Every Saturday I have a routine: wake up to the sun streaming through the open blinds at dawn, drink some coffee, and then run the long route to the farmers market in the park before setting off for my day. My boyfriend likes to joke that I fit in more activities to his Saturday morning than most people complete in a weekend. I am a certified morning person, and thanks to that it always means that I get the pick of the crop at my local farmer’s markets. This week was the last week for strawberries from my favorite vendor so I snatched up a couple of extra quarts than my typical and sauntered home, ice coffee and croissant in hand.
When I bought these strawberries, I already knew I was going to make a tart with them for Mother’s day. During a recipe research session, I went down this long and winding hole that led me to the 1977 Junior League cookbook with a recipe for a raspberry tart of a similar nature. As I started reading the ingredients line by line, my mouth began to water and I knew that a homemade berry tart was in my future, I just didn’t know how I was going to manifest this into an original creation.
I had fully intended on copying the recipe to try it out for myself but then I started thinking that making the custard filling into a curd would be more exciting or creating a strawberry curd and then folding it into the mascarpone filling would be a tantalizing flavor combination, but then I realized this recipe may get too heavy with all the tart curds and heavy mascarpone that I should potentially stick to the original recipe and tweak the flavor profile instead.
When I had landed at the Farmers Market and had been hypnotized into bringing multiple quarts of fresh strawberries home, I knew this recipe was going to get a strawberry facelift with some added citrus zest. Lemon was too obvious so I went for a more bitter citrus to offset the sweet, plump strawberries: orange.
The almond crust and orange mascarpone filling was the perfect base for the freshly sliced strawberries I piled on top. Crumbled pistachios added a nice crunch, and the entire dish was deliciously refreshing and not too heavy. It’s the perfect excuse to buy an extra quart of Strawberries at the farmers market next time you go.
- 2 ⁄3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup almonds ground
- 11/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 stick unsalted butter softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon or more ice water
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese softened
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 4½ tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 quart of Fresh strawberries sliced thin
- ¾ cup salted pistachios shelled and coarsely chopped
In a food processor, grind almonds and confectioners sugar until it's been made into a coarse dust. Slowly add in flower and pulse until incorporated. While food processor is running, add the butter and the egg until incorporated. Slowly add the tablespoon of ice water. You don't want the consistency to be sticky, but a nice thick piece of dough. Remove dough ball from food processor and add flour if necessary.
Form dough into a ball wrap in plastic and place in freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter 4 4-inch tart pans and dust with flour.
Divide dough into four balls.
Roll out each ball on a floured surface to a 5-inch circle.
Fit each circle into a prepared tart pan and trim edges. Prick the pastry shells all over with a fork.
Line each with a 6-inch square of parchment paper and then fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment and pie weights.
Whisk cheese, yogurt, confectioners sugar, orange zest, and vanilla seeds in a bowl until thick and smooth.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture evenly into each cooled tart shell.
Arrange equal portions of strawberries in an attractive low mound on top of each tart, and sprinkle with the pistachios.
Chill at least 15 minutes. Remove from tart pans to serve.