Buttery crust, rich creamy filling, and juicy ripe berries—this is what you want in a berry tart, right?
Look no further. This is the tart. As my father says, "don't change a thing."
It's actually much easier to make than it looks!
First the crust. It needs to be firm enough to hold the tart, but not so firm that it is tough and chewy. (Who wants a chewy crust? Yikes!)
The perfect tart crust is similar to a butter pie crust, but with the addition of powdered sugar, and little vanilla, and an egg.
No need to roll it out. You can just press the crumbly dough mixture directly into the pan. Then you pre-bake the crust until golden brown.
Then comes the filling. We are whipping up mascarpone cheese (a slightly acidic Italian cream cheese) with whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a touch of orange zest for sparkle.
(By the way, if you're in a crust-free mood, this filling is so good, just put it in a bowl, top it with berries, and add a splash of Amaretto.)
Finally, the berries. I admit my decorating chops aren't quite Martha level, but whatever. Arrange the berries on top of the mascarpone filled crust and top with some melted jelly to make them glisten. Gorgeous!
- Tart Crust
- 1 1/2 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (50 g) powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (10 Tbsp or 140 g) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (43 g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 oz (85 g) raspberries
- 8 oz (225 g) blueberries
- 8 oz (225 g) strawberries - stems removed and halved or quartered
- 4 Tbsp (60 ml) apricot jelly or orange marmalade
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- Equipment needed: Food processor, a 10-inch wide, 1-inch high fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
Make the tart dough:
In a food processor, add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Pulse a couple times to combine.
Add the cubed cold butter and pulse several more times until the largest piece of butter is the size of a pea.
Add the egg and vanilla extract. Pulse a few more times until the dough begins to form clumps and pull away from the side of the food processor.
Press dough into tart pan and freeze:
Lightly grease the inside of a tart pan (with removable bottom) with butter.
Dump the clumpy dough into the tart pan and spread out evenly with your fingers along the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You don't have to press too hard, if the dough is still a little crumbly, that's good.
To make the top even you can press the dough up a little higher than the tart pan top, and then use a rolling pin over the top to even the edges.
Put the tart pan in the freezer for 1 hour.
Pre-bake the crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the frozen tart crust with aluminum foil, with enough extra foil off the two of the sides to use for lifting.
Fill with pie weights—dry 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.)
Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Return the tart pan to the oven for 10-15 more minutes. Bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Beat the mascarpone, cream, powdered sugar, zest, vanilla, then spread into tart crust:
Using an electric mixer, beat together the mascarpone, cream, powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla extract on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 40 seconds to a minute.
Scoop mixture into tart crust, and spread it so that it is level.
Arrange berries on top, brush with jelly mixture:
Arrange the berries on top of the mascarpone mixture in the tart crust.
Combine apricot jelly (or marmalade), water, and vinegar into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until bubbly and the jelly has dissolved as well as it can.
Using a pastry brush, brush the jelly mixture over the berries for a glossy sheen.
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.)