Monday, April 14, 2014

Strawberry-Mascarpone Tartlets

One of the best, simple and satisfying end-of-meal sweets is a bowl of fresh berries and cream.
Ripe, deeply colored berries, a sprinkle of vanilla sugar, and a dose of liquid cream over the top.

I suppose this constitutes a version of strawberries and cream (with a bit of delicate and crumbly cookie, a shortbread-like crust... which I think may now be my go-to for tartlets).

It's been a while since I posted something sweet- it's about time.

Sometimes you need something that's not chocolate, something that seems lighter... more so when the days lengthen and the weather warms.
Fruit is always a good call. Of course, it's much better when gorgeously perfect and in season.

The time's not quite right for strawberries yet, but I'm getting prepared.

Individual strawberry tartlets are an elegant type of dessert, or something to nibble in the afternoon while sipping coffee. With tiny tartlets you don't have to worry about them falling apart in the same way as if you made a large tart and then tried to cut it. The look is much cleaner.
AND it covers up any questionable tart-division skills.
Just something to think about...

Maybe a drizzle of chocolate, chocolate on the plate, chocolate shavings on top, or some cocoa powder in the pastry crust (in that case maybe remove a tablespoon of the sorghum flour and a tablespoon of the tapioca flour and add two tablespoons of cocoa powder, but don't quote me on it- I haven't tried it yet myself).
Perhaps a little cardamom, lime or lemon zest with the strawberries (or, of course, in the crust).
A little sprig of mint or chiffonade of basil leaves sprinkled on top for color and flavor pizzazz?

However, all by it's lonesome it's pretty great.

Strawberry-Mascarpone Tartlets
Makes 8, 4 inch tarts

1 1/3 c (150 g) sorghum flour
3/4 c (60 g) almond flour
1/3 c (33 g) tapioca flour
large pinch salt
3 T (50 g) sugar
8 T (114 g) butter
1 large egg
3 T (45 ml) water

8 oz (225 g) mascarpone cheese
3/4 c (180 ml) heavy (whipping) cream, divided
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3 T (51 g) sugar (vanilla, if you've got a jar of vanilla sugar going using the scraped pods)

1 lb. (about 450 g) strawberries
2 T (34 g) sugar
1 T (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
(If you like more of a mountain of strawberries and/or don't mind leftovers, just add half of everything, or even double it. Of course, if the strawberries aren't very ripe they may benefit from extra sugar to taste.)

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sorghum, almond, and tapioca flours along with the salt and sugar. Pulse several times until well blended. Add the butter, cut into 6-8 pieces and pulse again several times until it resembles damp, crumbly sand. Crack the egg into a small bowl and pour it into the food processor, and pulse several times again until combined. Drizzle the water over the dough and process until it comes together into a ball. 

Remove the dough to waxed paper or plastic wrap, wrap well, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 

Divide the dough among 8, 4-inch tart tins. The easiest way to  fill the tins is to use fingers or a small offset spatula to smooth the pastry evenly across the bottom and up the insides of the tins.

Freeze the tart tins at least 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350/180.

Dock the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork and bake the prepared tart tins on a sheet pan about 20-25 minutes, until set and slightly golden (you may need to gently dock the tarts again to deflate if they have puffed a bit too much). 
Let cool a few minutes on a rack, then carefully invert the tins (if not the removable-bottom type), to remove the baked shells. Let cool completely.
(At this point I like to place the finished tart shells back into the tins to protect them- just in case).

Clean and slice the strawberries.  About 30 minutes prior to serving, add the sugar and lemon juice. Toss the berries with the sugar and lemon juice and set aside, gently tossing a few times  so they sweeten and macerate evenly.

Place the mascarpone cheese into a medium-sized bowl and soften a bit with a spatula. Add 2 T (30 ml) cream and fold/stir a bit until the consistency of the mascarpone is a little looser.
In another bowl whip the remaining cream along with seeds from the vanilla bean and the sugar until it reaches the very soft peak stage.   
Carefully fold into mascarpone, first about one third of the cream, and then the remaining cream, taking care not to whip things up too much as everything will stiffen further. 

Just prior to serving, spread the mascarpone cream mixture into each tart shell. Top with berries (and chocolate shavings,  or lemon zest, etc. if desired), and serve. 


  1. Have tried several of your gluten free recipes---all of them (without exception) are VERY very good! This looks like it would be a great choice for a special Easter dessert!

  2. Thanks! Agreed on the Easter dessert opinion.

  3. This was absolutely delicious, thanks for sharing! Love the use of the mascarpone cheese, made it really smooth and was so tasty with the strawberries. Crust was perfect too...

  4. BEST Easter dessert!
    Nice and light after a heavy big meal.