Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Very Berry Tart

"It's spring! It's spring!" Babar, the king of the elephants says one sunny day he opens his window and sees that the leaves and flowers seem to have opened overnight. Don't ask me why that line stands out to me, (maybe because I read it hundreds of times to my kids), but that's what I think of when I see this tart. It's as pretty as a fine spring day, and tastes equally delicious too, with its luscious lemony filling.

The crust is really special too - it's the same one I used for the ricotta tart I made for Easter from Domenica Marchetti. But I blind-baked it first this time, then added the filling. After you've placed the dough into the tart pan, use a fork to prick it all around.

Spray one side of aluminum foil with Pam, or butter it lightly, then press it down over the dough and add some beans or rice to keep the dough from puffing up during the baking.

Remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before adding the filling. (Hint - if you want to take the easy way out - go buy a pie crust all ready for the oven. I won't tell. But Domenica's crust recipe is so much better than anything store bought.) The filling is a snap to make, since all you do is open a jar of lemon curd and mix some of it with mascarpone cheese.

Now comes the fun part - arranging the berries in a pretty design. 

Spread some clear or light colored jelly over the berries and chill before serving.

And don't forget to open the windows to enjoy the spring flowers that seem to have opened overnight.

Very Berry Tart

tart crust:

Domenica Marchetti's recipe:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

  • Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 large whole egg

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • Note: This makes a lot of dough - enough for two tarts. Or make one large one and several small ones, or one large tart and use the rest to make delicious cookies that taste like shortbread.

Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the whole egg and egg yolks and process until the mixture just begins to clump together in the work bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead it together. Without overworking it, shape the dough into a disk, patting rather than kneading it. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until well chilled.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. You'll need only one of these halves for this tart. Use the rest for another tart, freeze it, or make small tarts or cookies.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to fit a tart pan with a removable bottom (mine was 9 inches in diameter, but you can use a smaller one) Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the rolling pin or the flat of your hand to press around the perimeter of the pan to cut off any excess dough. Prick the bottom all around with a fork. Put the lined tart pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. I "blind-bake" the crust by buttering some aluminum foil and pressing that lightly over the raw dough. Then add some beans or rice to weigh it down. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let it cool completely before adding the filling.


8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup lemon curd

berries for top

light colored jelly or jam for glaze

Blend the mascarpone and lemon curd together with a whisk. Spread it over the baked tart crust.

Top with berries (I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries), arranged in a pretty design. Spread a light colored jelly or jam over the top. I used homemade quince jelly, but apricot or apple or orange would be fine too. Warm it in the microwave first to loosen the jelly a bit so you'll be able to spread it better.

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