Strawberry Mascarpone Bars

What do you do when you get 4 pints of strawberries on sale for $5 at The Teet? Well, you eat one pint, use the other two for a strawberry tart and leave the last one for a refrigerator experiment to see how long it’ll last. (Just for fun.)

Seriously though, I got this smokin’ deal and apparently overestimated my ability to consume strawberries. And my timing could not have been worse…I got them on a Sunday and I was leaving on a jet plane on Friday. What was I thinking?! I wasn’t. Clearly. Faced with a choice: throw them away, eat them at an alarming rate (like, three pints in two days) or make something. Choice made.

Strawberry tart! Easy right? Sorta. I didn’t want to run to the grocery again and purchase a ton of ingredients. That canceled out plenty of recipes and when I finally came upon one that didn’t require massive alterations and guessing…what did I do? I didn’t buy enough of the ONE ingredient I had to get…mascarpone cheese! It was a long week! I was tired. I was bleary eyed and completely OVER IT!!! I misread the instructions…I didn’t chill my tart crust…I used too much powdered sugar…I didn’t use a tart pan because I didn’t trust the recipe.

But you know what? It ended up tasting great! It’s a rectangle…I made it into bars…it’s rustic…WHATEVER! I ate nearly all of it the next day at work because it was one of thooooose days.

Don’t change a thing…I changed it enough for all of us!

Enjoy!

Strawberry Mascarpone Bars

Adapted from Gourmet April 2009

For tart shell:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon 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:

  • 2 pints strawberries, tops chopped off and halved
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound mascarpone (about 2 cups, or two tubs depending on the kind you buy)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make tart shell:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with your fingertips 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 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 the perfect brownie pan (or a 10inch tart pan with a removable bottom) 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. (As stated before…I didn’t do this…nor did I prick the shell…nor did I use plastic wrap…nor was the dough spread evenly…you get it, it’s fine. Wing it.)

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights. (HA!! I don’t have these.) (OR line the shell with tin foil and pop it in the oven, 10 minutes into baking pull it out of the oven and flatten the puffed up shell using a dish towel as a shield from the insane, searing heat and repeat once more, 10minutes later. Now move to the “carefully remove” step.) 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. OR overnight! Hey! I was tired…no harm done.

Meanwhile, stir together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff. (I let this sit covered, in the fridge, over night too…no harm here either.)

Assemble tart:
Spread mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries.

Enjoy it! But not all of it…

7 thoughts on “Strawberry Mascarpone Bars

  1. YUM! Sales on strawberries always sway me to buy them, even when I know I can never finish an entire pint before they go bad.

    This looks wonderful and easy to make :)

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