Do you have a food that you love to make? Or maybe a food someone you love makes? You know, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Aunt Sally’s casserole. To me, that’s this Strawberry Tart during strawberry season.
For my 20th birthday, a friend had bought me a subscription to the late Gourmet magazine, that is unfortunately no longer with us. The day it came in the mail, I would sit in my seat at the coffee table in my apartment and read it. I would dog ear the recipes that sounded fun to make and ask my roommate and my brother what sounded good. (My brother lived in the same apartment complex in San Diego with his friends).
This became a favorite for the group and if you make it, it will probably become a favorite of your family’s, too. I decided to make it for a BBQ I was going to at a friend’s house. I had texted my friend with two options “stout brownies or strawberry mascarpone tart.” She said it was a tough call but chose the strawberry dessert. It was a hit at the BBQ which just warms my heart…I love feeding people and I especially love when they like the food.
Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze
For the tart shell:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 1/2 lb. fresh strawberries, washed, topped, and cut in half lengthwise
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup ruby Port
- 1 lb. mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
You will need a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Heat oven to 375˚F.
First, make the tart shell. Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Beat together yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork, then drizzle over the flour mixture and stir with a fork until mixture comes together.
Gently knead with floured hands on a lightly floured surface until a dough forms. The idea is to get the dough homogenized but not melt the butter. Press into a 5-inch disk. Place in the center of a tart pan and cover with plastic wrap. Using your fingers and bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, spread and push dough to evenly cover bottom and side of pan.
Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights, I use dry beans or barley. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until shell is deep golden all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool in the pan until tart shell is cool to touch (and won’t melt the filling).
While the shell cools:
Stir together strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain berry juice in a sieve over a small saucepan, reserving berries. Add Port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, this takes a good 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together mascarpone, powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until thoroughly mixed.
When the shell and glaze are cooled, assemble the tart by spreading the mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries. Drizzle Port glaze over tart. And enjoy!
We sat out on the deck of my friend’s house and enjoyed our dinner. The weather was perfect and the sun was slowly setting. While my friend BBQ’d, I spotted an orange tree full of ripe oranges and asked if I could pick. They laughed and told me to have at it. Apparently the only thing they use the oranges for is making manhattans!
**This recipe and a shorter version of this story originally appeared in my column Postcards from the Kitchen in the Cedar Street Times on 28 September 2018