Berry Tart with Mascarpone Filling

I’m late posting this week, but I have a good excuse.  North and I have spent the past week biking, kayaking, and hiking around Southwest Florida on a much-needed vacation.  (Yes, life is so hard sometimes.)  Fortunately, our vacation was an active one as I indulged in far too many sweet temptations, including this berry tart with mascarpone, in the weeks leading up to our trip.  

Finding the perfect pint of strawberries has become less and less difficult recently which means the height of berry season is almost upon us.  I have a weakness for fresh berries and when I decide to splurge on them, I want to make sure to use them in a way that lets them reach their full potential.  Fortunately, this tart does just that. 

Tarts begin with the all-important crust.  As you read over my recipe for pastry dough below, you might experience déjà vu.  You aren’t going crazy.  Illustrating the importance of pastry dough to any good cook’s repertoire, I use the same recipe for sweet and savory dishes.  After all, flaky, buttery crusts tend to work well for both chicken pot pies and apple pies, not to mention everything in between.  While a store-bought pie dough can certainly be substituted, please keep the news of this substitution to yourself.  Requiring just a bit more time to make, one bite of your homemade crust will make you a pie snob for life (and trust me, this is not a bad thing). 

But I’m getting carried away.  Back to the tart, the homemade crust is pre-baked and then spread with a whipped filling made from mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and sugar.  Not too sweet, this filling provides the ideal bed for fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  As a final touch, I brush a light syrup made from equal parts apricot preserve and water over the berries to give them a sheen that makes this homemade tart appear to be right out of a bakery display case. 

Light and refreshing this tart is the perfect end to a summer meal.  In fact my only complaint about this tart is that it disappears far too quickly from the fridge. 

Berry Tart with Mascarpone Filling – Printer Friendly Version
Serves 6-8

Mandarin orange slices, sliced kiwi fruit, and/or sliced bananas can all be substituted for any of the berries in this recipe.

 1 recipe pastry dough (recipe follows)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup apricot jelly
1/3 cup water
1/2 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
6 ounces blackberries, washed
6 ounces raspberries, washed
2 ounces blueberries, washed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to 1/4-inch thickness in the shape of a large circle (about 14-inches in diameter).  Place the rolling pin in the center of the circle and fold one half of the pastry dough over the rolling pin.  Pick up the rolling pin and transport the pastry dough to a 10-inch tart pan.  Trim and adjust the pastry dough as needed so that it fits in the tart pan.

Prick the dough with the tines of a fork and then lay a sheet of parchment paper over it.  Place pie weights or a mixture of dried beans and rice on top of the parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the tart shell from the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and pie weights.  Return the tart shell to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until it is golden brown.  Remove the shell from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the apricot jelly and the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat so that you have a strong simmer and allow the jelly mixture to reduce by about half.  Strain the jelly mixture into a small bowl (discard any fruit bits that are caught in the strainer) and let cool.

In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the mascarpone, heavy cream, and sugar until stiff peaks form. 

To assemble the tart, spread the mascarpone filling over the bottom of the cooled tart shell.  Place the fruit on top of the mascarpone filling as desired. Brush the fruit with the jelly mixture and serve.

Pastry Dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
5 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Using a fork or pastry blender cut the butter into the flour mixture until the fat is in small lumps.   Sprinkle with ice water and use a fork to pull the mixture together.  If the mixture is not holding together, add up to 1 more tablespoon of water.

Turn dough on the counter and, working quickly, mold into a large ball.  Press into a 5” disc then wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes and up to one day.

Use as directed in the recipe.

4 comments

  1. This looks fabulous!

    So, I have a question. I’ve noticed that several of my recipes with strawberries this spring call for hulled strawberries. I was wondering what kind of difference it makes whether or not they are hulled.

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  2. While hulled for other fruits and vegetables means taking the skin off, for strawberries it just means cutting off the green leaves and the little stem at the top of the berry.

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  3. I have looked all over the Internet to find a pear tart recipe that use mascarpone filling instead of frangipani. Finally I found yours, I poached my pear in Darjeeling instead of wine, and was thinking adding a little lemon curd under the mascarpone. Also decorate with pecan lace cookie, do u think it will be a good combination?

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  4. Thanks, Ivy! I hope you enjoy the recipe. Your variation with lemon curd sounds delicious and I love the idea of decorating with a pecan lace cookie. If you didn’t do the pecan lace cookie, a gingersnap cookie would be delicious as well. Gingersnaps with mascarpone are one of my favorite treats and I love gingerbread paired with lemon. Happy cooking!

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