Pastry hates a hot kitchen. I decided not to make a pie crust base for this strawberry tart, but to make one from cookie crumbs, like the base of a cheesecake. Except that I wanted it to be more crumbly than the average cheesecake bottom, which can vary from the rock hard to the downright impenetrable. This was to be a crust that collapses at the merest pressure from your fork, then sticks to the cream filling in fat, pebbly crumbs. Graham crackers will work, but something softer and with a more open texture tend to yield the consistency I hanker after, especially if you put in less butter than usual. Posh cookies, the sort that come in boxes rather than bags, are probably the best. It’s hard to think of a more easily made tart than this.–Nigel Slater
LC Delicate Diversity Note
A crumbly cookie crust. A gently sweetened mascarpone filling. And a crown of bling in the form of sliced strawberries from late spring. Although you can still savor this beyond the end of June, whenever the moment and the mood demands, by drawing on another delicate delicacy, whether raspberries, blueberries, quartered fresh figs, sweetened and poached rhubarb, even homemade preserves of virtually any sort.
Special Equipment: a 14-by-5-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom
Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 2 H, 20 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- For the crumb base
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 9 ounces cookies, such as almond, orange or sweet oat
- For the filling
- 1 large egg
- Generous tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups mascarpone
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1/3 pound strawberries
- Make the crumb base
- 1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat.
- 2. Crush the cookies to a coarse powder. A food processor will do this in seconds or you can put the cookies in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin. (Do this gently or the bag will split.) Add the crumbs to the butter and thoroughly mix.
- 3. Spoon the crumbs into the tart pan and smooth them into the corners and up the sides. Press firmly, but not so hard that they become compacted. The cookie base is better when short and crumbly.
- 4. Refrigerate until the base has set, at least a couple of hours.
- Make the filling
- 5. Separate the egg, put the yolk in a bowl with the sugar and beat for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed.
- 6. Beat in the mascarpone till you have a custard-colored cream.
- 7. Stir in a little vanilla extract. A couple of drops should be enough.
- 8. With a clean whisk, beat the egg white till it stands stiff, then fold it into the creamed mascarpone.
- Assemble the tart
- 9. Spoon the mascarpone into the cookie crust, spreading it smoothly right out to the edges.
- 10. Hull the strawberries, slice them thinly, then arrange them on top of the mascarpone. Serve immediately or cover loosely and refrigerate. Remove the tart from the refrigerator a good 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
- This recipe contains raw egg. Be mindful if cooking for anyone for whom this is a potential no-no.