Thursday, April 2, 2009

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze

When we vacationed in Seattle, we made a side trip to some wineries near Woodinville. Our favorite was Chateau St. Michelle, and we brought home several bottles of wine after enjoying a generous tasting session. One of those bottles was a port - a sweet, dark red dessert wine. This wasn't supposed to be included in the tasting, but the gentleman who was pouring was kind of flirting with this one woman who was giggly and flirting back, so we all benefited from his trying to impress her. It worked - on us, anyway. We spent more on this one bottle than all the others combined, it was that tasty. It was so good, in fact, that Greg wouldn't open it after we got home. It was tucked away and all but forgotten.
Last week he was perusing the Gourmet magazine web site and came across this tart recipe with a port glaze. He thought it sounded good, and apparently this was impetus enough to warrant the opening of the special bottle. Oh, and it was yummy!
We followed the recipe as it is written. The crust is very flavorful - we used vanilla from Mexico, and the house smelled so good while it baked.
The mascarpone filling was tasty, but I don't think we need to spend the $$ for mascarpone next time. Regular cream cheese will work fine, considering the price difference.
The strawberries were from Sam's club, a pretty decent price, but they weren't real sweet. Next time I would cut them a bit smaller.
The port glaze was syrupy and reminded me of grapes. Go figure, huh?

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze
Serves 8
Active time:30 min
Start to finish: 2 1/2 hr (includes cooling)

For tart shell:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Rounded 1/4 tsp salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold water
For filling:
1 1/2 lb strawberries (about 1 1/2 qt), trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup ruby Port
1 lb mascarpone (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom (we used a regular Springform pan); pie weights or dried beans
Make tart shell:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.
Beat together yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork, then drizzle over flour mixture and stir with fork (or pulse) until mixture comes together. Gently knead with floured hands on a lightly floured surface until a dough forms, then gently knead 4 or 5 times. Press into a 5-inch disk. Place in center of tart pan and cover with plastic wrap. Using your fingers and bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, spread and push dough to evenly cover bottom and side of pan. Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until shell is deep golden all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool in pan, about 45 minutes.

Make Filling While Tart Shell Cools:

Stir together strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Strain in a sieve set over a small saucepan, reserving berries. Add Port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly. Meanwhile, whisk together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff. (We found a wooden spoon worked better than a whisk with the texture of the mascarpone.)

Assemble Tart: Spread mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries. Drizzle Port glaze all over tart.

Cooks' note: Tart shell can be baked 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature.

1 comment:

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