Strawberry and Mascarpone Tart with Pistachio Shortbread Crust / by Chelsea Zwieg

It's almost Easter! Which means one thing: Easter desserts! Easter candy, Easter pies, Easter tarts...get at me. Nothing gets me more excited than a little stroll down the Easter candy aisle because really, is there anything happier than a whole rainbow of adorable peeps? Or peep oreos? Or bags and bags of speckled egg malted milk balls?? (which, by the way, I shoved in a cake that I will be posting next week. GET READY.) For the record, I did try peep oreos and while they sound like they were created to bring straight joy into my life, they are actually disgusting and also I read this article and was obviously a little hesitant to give them a second try. But hot pink oreos aside, I am all about the Easter sweets. 

The best thing about Easter being later this year than last is that there is actually good fruit starting to show up in the grocery store. Strawberries that actually taste like something and aren't half white? Sign me up! Strawberries with cream is one of my very favorite things and while I normally keep it super classy by throwing some strawbs in a bowl and dumping a bunch of heavy cream on top, I decided to turn it into a tart because maybe Easter guests wouldn't be super into my normal method? And also, tarts are prettier than strawberries floating in cream. So there's that. This tart has a pistachio shortbread crust (my favorite tart crust with some ground pistachios subbed for flour) and then gets filled with a brown sugar mascarpone cream. Then you can get all fancy with arranging your sliced strawberries however you're feeling. And finally get all salt bae with some chopped pistachios to finish it off. Tarts like this are my favorite because they are literally impossible to mess up, require like 10 minutes of hands on time, but then the miracle that is fresh fruit makes them look like a work of art. Especially after an entire winter, fresh fruit is enough to bring a tear to anyone's eye. Am I right? 

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Talk to you (about cake!) next week! 

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Strawberry and Mascarpone Tart with Pistachio Shortbread Crust 

| Ingredients

Serves 8-10 

For the crust: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. cold water

For the filing: 

  • 1 lb. mascarpone 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • sliced strawberries and chopped pistachios, for topping

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour a 9 inch tart pan. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse pistachios until they are finely ground. You want them to similar to the texture of flour, but if they are slightly more coarse, that's ok. Add the flour, powdered sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with no large chunks of butter remaining. Add the water and pulse until the dough begins to clump together. If it doesn't stick together, add more water by the teaspoonful until it begins to come together. 
  • Press dough into the prepared tart pan and freeze 25-30 minutes. This will keep the dough from shrinking up when it is in the oven. 
  • Remove the dough from the freezer, pierce all over with a fork (which will keep it from puffing up in the oven) and bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow crust to cool completely. 
  • To make the filling, add the mascarpone, cream, brown sugar and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low to combine, then increase the mixer speed to medium and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Taste and add more sugar, if desired. The filling is not super sweet, which I like, but if you prefer a sweeter filling you might want closer to 3/4 cup sugar. You can also add powdered sugar to make it sweeter. Just taste as you go. 
  • Spread the filling into the cooled tart shell, using a spatula to smooth it out to the edges. 
  • Arrange sliced strawberries on top and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Slice and serve. Store tart, covered, in the refrigerator.