My (previously) all time favorite pie is very similar to this one. The original recipe is from a 1974 edition of Better Homes and Gardens (New Recipes). Made with a regular pie crust, I’ve changed it over time and added a layer of mascarpone cheese mixed with a bit of cream to put on top of the crust to keep it from getting soggy from the fresh berries. Beyond that I pretty much make it the same every year and believe me, we have it EVERY year when fresh berries start coming into the local farmer’s markets. I bought some berries recently and in a fit of wanting to mix it up a bit decided to veer off course a bit with this Strawberry Tart with Chocolate Ganache and Mascarpone Cream. While the crust, chocolate and whipping cream layer were a hit, one thing is always a constant. The fresh berries remain the star of the show.
Every year I’m also reminded of an email I received years ago from another blogger. A huge, big, yes you would know her name blogger. She saw the recipe that is the inspiration for this pie on my website and told me to remove it; that it was her recipe. I know enough to know that she had to have been a real protege to be cooking and blogging at the age of ten so of course I said no, it wasn’t going to happen. In truth that recipe had been one of the first I had put on this blog; back in the day when my sole purpose was to create an online repository of recipes I loved; never in a million years expecting it to become what it is today; still recipes I love but read by far more than me and my dog. I had not attributed my inspiration for that pie to BH&G and I did correct that omission; THEY deserved that credit.
Even though this is a far cry from that simpler pie, in my book they still get all the credit; the start for this best of summer desserts is the basics. Crust, Strawberries, Glaze. It can not be beat.
Strawberry Tart with Chocolate Ganache and Mascarpone Cream
For the Crust
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar)
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
For the Chocolate Ganache Layer
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate (I used Trader Joe's)
For the Mascarpone and Whipped Cream Layer
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
For the Strawberry Layer
- 3 cups fresh strawberries
For the Glaze
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup coarsely grated dark chocolate
To Make the Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.
- Lightly butter a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with a removable bottom.
- In a food processor place the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps.
- Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan; using your fingertips (or the back of a spoon if necessary), press the pastry into the bottom of the pan. Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork to keep the crust from puffing up while it bakes. Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
- Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust until golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache Layer:
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave or over very low heat until softened and smooth; about 1 minute on medium heat. Spread over cooled crust. Put in fridge to keep cool.
To Make the Whipped Cream and Mascarpone Cheese layer:
- Place the whipping cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until cream begins to thicken. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone cheese.
For the Glaze:
- Crush 1 cup strawberries and cook with 1 cup water for 2 minutes. Sieve berries and return juice to pan. Add sugar, cornstarch and balsamic vinegar; cook and stir til thickened and bubbly. Cool slightly.
To Finish the Tart:
- Remove the cookie and chocolate base from the springform pan and put it on a cake plate. (I put a glob of smooth peanut butter on the cake plate before placing the springform base on the plate. The peanut butter will keep the springform base from slipping around!).
- Spread the whipping cream and mascarpone cheese mixture evenly over the chocolate ganache.
- Assemble fresh berries in one to two layers on top of the whipped layer. Pour the glaze over the berries; making sure that each one is covered all over.
- Top with chocolate curls
- Chill for at least one hour before serving.