It’s good to have a tart like this in your repertoire. It’s the kind of thing that looks so much fancier and more complicated than it really is. Pretty and delicious, you can put it together in 15 minutes. Look at it. Hard to believe, right? The secret is starting with good ingredients. I make the crust using store bought gingersnap cookies held together with a little melted butter, and the filling is nothing more than mascarpone with egg and a little sugar, the strawberries laid on top. You could of course use homemade cookies for the crust, but any high quality all-butter bought cookie works just fine (try gingersnaps, lemon, orange, or oat cookies, or even plain graham crackers.) Buy a good quality mascarpone (I used Vermont Butter and Cheese Company) and the sweetest strawberries you can find. Serves 8.
For the Crust
8oz gingersnap cookies, finely ground in a food processor
6 tbsp melted butter
For the Filling
1 8oz tub mascarpone cheese
1 egg, separated
1 tbsp sugar, or to your taste
1 quart fresh strawberries
For the Coulis
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup water
2-3 tbsp sugar, or to your taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
Make the Crust
Combine the cookies and the butter in a small dish and mix well. Sprinkle the butter-cookie mixture into a 13 inch rectangular tart pan (an 8-9 inch round pan also works) and press it into the bottom and the sides of the pan. Chill the crust while you prepare the filling.
Make the Filling
Hull, wash, and thinly slice the strawberries, saving a few small ones whole for garnish. Set aside. Beat together the mascarpone, the egg yolk, and the sugar in a small mixing bowl. Use more or less sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of your berries. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until stiff peeks form, and then carefully fold it into the mascarpone mixture.
Assemble the Tart
Spread the mascarpone mixture into the bottom of the chilled tart shell and carefully arrange the sliced strawberries in 3 long rows along the length of the tart pan. Top with a few small strawberry halves.
Make the Coulis
Coulis is an easy spring and summer sauce you can make with any fresh berries, just adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. You may want to start with only 1 tbsp of sugar and then taste and adjust accordingly. Strain, refrigerate until ready, and then pour liberally alongside the tart. Coulis can also be served over ice cream or alongside some griddled pound cake. Or, try it with this panna cotta (omit the apricots) and a few fresh berries.