Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Strawberries are in season now in California (even in my little garden) and the markets are filled with them. One of my favorite desserts on this site is a mascarpone mousse with strawberries in a balsamic syrup. The combination of balsamic vinegar and sweetened strawberries is one of those heaven-made matches that you simply must try if you haven’t already. (Sprinkle a little good quality, aged balsamic over some sugar macerated strawberries and you’ll see what I mean.) Combine that with a sweetened mascarpone base, and it’s just, well, really really good. Like eat the whole batch and forget about dinner good.

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

This week I experimented with putting these ingredients to work in a strawberry tart, happily for the family (dad had a box of strawberry jello out on the kitchen counter to prepare and when I told him I was making a strawberry tart, he said, “well, if you must,” smiled, and put the box away.) I made a tart crust using my standard pâte brisée recipe in a tart pan and also experimented with some frozen puff pastry.

Both work fine, I loved the taste and flakey texture of the puff pastry though I had a bit of trouble rolling it out to a size large enough to hold a comparable amount of filling and strawberries as the tart pan. My advice is to just use a crust you are most comfortable with. You’ll need to bake the crust first, as this tart is a no-bake tart. I experimented with mascarpone and ricotta combinations, my preference is straight mascarpone for the tart, but experiment and see what you like.

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

You can bake the tart shell a day ahead of time, keep at room temperature (do not chill). Fill the shell with filling and strawberries just before serving.



Tart Shell


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, whisked

Filling and Glaze

  • 2 lbs strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese (can also use 8 ounces mascarpone mixed in with 4 ounces of ricotta or 4 ounces of whipped cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (substitute a teaspoon of lemon juice if you don't have balsamic)


1a Using Pie Dough Roll out the pie dough and line a 10-inch tart pan with the dough. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with the tines of a fork. Freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the tart shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill at least two-thirds with pie weights - dried beans, rice, or ceramic or metal pie weights. Bake initially for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, let cool enough to handle, and remove the aluminum foil or parchment paper and pie weights. Return to oven and cook until lightly browned at the edges, about 20 more minutes. Let cool completely.

1b Using Puff Pastry Roll out puff pastry sheet to 15x5 inches or 12x12 inches. Place on a baking sheet. Fold the edges over to form a border. Prick bottom of pasty with tines of a fork. Chill for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a pastry brush to brush on egg wash over exposed surfaces. Place in hot oven and cook until nicely browned all over, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven to a rack, let cool completely.

2 Gently combine strawberries, half of the orange zest, and the granulated sugar in large bowl so that the strawberries are coated with sugar. Let sit to macerate for 30 minutes.

3 Mix together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, the remaining orange zest, lemon juice and the vanilla in a medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.

4 After the strawberries have macerated for 30 minutes, place a sieve over a bowl and drain the liquid out of the strawberry mixture into the bowl. Take that strawberry liquid and put it in a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the saucepan, and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced to the consistency of syrup, remove from heat and let cool.

strawberry-mascarpone-tart-3.jpg strawberry-mascarpone-tart-4.jpg

5 Assemble the tart. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberries on top of the mascarpone mixture. Use a pastry brush to brush on the balsamic glaze.

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Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

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  1. jonathan

    Wow. What a beautiful photo.
    The glistening, lush, red-ripe strawberries…floating on the lightly-sweetened mascarpone clouds…nestled “just so” in the buttery-rich golden pastry…juxtaposed against the colorful first blossoms of Spring…
    You should have your own food blog.

    Hah! Jonathan I would say that YOU should have your own food blog, but I’m selfish and don’t want to encourage anything that would keep you away from stopping by here and cracking me up. :-) ~Elise

  2. María

    Oh your tart is so beautiful!!

    Have you tried the pâte brisée recipe recently posted on David Lebovitz’ blog? I wonder how that would taste with your tart. YUM!

    I have not tried that recipe (boil water and butter first, then add flour) but I’m sure if David likes it, it’s a good one. ~Elise

  3. June

    Beautiful! Try a little fresh ground black pepper on the strawbs with balsamic – yum. Funny, I just made one too, but used half mascarpone, half cream cheese. Wish I’d thought of the balsamic though. Oh well, just have to make another one! Darn.

  4. caroline

    There was a very similar tart on the cover of Gourmet magazine a couple months ago– the only difference I can see is that they drizzled the balsamic reduction over the berries instead of using it as a glaze. I am dying to try it but still waiting for decent strawberries to make an appearance here on the east coast.

    I did find that recipe, Gourmet uses a port reduction, and has a slightly different crust. Here’s the recipe. ~Elise

  5. Bria

    Have you ever tried balsamic from
    ? There’s balsamic vinegar and there’s balsamic vinegar, and they definitely sell the latter. The best I’ve ever had with strawberries was a 10-year aged variety they carry – the extra aging added so much sweetness and depth that really brought out the best in the berries. (I don’t have any affiliation with Zingerman’s – just a former Ann Arbor resident.)

    I think a giant flat of strawberries for jam and tarts are in my immediate future!

