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Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

I have wanted to make this tart since 2004. That is the year that Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, one of my favorite cookbooks, was published. I find the book very inspiring and I return to it regularly. Early on I noticed this tart which sounded and looked SO good, but then, without fail, I would forget to make it every time strawberry season rolled around. Major frustration. But not this year!

Of course it was good. How could a strawberry mascarpone tart be bad? It couldn’t. It wouldn’t. I am now pretty into this idea of a flat-bottomed tart. It is like a pizza-tart—good-looking and simple. I think most berries would work well here, but strawberry is very special.

This seems, at first glance, like a lot of work. It isn’t, really. Things can all be made in stages. It is most certainly not a keeper. If you are serving this to guests, you need to serve it within a few hours of assembling it. But all of the components could be made the day before and then assembled once guests arrive. I had two slices of the finished tart left over, and stored them in the fridge overnight. They were still great the next day (for breakfast!) but I would not have served them to a guest (the crust softens a bit, the tart becomes less vibrant).

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart (adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table [1])

Crust:

Preserves:

Finishing:

To prepare crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the butter in the size of peas. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap the disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To prepare the preserves, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, cooking until the juices thicken to a jam-like consistency, 30 to 45 minutes. The mixture will thicken more when it cools. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Cut it into a neat 9 to 10-inch circle and transfer the round of dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the surface a few times with a fork. Cover the crust with a sheet of parchment, and top with something to weight it down and keep it flat. I used another baking sheet, you could use a tart pan filled with pie weights or whatever else you have on hand. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the top baking sheet, and return to the oven. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until golden. I suggest taking it pretty dark golden. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool completely.

Mix the mascarpone and sugar together in a small bowl. Spread the mascarpone evenly over the cooled crust, going almost all of the way to the edge. Spread a thin layer of the cooled strawberry preserves (I used about 1/2-3/4 cup) over the mascarpone. You won’t use all of the jam.

Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the preserves, working in concentric circles from the outside in.

Pass a generous 1/4-cup of the strawberry preserves through a fine strainer. Combine with 2 teaspoons water in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring, just until smooth. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the strawberries. Serve the tart at room temperature.