Sunday, June 20, 2010
Aren't these cute? I think so. I realize that we are about in the middle of strawberry season, so it's about time I post some strawberry recipes. I have a few strawberry recipes, but since they are in season, I think now is the perfect time to enjoy them as close to natural as possible.
What does this mean? To me, this means not cooked. I love strawberries - except when they are cooked. I'm not a huge fan of strawberry jam, or cooked strawberry pie, but when they are raw, I just love them by themselves or in a fancy dessert.
I have wanted to make strawberry tarts for quite some time. I have been thinking what would be the best flavors to pair with strawberries - ones that would compliment fresh, ripe strawberries.
Since I am a fan of Wimbeldon, I thought I would do a take on strawberries and clotted cream - of course, with a twist. I have been experimenting a lot with mascarpone cheese lately, so one of my ideas was a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart. The results are the first one on the left. It turned out just fantastic. The vanilla mascarpone filling was a perfect accompaniment to the strawberries and the lightly sweet tart shell.
I also wanted to experiment with lemons and strawberries. Yes, I realize that lemons aren't very much in season - at least on the west coast, but I had an idea that I wanted to test. I made a batch of lemon curd like I had to fill Ryan's cupcakes, and used that as one base for the tart on the far right. This one was good, but the lemon was super tart, and it wasn't my favorite one - that is coming.
The one in the middle is really the best of both worlds. I combined the lemon curd and the mascarpone filling for a lemon mascarpone cream. It perfectly complimented the strawberries, and was my favorite by far. It tastes light on your tongue, and lets you taste the slight sweetness of the tart shell. Although all three tarts were very tasty, this one was definitely my favorite.
I found the tart shell recipe on JoyofBaking.com, and slightly modified it. The mascarpone cream I created as I was going, and the I have made the lemon curd so many times, I think I could make it in my sleep! I hope you enjoy some or all of these little recipes and put them together at your whim.
The tart dough was pretty easy to work with, and is more forgiving than a pie crust. However, I wouldn't work with the dough too much, or it will get tough.
Lightly sweet tart shells
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, room temperature
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add salt and egg. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Pat into a disk on a floured board and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Once your dough has been well chilled, turn onto a lightly floured board and roll to 1/4" thick. If you are using mini tart shells, this should make 6, so you can divide the dough into 6 pieces and work each piece individually. Gently place in the tart shells, and pat into the sides, being careful to not stretch the dough. Bake individual tarts 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Larger tarts will require an additional 5-15 minutes to cook.
2 cups mascarpone cream
1/3 c. whipped cream
2 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and whip until slightly fluffy, 1-3 minutes. Adjust powdered sugar to taste.
Lemon Mascarpone Cream
1 cup mascarpone cream
3/4 c. lemon curd
Stir cream and curd together until well combined.
Cut strawberries in 1/2 or 3-4 pieces, depending on the size. Place desired filling into tart crust, leaving 1/4" from the top for the strawberries. Place the strawberries in a decorative position around the tarts. Serve immediately, or store in refrigerator.