Strawberry Tarts with Lemony Mascarpone Filling

By • April 27, 2010 • 6 Comments

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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
  1. Rub the lemon zest and sugar together until the sugar is moist from the lemon and very aromatic. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Separate into 4 equal sections (about 3 oz each), flatten into discs, and wrap in wax or plastic. Refrigerate for 30 - 45 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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)
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together except the strawberries and apricot puree. Spoon or pipe into the tart shells.
  2. Slice the strawberries and arrange around the tart shell. Melt the apricot puree so that it is pretty liquidy and brush onto the strawberries.
  3. Top with whipped cream, Chantilly cream, chocolate shavings or sifted confectioner's sugar. Pour a glass of Prosecco. Enjoy!
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Tags: can be made ahead, dinner party, Easy, entertaining, Spring, tart

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This recipe is fantastic! The crust is delicious and the filling is out of this world -- and so easy. I used the raw-pack blueberries (but also made one with frozen wild blueberries, which worked just as well), thickened with a pinch of cornstarch; I also added some lemon juice and a drop of vanilla. Absolutely divine. This is my go-to recipe now for berry tarts! I plan to use it again, with strawberries, when the boys return for their spring breaks. ;o)

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much for your ringing endorsement AJ! I'm so glad this recipe worked so well for you. I'm going to try it with the blueberries too - I love that idea, so thanks for the notes on the adjustments you made for the blueberries!! This will come in handy, especially if I get those blueberries bushes.....;-)

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hmmmm. Blueberries would go great with the mascarpone filling very nicely and I love your idea of reducing them to make them thicker. You could add a pinch of corn starch or creme of tarter to thicken when cooking too. I can't eat nuts, but I gotta say your idea with the almonds sounds wonderful - really wonderful. They should make a beautiful presentation too. I'm getting some decent strawberries out of Watsonville right now, but honestly I think your blueberry idea sounds really great. Were they from your own bushes? I'm considering getting some blueberry bushes for a hedge I'm replacing. Let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear!

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks so much! If you want blueberry bushes, get them from Raintree Nursery. (I think they're based near Seattle). There is only variety that will thrive in the Bay Area and that's what we planted, lining our walkway. It takes a couple of years for them to bear, but once they start, the output is amazing. I'll let you know how the tarts turn out. Mr.T doesn't even know that I raw-packed the blueberries, as it was a very light "crop" last year due to the cold, rainy spring and early summer weather. And do buy the blueberry bushes. You'll be so glad you did! ;o)

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

What a nice surprise of blueberries Mr. T has coming to him! Thanks for the tips on the blueberry bushes. I love blueberries and the little white blossoms in the spring. I'll go on line to look into Raintree Nursery! Have a great weekend!

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm so in awe of these, having had the great fortune of tasting one at our April potluck. I was asked by Mr. T to make something like this for his birthday dinner this weekend. It took me a while to recover from fainting, because whenever I've asked him, these 30+ years, what he'd like for his birthday "cake" (which has, I think, never actually been a real cake), he says "Pecan pie." Anyway, strawberries are not in season, of course, so I'm looking for another fruit. What would you use if you were making these in February? I'm actually thinking about draining, very well (overnight in fact), some raw pack blueberries I put up last summer, then reducing and thickening their very light syrup, and spooning them on at the last minute (with no glaze, but perhaps sprinkle on a few lightly spiced (crispy, brined!!) chopped almonds. What do you think? Thanks so much. I cannot wait to try this recipe (and to eat one of these tarts, with a glass of Prosecco, as instructed in Step 3)! ;o)