Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

DSC_0479This tart is everything that’s good about strawberries. It’s everything that’s good about cheese and chocolate cookies, too. It’s like a cheese/fruit plate for dessert. With chocolate cookies and honey. It’s low-sugar. It’s really not a terribly bad for you dessert. (You’re buying it, right? I’m working really hard, here.)

If you’ve never has mascarpone cheese, you should go get some today. It comes in a plastic tub like ricotta, but will probably be with the specialty cheeses at the grocery store. It’s a very mild, spreadable cheese that doesn’t have a ton of flavor on its own, but can be easily jazzed up with either sweet or savory ingredients. The possibilities are sort of endless.

There are these chocolate wafers that people use for icebox cakes, and they’re called “Famous Chocolate Wafers.” They probably have them at your grocery store, usually in the ice cream sundae section, not with the cookies. That’s what the crust is made of. But really, any chocolate wafer cookie would do if you can’t find these. Just a heads up.

DSC_0475Here’s the recipe: (adapted from kissmyspatula.com)

9 ounces famous chocolate wafers, one package
8 tbsp unsalted melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
16 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup good honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
zest from 1 lemon
2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 325°. Place cookies in a 1-quart zip-lock plastic bag and seal. With a rolling pin, crush cookies into fine crumbs. (You can also just food processor them.) Pour 2 cups of the crumbs into a bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9.5-inch round tart pan with removable rim, or one of the long, rectangular ones like mine (11×8).

In another bowl, with mixer on medium, beat mascarpone, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and salt.

Place tart pan in a 12- by 16-inch rimmed baking pan (do not, under any circumstances, skip this – the pan catches any drippings from the filling and prevents the crust from overbrowning) and set on center rack of preheated oven. Pour filling into chocolate crust. Bake until filling is pale golden and barely set in the center when you gently shake pan, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove tart from oven and let cool on a rack about 30 minutes, then chill until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day (cover tart once cold).
Shortly before serving, remove rim from pan. Rinse, stem, and thinly slice strawberries. Arrange in a circular or spiral pattern on top of the tart, overlapping slices slightly.

DSC_0478Slice on the diagonal and enjoy! (You can have two slices, it’s mostly fruit.)

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