Every year the mother of my best friend from high school invites me to her 4th of July party. Mrs. Mull knows I like to cook so she encourages me, “Of course you’ll bring something wonderful to the party, Elise; I would be so disappointed if you didn’t!” At 79, Dorothy knows exactly what to say to inspire me to do my best. This year, the goal was a berry tart – blueberries and red berries on a white filling – so patriotic! My father and I experimented with several tarts in preparation for today, and this one was definitely the best. It’s based on a recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook, but with a different crust.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ground almonds or almond flour (can substitute regular flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
- 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cup raspberries
- 1 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1 1/3 cup strawberries - stems removed and quartered
- 2 Tbsp orange marmalade
- 2 Tbsp berry liqueur such as creme de cassis
- Equipment needed: Food processor, a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
Pre-bake the Crust
1 In a food processor, combine flour, ground almonds, salt and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add almond extract to 4 Tbsp of ice water, then add the almond water to the flour and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough begins to clump together. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a disc, 5-inches wide. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
The dough pictured is ready to take out of the food processor.
2 Remove the dough disc from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press dough into pan; have the dough come up 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the tart pan. Put tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3 Preheat oven to 375°F. Take tart pan out of freezer and poke the bottom in several places with a fork. Line with aluminum foil, with enough extra foil off the two of the sides to use for lifting. Fill with pie weights - beans, ceramic or stainless pie weights. Place a shallow baking pan on the bottom rung of the oven to catch drippings. Put the tart pan in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the pie weights. (I lift the hot beans out by holding on to the aluminum foil and place the foil and beans into a large bowl to cool before storing.) Return the tart pan to the oven for 10-15 more minutes - bake until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Assemble the tart
4 In a medium bowl, using a hand electric mixer or stand mixer, beat together the mascarpone, cream, and sugar at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Scoop mixture into tart crust, and spread so that it is level.
5 Combine marmalade and liqueur into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until well mixed. If you are using a liqueur that is not sweet, you might want to add a teaspoon of sugar. Cook down to 3 Tbsp. Put berries into a bowl and pour the marmalade mixture over the berries. Use a large rubber spatula to gently mix the berries so they are all well coated with the marmalade mixture. Use a slotted spoon to lift up the berries from their bowl and place on the mascarpone cream.
Remove the rim of the tart pan before serving. (You may need to use a knife to gently separate the edges of the tart from the pan.)
Note: The marmalade and liqueur mixture brings added sweetness, berry flavor, and citrus acidity to the tart. The acid from the citrus sharpens the flavor of the berries. If you don't have marmalade on hand, and don't want to buy some just for this recipe, you might try making a berry coating with sugar, water, and a little lemon juice and lemon zest.