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Strawberry Mascarpone Tartlets

May 29, 2009

Strawberry Tartlets

So my green obsession is slowly moving to red as we get closer to the hot days of summer! My new thing is strawberries and I have two favorite deserts that incorporate this luscious fruit into a mascarpone delight.

Mascarpone is a very rich cows milk with very high level cream levels (around 70% milk fat) and is off white, thick and sticky. You might recognize it as a prominent ingredient in Tiramisu.

The first desert is the strawberry tartlets pictured above.  The second is a Martha Stewart strawberry mascarpone cheesecake that is to die for, but when I made it yesterday I had my first baking failure <sob!>.  I was in a hurry and overzealously added too much strawberry mixture to the first cheesecake layer, and as a result it was too wet and the cheesecake didn’t fully set.  I have made it before and will try it again because its delicious!  I will try not to be too demoralized by this atypical failure.

The strawberry tartlets were a take on this tart in last month’s Gourmet. I of course swapped in vodka into the pastry and decided to make little tartlets. I was also up in tahoe, so had to make some substitutes for lack of ingredients.

STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE TARTLETS

Ingredients:

For crust:
1 cups 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vodka

For filling:
1 1/2 pound strawberries trimmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup port
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Make tart shell:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.  Slowly pulse in the yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and vodka just until mixture comes together and a dough forms.  Press into a 5-inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap and place dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll dough out on a floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick circle, cut away dough one section at a time, and press into 16 individual mini tart molds.
  4. Press the dough into the pans so it fits into all the edges. Trim the excess dough from the edges of the pans. Prick the bottoms of the tartlets all over with a fork
  5. Refrigerate the tartlets on a baking sheet 20 minutes.
  6. Place baking sheet of tartlets in the oven and bake for 15-16 minutes, or until the tartlets’ edges are just slightly golden.  Remove and place on wire rack to cool.

Make filling while tart shell cools:

  1. Stir together strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Strain in a sieve set over a small saucepan, reserving berries. Add Port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly.  Once cooled, combine liquid with chopped strawberries and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff.

Assemble tart:

Fill tartlets with mascarpone mixture, then top with strawberries mixture.

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