Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Tart with fresh strawberries, macerated in sugar, over a creamy mascarpone base and brushed with a balsamic glaze.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

Tart Shell

OR

  • 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)

Method

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.

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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

Showing 4 of 25 Comments

  • 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.

    Cheers,
    Jim Grannon (an Irish Jersey boy)

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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”?

    thanks!

  • 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!

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