  6. Summer

    Would you recommend assembling the tart the evening prior to an event? It might be absolutely fine, but I was thinking that the crust may become soggy if I do. Also, if you don’t recommend to assemble the tart the night before, do you think that it would be alright to prepare the separate components and whip it up in the morning?
    Thanks for your help with this tidbit.

    I definitely do not recommend assembling this tart ahead of time. You can bake the tart shell (do not refrigerate), and mix the mascarpone ingredients together and chill. But if you let the strawberries sit too long in sugar, they will become soggy. Assemble right before serving. ~Elise

  7. Amy

    I just tried a smaller batch of the glaze from this recipe and cooked it a minute too long…oops the syrup crystallized the moment it touched the cool strawberries! Still delicious though, more like a strawberry balsamic lollipop. :)

    Yes, that can happen if you let it bubble for too long. Helps to cool the syrup first, that way you know what you are dealing with. ~Elise

  8. Purvis

    Being lazy, I bought a 9″ frozen pie crust and here is the result:

    So easy and pretty! However… Since my tart is smaller, the mascarpone filling was a little too thick, and I have a bunch of strawberries left over. I would probably reduce the filling by 1/3 and use 1 lb of strawberries with this crust.

    I also had (and have, in general) trouble with using balsamic vinegar in recipes, including this one. It just tastes so…. vinegary to me. I put a little of it in the glaze (not the whole amount) and it was too much for me. Is it an acquired taste? Am I using bad balsamic vinegar?

    What a pretty photo! Regarding the balsamic, could be, there is a wide variety of quality levels when it comes to balsamic. Most balsamic vinegars available at the local grocery store aren’t even real balsamic, they’re just sweetened vinegar. Real balsamic has been aged for years and is usually quite pricey. If price is a guideline, I typically spend between $30 to $40 for a bottle of balsamic, and that’s not even considered the good stuff. You would know the difference in a taste test. The real stuff is hardly at all acidic, mostly just deeply flavorful and a little sweet. For this recipe, you can also just skip the balsamic and add a little lemon juice (or orange juice for that matter) to the glaze. ~Elise

  9. Yasmin

    I made this yesterday with some strawberries that I’d picked up at the farmer’s market and it was FABULOUS. Thanks, Elise!

  10. Purvis

    I passive-aggressively suggested to my sister that she should make this for Mother’s Day since she lives at home and I live thousands of miles away. Here is the result:

    Score! Great photo. Hope she liked it! ~Elise

  11. Grace

    As usual another perfect recipe :) Instead of ricotta cheese I added one cup of thick custard to the mascarpone.
    (I Love Elise and family : They sound like us.)

  12. Judith

    I made this for Mother’s Day and it was delicious. However, when I added the confectioners’ sugar to the mascarpone the whole mixture sort of curdled. I’ve used mascarpone a lot in the past, but never with conf. sugar, and I’ve never had that happen, so I’m wondering if I can subst. fine granulated sugar and prevent the curdling – ? Any suggestions? The taste wasn’t affected overall, but the tart ended up being a little sloppier than I would have liked.

    On the other hand the crust was great, and I will continue to use it as is.

    Curdling? That’s very weird. Shouldn’t happen. If it is lumpy it just needs to be beaten more to get the lumps out. ~Elise

  13. Suzanne

    Hey Elise, this looks amazing, but being in China, I have quite a difficulty finding the mascarpone cheese, can I use ricotta for the entire thing? Or would that not turn out okay…also, strawberries are not in season, do you suggest another type of fruit?

    I do not suggest ricotta for the whole thing. As for other fruit, sure, a tart like this could be easily made with other berries. ~Elise

  14. MakiB

    Beautiful dessert. I agree, balsamic vinegar makes fruits AND vegetables taste fantastic.

  15. Anna

    Despite being bleary-eyed and sort of sick of msacarpone with strawberries at this point (I stayed up until 2 am last night making 3″ cocoa-coconut flour [GF] pancake sandwiches with strawberry mascarpone filling for my son’s 4th grade class), this looks great and would be a good use for all the strawberries that come weekly in our CSA box these days (yes, I’m in So Cal so the strawberry season is l-o-n-g).

    I’ll try a nut crust because my family is gluten-free, grain-free, & low carb; probably I’ll reduce the sugar, too. And it will likely be eaten for breakfast just as easily as for dessert….

  16. kissmyspatula

    Though I cheated on the crust, I think the chocolate adds a little something extra special combined with the mascarpone and strawberries. Plus, it saved me bundles of time!

    See photo here:

    Very pretty! ~Elise

  17. Amanda

    Umm, I think we are supposed to be Best Friends Forever– maybe e-Bff’s. That way you can make things like this and send it to me for my birthday, you know, only if you wanted to…

    On a more serious note, I give full credit to your recipes and cooking tips for taking me from the newly wed “if you add water to condensed soup it makes real soup” kinda cook to a “Oh my goodness you HAVE to give me this recipe” kinda cook… in just a few years!

    Thanks so much!

  18. Karen

    This dessert is an absolute show stopper! Thank you! I am not a dessert cook – mostly, I ask the guests to bring dessert when we’re having a dinner. This may change things.

