19
Jul
10

Berry Tart with Mascarpone Cream

I’m almost positive that berry tarts are the most delicious things on earth. I still remember the one I ate on a trip to Las Vegas a few years ago, at a French bakery inside Paris Paris — the flaky, buttery crust, the bursting berries. And I still remember the first berry tart I ever made. It rivaled the one in Vegas. Honestly, I can’t resist these. Especially when they’re just an hour or two old, with berries so vibrant and bursting with summer.

We were invited to a dinner party over the weekend — the potluck kind. I volunteered to make dessert. I’ve been jonsing for a classic berry tart, with a mound of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries — all summer.

It’s ridiculous how easy these are to make. The sweet pastry dough comes together easily. The mascarpone cream combo takes hardly any effort. The tart is best eaten within a couple of hours, so time it appropriately. However, the crust and the mascarpone cream mixture can be made in advance.

It’s a bit difficult to transport, I will say. On our way to the dinner party, Jeff was driving. I was holding the tart on a plate. The berries started to give off their juices. It would have been a fashion disaster had I not had a tote bag to protect my white capris. Anyway, this tart turned out delicious. It always does.

Berry Tart with Mascarpone Cream
The Gourmet Cookbook

Sweet pastry dough (recipe follows)
1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups small strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
2 tablespoons sweet orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 375°F.

On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out dough into an 11-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick) and fit into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim. Roll rolling pin over top of shell to trim dough flush with rim and with a fork prick bottom of shell all over. Chill shell 30 minutes, or until firm.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or raw rice. Bake shell in middle of oven 20 minutes and carefully remove foil and weights or rice. Bake shell until golden, about 10 minutes more, and cool completely in pan on a rack. Shell may be made 1 day ahead and kept in pan, loosely covered, at room temperature.

In a bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer beat together mascarpone, cream, and sugar until mixture holds stiff peaks. Spoon mixture into shell, spreading evenly.

Quarter strawberries and in a large bowl combine with remaining berries. In a small saucepan simmer marmalade and liqueur, stirring, until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and pour over berries. With a rubber spatula gently stir berries to coat evenly. Mound berries decoratively on mascarpone cream. Tart may be assembled 2 hours ahead and chilled. Bring tart to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Sweet pastry dough

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water

Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes. In a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with remainder in small (roughly pea-size) lumps. In a small bowl or cup stir together yolk and ice water. Drizzle yolk mixture over flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork until incorporated, and gently form mixture into a ball. Turn mixture out onto a floured work surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of hand smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it, rotating on work surface, into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day.
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