Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone Basil Cream

Jen Lesson of the Day: I love combining baked sweets with herbs and spices, aka I know how to get ma funk on. I used to work at a bakery in Brooklyn, called Ovenly, and I have such reverence for their products, which are often sweet-meet-savory, i.e. black olive cookies. While there is nothing wrong with foods that just fit the bill, it's always better if it can surprise you *in a good way*. We have our entire lives to settle, and sometimes, we lose sight of what it really means to live a little and push the boundaries. Let your curiosity take a little flight. You prude :)

Now that I have given you my shtick, here's the pièce de résistance:

Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone Basil Cream

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So delicious it should be illegal in all 50 states

Think: filling that is simultaneously tangy, sweet, and spiced, nested inside a buttery crust, topped with refreshing basil in a light cream. It was everything I want in a chocolateless dessert.

The recipe below is for a 9 inch pie. I divided it into 3 mini tart pans for perfect-sized portions. Any leftover strawberries can be eaten with the whipped cream. Yum-yum-in-my-tum.

Butter Crust (Makes one disc worth):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced

1/4 cup ice water

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Chill crust, covered with plastic wrap in the fridge, for at least a half hour.

Pie Filling

3 tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups white sugar (depends on how sweet your strawberries are)

1 tsp ground cinnamon (less if you'd like. I just love cinnamon in this)

4 cups fresh strawberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place crust in a nine inch pie pan or roll out 3 separate doughs for a tart pan.

Mix together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon; add to the berries. Add lemon juice. Pour filling into pastry lined pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 and bake another 20.

The filling will firm up over time, i.e. 24 hours. Garnish with the recipe below.

Mascarpone Basil Cream found here

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, patted dry and chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup mascarpone cheese

Combine the cream, basil and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add mascarpone, and whip in a mixer with the whisk attachment until medium peaks form.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.

You also have the option of adding and baking a crumb topping. I didn't because I didn't think it was necessary. This pie is perfect as is. Huzzah.

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