I’ve been making a lot of tarts lately, partially because all my pie plates are currently packed away in preparation for our move in a couple weeks — but also because they’re just so fun, elegant, and easy. Tarts are a good vehicle for using up those bits of leftover curd, fruit, jam, etc. in the fridge. This berry mascarpone tart was no exception. I had a little bit of mascarpone left over from all the wedding cake adventures earlier this month, so I added it to some pastry cream and it was soooo good! Creamy but not too heavy and perfect with some fresh berries — basically, an ideal summer dessert.
The tart crust is similar to the one I posted a couple weeks ago, though the proportions are courtesy of Pierre Herme. A little almond flour adds wonderful flavor and slightly crisper texture. I prepared the crust the same way I did the last (mixing in food processor, rolling out right after mixing and freezing the dough in the pan before baking), and it worked like a charm. To add a little texture I mixed up a little almond crumble, because crumbs just make everything better.
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Berry Mascarpone Tart with Almond Crumble
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the Almond Pate Sucree (makes enough for 2 tart shells):
Adapted from Pierre Herme
- 245g AP flour
- 75g icing sugar
- 50g almond flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 143g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
For the Mascarpone Cream:
Adapted from Bake from Scratch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 55g / 1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
- 24g / 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 169g / 3/4 c mascarpone cheese, room temperature
For the Almond Crumble:
Adapted from Ottolenghi
- 50g raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 25g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 38g flour (AP or whole wheat, or a mix of the two)
- 25g brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 454g / 1 lb mixed fresh berries
For the Almond Pate Sucree:
- Place the flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the butter is cut in (you want irregular pieces ranging in size from a pea to a quarter).
- Whisk the egg and vanilla together lightly to combine. Add the egg mixture in stages, pulsing after each addition. Once the egg is added, pulse in 10 second increments until the dough forms clumps (you don’t want it completely smooth). Once the dough reaches this stage, dump it onto a clean countertop or silpat and gently knead until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two equal portions and reserve one for a future tart (well-wrapped, you can refrigerate it for a couple days, or freeze for a month). Place the remaining piece of dough between two Silpats (or pieces of plastic wrap) and roll it out into a roughly 12-inch circle of about a 1/4″ thickness. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch tart tin. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and let it stand for about 5 minutes, just to make it pliable. Turn dough into the tart tin and trim the overhang to about 1/2 an inch. Fold the overhang in to reinforce the edges. If there are any tears or cracks, use some of the extra dough to patch it up. Pierce the dough all over with a fork, then wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a piece of foil and fit it firmly over the chilled tart dough. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil (if the crust has risen at all press it down gently with the back of a spoon). If any cracks have formed, use some of the reserved dough to patch it. Bake crust for another 5-10 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
For the Mascarpone Cream:
- Place the mascarpone in a medium bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over it.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk, and sugar together until smooth. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously to combine (ensure there are no lumps!).
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until just at the boil. Remove from heat; and slowly but steadily pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. When all the milk has been added, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat, still whisking constantly. Once the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, cook the mixture for a minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. You now have pastry cream!
- Scrape the pastry cream into the strainer onto the mascarpone, pushing it through with a spatula or spoon. Let the mixture stand for ~30 seconds, then whisk to combine. Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the cream so a skin doesn’t form. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour before using.
For the Almond Crumble:
- Preheat oven to 300F and line a small baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- Combine the almonds and flour in a small bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and salt.
- Pour the mixture into a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Whisk the mascarpone cream until smooth and spreadable. Using an offset spatula, spread the mascarpone cream evenly in the tart shell. Top with fresh berries and crumble. Serve chilled with additional crumble on the side. Best served within a day of assembling, but leftovers keep pretty well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.