Saturday, June 6, 2009

Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone-Chocolate Cream

Picking strawberries straight from the fields is one my favorite activities. My family predictably leaves the strawberries fields with more flats of strawberries than we need, as well as red stained lips, red stained shirts, and red drips covering over 80% of our kid's bodies.

When we are done getting our fill of plain strawberries, it's time for making strawberry smoothies, strawberry pies, strawberry jam, and strawberry shortcake. While all of these are wonderful and predictable standards that I love making, I wanted something new. Something that I hadn't tried before. Something that would still have strawberries as one of the key ingredients, yet different from the other strawberry recipes that I already enjoy.

I was thrilled when I found this strawberry recipe featured in our local newspaper. Although I have had sketchy and somewhat unpredictable results from their recipes in the past, I thought I would give it a try anyway. The outcome was amazing! This tart is not overly difficult--really, it's just a fancier version of strawberry shortcake, but it is sure to knock your socks off with its appearance and taste! I know it did for me and my family.


Tart Crust
1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup spelt flour*
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1 stick)

Cream Filling
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup granulated sugar*
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate

4 cup fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
4 teaspoons granulated sugar*

* The original recipe called for 1 cup all-purpose flour, which I substituted with a healthier flour mix of 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 spelt flour. The original recipe also called for granulated sugar, which I substituted with agave nectar.


1. To make the tart, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oatmeal on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden and fragrant, about 7 minutes.

2. In a food processor, add the toasted oatmeal, flour(s), sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined and oatmeal is chopped.

3. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture looks crumbly.

4. Pat the dough into a 9-in or 10-in fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use the back of a measuring cup to help spread it evenly, if necessary. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

5. Remove tart from oven and let fully cool.

6. While the tart crust is baking, wash, hull, and halve the strawberries. Quarter any large berries when necessary. Sprinkle with sugar (or agave nectar) and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until they release some juice.

7. To make the cream, place cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until cream begins to thicken.

8. Sprinkle in sugar (or agave nectar) and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

9. Mix mascarpone cheese in its original container to soften sightly and then fold it into the cream mixture. Stir in the chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

10. To assemble, spread the cream into the baked and cooled tart crust shell.

11. Pile with berries and enjoy!

Recipe from The Oregonian FOODday Section

Yields: 16 servings. Each serving contains: Calories 191; Total Fat 10.3g; Saturated Fat 6.4g; Cholesterol 28mg; Sodium 133mg; Total Carbohydrates 21.5g; Dietary Fiber 1.7g; Sugars 12.3g; Protein 3.7g; Vitamin A 6%; Vitamin C 35%; Calcium 6%; Iron 4%

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

I used to write off desserts like this one. My "why bother?" attitude was the result of knowing that my picky eater would not consider taking one bite. It was easier to just offer my family a bowl of ice cream for dessert and call it good.

I have a new attitude now. After working with our son with individual ingredients, we can combine foods together with success with desserts like this. Here is an example of what a progression of individual ingredients would look like. Remember that this progression would occur as fast or slow as your picky eater dictates.

1. Individual Strawberries
2. Individual Shortbread Cookies
3. Strawberries + Cookie
4. Strawberries + Cream
5. Strawberries + Tart from this recipe made into Cookies
6. Strawberries + Tart from this recipe made into Cookies + Cream = Strawberry Shortcake.
7. Strawberries + Cookie + Cream Variation from this recipe = Jazzed up Strawberry Shortcake
8. Strawberries + Tart + Cream Variation = This recipe.

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