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Author Notes: About a year ago I was in a major tart mood and made tarts just about every week. I was fresh out of culinary school and was (briefly) considering developing a line of tarts at the time that I could sell to local coffee shops and the like. This was one of my favorite strawberry tarts that I created. I make my own tart shells, but you can always buy them instead. Now when I make shells, I make a lot and freeze what I don't use so that I nearly always have a bunch of shells of various sizes and shapes hanging around the freezer. I 'paint' the tart shells with a coating of chocolate that acts as a moisture barrier between the lemony mascarpone and the shell. (And who can argue with having a little chocolate anyway!) For a party, I don't slice the strawberries until just before serving so they look as fresh as possible, but I've done them as much as several hours ahead without a problem if I brush a little apricot puree on top of them. You can top the tarts with a little Chantilly cream, chocolate shavings or sifted confectioner's sugar. They make a great little presentation at the table, and oh so easy to make. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Serves 4 tarts that are 4" in diameter
Tart Shell (Pate Sable)
- 6 1/4 ounces (weighed) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces
- Rub the lemon zest and sugar together until the sugar is moist from the lemon and very aromatic. Set aside.
- In a food processor, blend together the flour and salt. Add the lemon sugar and mix well. Add the butter pieces all at once and process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea sized butter lumps.
- In a separate bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients. Drizzle over the flour mixture in the food processor and pulse just until the mixture comes together. Remove from the bowl onto a lightly floured workspace and gently knead with fingertips 4 or 5 times to form a ball.
- Separate into 4 equal sections (about 3 oz each), flatten into discs, and wrap in wax or plastic. Refrigerate for 30 - 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out each disc on a lightly floured workspace and line 4 tartlet pans with the dough. Dock with a fork and freeze until firm - at least 15 minutes. The longer you freeze them, the better they will keep their shape during the blind baking step.
- Line the tartlets with parchment paper or foil and pie weights or beans. Blind bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust begins to lightly brown. Remove the weights and paper/foil lining and continue to bake until golden brown - about 10 - 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate over very low heat or in the microwave until melted. Using a basting brush (I use a plastic one for this), brush on a layer of chocolate onto each cooled tart shell bottom. I use about 1 Tablespoon of chocolate per tart shell.
Lemon Mascarpone Filling and Strawberries
- 1/2 pound mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 14-16 strawberries
- 2 tablespoons apricot puree (strained from preserves)
- Whisk all the ingredients together except the strawberries and apricot puree. Spoon or pipe into the tart shells.
- Slice the strawberries and arrange around the tart shell. Melt the apricot puree so that it is pretty liquidy and brush onto the strawberries.
- Top with whipped cream, Chantilly cream, chocolate shavings or sifted confectioner's sugar. Pour a glass of Prosecco. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Strawberries
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