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Strawberry Tart w/ Mascarpone and Black Pepper

Ever since we tied the knot two years ago, Chris has been asking me to make him pie, apple pie specifically. I happen to be more of a cobbler/crumble fan when it comes to such things. I know. Amazing we have made it two years with such differences of opinion. But for our second anniversary I thought I would put all that aside and make him some pie – he would have to make do with a more seasonally appropriate fruit.

When I got home with my farmer’s market strawberries, however, they were so perfectly sweet and juicy I just couldn’t justify cooking them. So I made a half-pie (aka tart) and called it even. Sorry Chris, I promise you will get a whole pie one day.

The black pepper might seem an odd ingredient here but it draws out a little more flavor from a bashful berry. If your fruit is not quite sweet or juicy enough, toss with a tablespoon or two of sugar and let sit 30 minutes on the counter or a few hours in the fridge.

Strawberry Tart w/ Mascarpone and Black Pepper


1 9" tart or 6-8 mini tarts


Tart Dough (Pate Brisee)

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper (optional)

4oz / 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and cold

2-3 tbl cold water


8 oz / 1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

2-3 tbl heavy cream

1-2 pints fresh strawberries, washed and dried


Make the Tart Dough: combine flour salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse just to combine. Add the salt and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand - about 10 pulses, butter pieces should be +/- pea size. With mixer running, pour in water and stop as soon as the dough begins to form a ball. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350˚F and have your 10in tart pan with removable bottom ready.

Roll out dough to 10-11 inches and about ¼ inch thick - to get a nice circle roll out from the center forward and back, rotate the dough a ¼ turn (dusting with flour when needed) and repeat - make sure not to roll off the edge of the dough, this will make a very thin and breakable edge.

To move dough into tart pan, make sure it is well floured then gently roll it onto your rolling pin and then roll it back out on top of the tart pan.

Gently press dough into the pan, roll your rolling pin across the top to cut off excess dough and prick bottom with a fork.

Line dough with parchment, fill with dried beans and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and bake another 20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Let cool completely.

Mix heavy cream into room temperature mascarpone - you are just looking for it to be thin enough to pipe or spread easily, it shouldn't take too much. Set aside until ready to serve (if more than 30 minutes put in the fridge, allow to come to room temp before using).

Prep the strawberries: remove the hull and slice into quarters or leave whole.

Pipe or spread mascarpone into cooled tart shell and top with as many strawberries as you possibly can. Give a quick grind of pepper over top the tarts (mostly for the look) and serve immediately.


Everything can be done several days in advance but assembly needs to be just before serving. The tart dough can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen 3-4 months - defrost frozen dough 24 hours in the fridge and let refrigerated dough sit on the counter 15 minutes before rolling.

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