    I used a gingersnap cookie crust which was too stiff/hard when slicing. I will definitely do the puff pastry thing next time. I did not add sugar to the mascarpone and it was lovely without it.

    One question, is it meant to be 2 pounds of strawberries then hulled and quartered? Or 2 pounds of hulled and quartered strawberries? I did the latter and it seemed like a lot of strawberries. No complaints, though!

    Again, many thanks!

    That would be 2 pounds of strawberries that you then hull and quarter. ~Elise

  19. Cherie

    This recipe turned out to be wonderful! I was disappointed I must say the next day when I noticed on the left over tart the balsamic syrup had discolored the marscapone. I used a very dark thick balsamic vinegar. I wondered if there was a way to avoid the darkening affect or did I do something wrong? It still tasted delicious.

    I don’t think this tart is something that holds up well for the next day. ~Elise

  20. daveg

    i tried this recipe, and while overall it was quite good, two things went wrong:
    1) the tart crust (which you referenced here) shrank and became very tough
    2) the balsamic glaze just didn’t taste quite right

    in the first case, i’m guessing that my attempt to short-cut the re-chilling of the dough caused the butter (yes, real butter) to warm too much, also perhaps my dough was overly dry.

    in the second, i bought some balsamic vinegar (7 yrs) just for the purpose, reduced it a little too much, and the flavor just didn’t blend with the strawberries so well.

    do you need to spend $45+ on some balsamic to get a good one for dessert use?
    or does my palette just not “get it”?


  21. Will

    Making this tonight. If its a tenth as good as the Strawberry Cream Cake its going to knock the cover off the ball once agan. Can’s wait!!

  22. will

    OK, just finished it. Decided to use a mixture of marscapone and whipped cream. Think it will be amazing but wont know until I get it into work tomorrow. Have to say, my strawberries are much smaller than the ones in the photo so it doesn’t look nearly as good but I bet it will be TASTASTIC!

  23. Purvis

    This is a great Valentine’s day recipe. I made a version of this with bananas (dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning), chocolate crust, and strawberries on top:

    Love the idea of bananas! Very pretty. ~Elise

  24. Joanne

    I’m eating this for breakfast right now. SO GOOD! I know, I shouldn’t be eating it for breakfast, but I can’t help it!

  25. Amanda from Virginia

    FABULOUS!!! I’m really glad a poster above asked about this sitting over night because I was going to let it. Now I won’t! I’ll assemble tomorrow afternoon for dinner.
    Also, for your reader from China, here’s a sub I used.
    I live in rural Virginia and none of the stores in my area carry mascarpone on a regular basis. I’ve used this recipe a couple of times with great results.

  26. Weiwen

    Just baked this. It’s great!!!!! I cut the sugar down somewhat, though.

  27. Sabrina Baxter

    just tried this filling and a pastry dough. it is awesome. i didn’t have any ricotta so i used sour cream with the mascarpone and it was very rich like cheese cake. but light at the same time like a fruit dip. which in my opinion is a good thing.
    i am so glad i came across your recipe it is very hard to find good recipes that have to do with mascarpone and berries in a tart type dish that doesn’t necessarily need ricotta. or that only used ricotta which i can’t seem to keep around very long. we had extra filling and pastry but no more berries so i am going to go back to the store and get me some and make another one for my friend.

  28. Joanie Loveless

    Vegan Strawberry Tart
    Being vegan for a few years has given an understanding of the real value of excellent ingredients. Balsamic vinegar is always my choice also. Salads, vinagrette dressings. Thanks for recipe, I adapted it to use tofu in the place of your cheese. The firmness is dependent on your taste..The syrup needs to cool first or will not work …experience is the best teacher!!

  29. jim grannon

    In place of the balsamic I use a lightly sweetened rum Sauce and let it sink in for afew hours before serving and use small puff or pie crust tart shells for it.
    This comes from my childhood roots in the Newark NJ area and an Italian bakery called Ditti Ferrara’s.
    I’ve lived in florida for 15 years now and I haveta tell ya that although the climate is wonderful, you can’t get decent pizza, Italian bread, Italian cooking or pastry unless you make it yourself.
    I don’t miss shoveling snow but I sure miss the food. Our extended family had Italian, polish, a lithuanian or two and mostly Irish folk (whose food Isn’t worth mentioning).
    I had a Sicilian uncle–by marriage– who was the best Italian cook ever. He taught me how to make tomato sauce, meatballs , sausage and bracciola as well as veal dishes.
    So I rarely dine out Italian down here in Tampa Bay because mine is better–and cheaper. And I’m pretty sure my Uncle Fred would back me up on this if he were alive. He was a carpenter and although I couldn’t saw a piece of wood or hammer a nail to his satisfaction, he raved about my saltimboca and spinach. then of course, he whacked me in the head and told me I should follow his instructions instead of inventing. He was one of my heroes.

    Jim Grannon (an Irish Jersey boy)

    • Elise

      Sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing your story Jim. If we could all have a Sicilian uncle to teach us the proper way to cook Italian food. :-)

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