How lucky for a mother that strawberries are in season right around the time that her loved ones might be planning something special, knowing she needs a lovely, decadently sweet treat to be served up on a flower-laden tray and delivered to her on tiptoe while she relaxes in bed.
Well okay, sometimes a mother has to take the initiative and make the sweet thing herself and then go ahead and ask for it to be delivered on a flower-laden tray.
It could be simpler to settle for a few enormous, long-stemmed strawberries that are so fun to dip into melted chocolate but in the case of this tart, it’s worth taking control of your dessert destiny.
It’s little bit of your favorite vanilla-scented cheesecake baked into a crumbly, shortbread-like cookie crust, piled with fresh, lightly sweetened strawberries.
Strawberry Mascarpone Crostata
Makes 8 servings
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
Sugar to taste
To make the crust, pulse the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor 3 or 4 times to blend; scatter the butter over the flour and process until the mixture looks sandy and you can’t see any butter chunks.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yolk and milk; add to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the dough just begins to come together (but not until the mixture forms a ball over the blade, which will toughen the dough). If it seems dry, add some ice water drop by drop. Remove the dough from the workbowl and knead it gently to form a ball. Flatten it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator about 1 hour until firm but not hard. If the dough gets too cold and seems hard, leave it out for 15 minutes until it’s workable.
Lightly dust the dough with flour and put it on a lightly floured surface (a smooth countertop is ideal). Cover with a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment and roll the dough out to a 12-inch diameter circle. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap, roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over a 9-inch square tart pan with a removal bottom or pie plate. Press the dough into the pan and up the sides, trimming the top edges of the dough flush with the pan by running the rolling pin over the top. Put the pan into the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Beat the Mascarpone, yogurt, eggs, vanilla bean, sugar, flour and salt in an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk until smooth. Scrape into the tart pan, place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling no longer jiggles in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack then place in the refrigerator to chill, 2 to 4 hours.
Just before serving, toss the strawberries with sugar to taste and either arrange over the top of the tart or pile them up for a more rustic presentation.
mascarpone, mother's day, strawberry dessert
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