Strawberries and Mascarpone...a great marriage
I'm continuing with my romantic desserts again. But even if you don't feel the "love" you can still cook them and enjoy them anyway. I hope you enjoyed the panacotta I dished up yesterday. Today's sexy dessert marries two of those ingredients that again were destined to be together. Strawberries and mascarpone. I mean who doesn't love strawberries? They taste fantastic and you can do lots of things with them as most people know. And how about mascarpone? Its often described as a cheese but its more of a thick cream. Actually I think its a soft cream cheese! Whatever it is, it has the most softest and silkiest texture. It can work both as a savoury and sweet ingredient. Fantastic! We love a versatile ingredient.
I saw this recipe on the local food channel during a commercial break from "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares". (How funny. A food network with recipes as ad breaks.). I immediately loved the whole concept. And of course I cheated and bought ready made puff pastry. Unlike Ben who makes his own puff pastry and Peter who rolls his own phyllo, I prefer to have someone else do it for me. I have a huge phobia about certain pastries and them not turning out. Maybe we'll tackle that in another post. Anyway, back to our tart. Its really easy and it can easily serve up to 6 people. As we approach the end of summer, the strawberries are still ripe enough to enjoy so its a perfect recipe to use them up.
STRAWBERRY AND MASCARPONE TART
250 grams of mascarpone cheese
250 grams of lightly whipped cream
2 punnets of fresh strawberries hulled
grated zest of one lemon
a good dash of vanilla extract
100 grams of caster sugar
1-2 sheets of puff pastry
milk for brushing
icing sugar to dust
N.B. Depending on the shape you make yours in its important to make a "casing" to put the mascarpone and strawberries in. For e.g. I made an oblong tart so I scored the inner edges with a knife and with the second sheet I cut out strips and created a border that I placed on the scored edges. That way the pastry puffs up and creates this wonderful container for us. I used the milk as glue and to brush the rest of the pastry with. Don't forget to prick the base of the pastry so it doesn't explode!
- Preheat your oven to 180 deg C
- Make the tart shell as explained above. Once it has achieved a goldenish colour take it out of the oven and let it cool. Mine took about 20 mins.
- While the tart shell is cooling whip you cream with the sugar, zest and vanilla extract. Once its whipped add the mascarpone and fold through until you have a silky, thick rich mixture.
- Fill the tart shell with the cream mixture.
- Add your strawberries on top.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve it up.
Serve with extra strawberries and mascarpone on the side if you wish.