smitten Kitchen takes the credit for her perfect tart shell . I prefer to make my tart dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge (it should stay for up to five days) or you can freeze the dough until you are ready to use it.
This dessert is absolutely perfect with freshly picked North Carolina strawberries. It would be fabulous with a number of other fresh fruits. Roederer Estate Brut from the Anderson Valley in California is a fabulous complement to this Strawberry Mascarpone Tart. Out of the sparkling wines from California this is one of the closest to the French champagne style. It has very fine bubbles and floral notes.
Sweet tart shell:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
8 oz mascarpone (at room temperature)
8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/8th cup to 1/4th cup confectioner’s sugar (depending on how sweet you like the filling)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 tbsp sugar
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Add the egg and process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough forms clumps. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Form into a disk, wrap the dough in plastic, and chill for two hours.
Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (I rolled mine out between saran wrap.) Turn the dough into your prepared 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in to create double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown.
Allow the tart shell to cool completely while you prepare the filling. Using a hand mixer (or stand mixer) combine the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip for at least 2 minutes until fluffy and well incorporated.
Spoon the filling into the cooled tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Allow this to cool in the fridge for approximately two hours, or until the filling is set.
Mix your sliced strawberries with the sugar and allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.
Tart shell adapted from Smitten Kitchen. The filling is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.