Confession: I am a berry addict. It doesn’t matter what kind, if it has “berry” in the name, I am completely helpless against its power. I could eat an entire container of berries in one sitting without any extra adornments – no whipped cream, no sugar, no crust – just the pure, sweet, wholesomeness of God’s natural candy. Is there anything better? I think not.
But not everyone shares my absolute love of berries. Many folks want those glorious nuggets of goodness wrapped in a more substantial dessert.
So, here I give you my version of a strawberry tart.
Admittedly, this recipe is more about the tart than the berry, and the tart is not so much “tart” as rich and delicious. But it is in a tart shell, and it’s topped with berries, hence the name. And, it’s in a short crust (like a shortbread cookie), so you get a shortbread cookie, filled with amazing sweet cream, and topped with the most magnificent of berries. You’re welcome.
Start with the crust by adding flour….
…and salt into a food processor.
Pulse until they’re all combined.
Next add the egg…
…and the cold cubed butter…
…and pulse until just combined.
The mix should look like course crumbs.
Slowly add in ice water and pulse together. You won’t need all the ice water, so you’ll want to keep checking the status of the dough.
The dough won’t come together as a big ball. But when you scoop a little bit out with your hands and press it will stay together and not fall apart. That’s when you know it’s ready.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and form it into a disc. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and chill it for about an hour.
Slice the dough into four or six pieces – depending on how many tarts you’re making.
Roll each piece of dough into a rough circle. It should be the thickness of a pie crust. Or maybe a little thicker, if you really like shortbread cookies.
Butter your tart dishes. If you’re using a non-stick tart pan, you can skip this step.
Lay the dough into each tart dish, pressing gently to fit. It may break, and that’s OK – just keep pressing and patching it together until it covers the inside of the dish and a little over the sides. These are rustic tarts, so perfection isn’t necessary.
Use a fork to dock the dough. Dock is just a fancy word for poking holes in the dough. Most shortbread and short crust recipes call for this step. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but who am I to go against tradition? Oh, who am I kidding – I buck tradition everyday. So, do what you want here. Dock, don’t dock, it’s up to you.
Chill dough again for 15 minutes.
While crusts are chilling, preheat your oven to 350º. Place chilled crusts into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until they’re a beautiful golden brown. (Sorry – I managed to forget to take a picture of the fully-baked crusts. Perhaps it was because I was too busy “taste-testing” the filling. Oh, my – that stuff is good.)
While the crusts are cooking, make the filling.
For the filling, start with the marscapone…
…then add the confectioners sugar…
The filling will be very thick.
Oh, man – someone get me a spoon. I could eat that filling straight from the bowl. It’s that good.
Fill the cooked tart shells with filling and smooth the top.
Slice whole fresh strawberries in half and place cut side down. You can use any fruit you’d like – raspberries, blackberries, peaches, blueberries, kiwi….
Oh, great – now I’m craving a big bowl of fruit…
Warm some jam on the stove until it’s liquid-y. Apricot jam is the standard, but you can also use plum, or blueberry, or whatever you have on had. Baste the top of the tart with the warm jam. This makes it glossy and beautiful.
Now all that’s left is to brew a cup of hot tea and enjoy a delicious treat.
Here’s the complete recipe. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup ice water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two 8.8 oz containers of mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup apricot jam (optional)
Fresh strawberries – washed, hulled, and halved
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processer and pulse until ingredients are combined.
- Add in the cubes of cold butter and the egg. Pulse again until the mix is course and crumbly.
- Slowly drizzle in the cold water while pulsing. Keep checking the dough. You won’t need to use all the water – just enough for the dough to hold together when you squeeze it.
- Turn the dough out on to a floured board and form it into a disc shape.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour.
- Slice the dough disc into 4 or six wedges (depending on how many tarts you’re making). You can also make one big tart in a traditional tart pan.
- Roll each piece of dough into a rough circle. It should be the thickness of a pie crust.
- Butter tart dishes.
- Lay dough into tart dish, pressing gently to fit.
- Using a fork, dock the dough. Refrigerate chilled, docked dough for 15 minutes.
- When you’re ready to make the tarts, remove the dough from the fridge and preheat your oven to 350º.
- Bake crusts for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- For the filling: whisk together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff. Spread it out into the pastry shell and smooth over the top.
- Slice strawberries in half, and place cut side down on top of the cream.
- Warm some apricot jam over a medium low heat until liquid-y, then baste evenly over the berries.
Yields four-six individual tarts, depending on size of tart pans.