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For Chocolate Lovers only
 

Chocolate cake


JUNE 2002
RECIPES



"A Touch of Chocolate" Angel Food Cake

A Better Ice Cream Soda

Strawberry Jewel Tart

Dutch Baby



Sweet Spot

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Strawberry Jewel Tart

Tips: June is the height of strawberry season. When strawberries are at their best, so is this dessert, which consists of an easy crumb crust baked in a tart shell, a quick-to-make creamy filling, a layer of strawberries, and a deep red glaze over the berries that shines with a ruby glow. Pretty as a picture!

To make this, you'll need a 9-1/2 inch diameter by 1 inch high round, fluted tart mold. You'll also need a hand-held electric mixer. If you haven't worked with mascarpone before, it's similar to cream cheese, but softer, smoother, and richer. The brand I can find most often is Bel Gioioso, made in Wisconsin, and it works very well in this recipe (of course, if you want to use imported Italian mascarpone, that's fine, too). The strawberries you choose should be the best you can find, as ripe and unbruised as possible. Smaller berries make the tart easier to cut, serve, and eat, but they are not always easy to come by these days. Once made, this tart must chill for at least 30 minutes (uncovered), but it will only hold up for 4 to 6 hours maximum. Note also that the appearance will be best if the whole tart is served at one time.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1-1/3 lightly packed cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Strawberries:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, preferably small in size

Filling:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup red currant jelly

For Crust:
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Assemble a 9-1/2 inch diameter by 1 inch deep tart mold, and place on the foil-lined cookie sheet.

In medium bowl, combine chocolate wafer crumbs and sugar. With spoon, mix well. Add melted butter and mix thoroughly.

Use about 2/3 of the crumb mixture to form a crust on the sides of the tart mold, pushing it into the flutes of the mold with the back of a spoon or your fingers. My crusts usually extend slightly above the edges of the mold, because they often slide down somewhat while the crust bakes (easy to correct, by the way). Compact the remaining crust mixture on the bottom of the tart mold. Try not to have crust too thick where bottom and sides meet.

Bake crust in preheated oven for 8 minutes, turning back-to-front once after about 4 minutes. Remove from oven; carefully remove tart mold (with crust still inside) to cooling rack. If the crust sides slide down while the crust bakes, correct this immediately, while the crust is still very hot. Use the back of a small spoon to force the crust mixture up the sides again. If this results in any holes in the bottom of the crust, it's easy to push some of the hot crust mixture over the bottom to patch them. Don't drive yourself too crazy over this; just get the sides high and reasonably even. Cool the crust completely before filling it.

When the crust has cooled completely, carefully pop off the sides of the tart mold. You can remove the bottom of the tart mold now, too, if you're very careful, but I usually leave it on. Either way, place the cooled crust on a flat, round serving platter (not a dark-colored platter) of at least 9-1/2 inches in diameter.

For Strawberries:
Quickly wash the berries in cold water. Remove the green hulls. Drain thoroughly on several thicknesses of paper towelling and pat as dry as possible; let stand at room temperature on the paper towelling while you prepare the filling.

For Filling:
In medium bowl, combine mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and orange liqueur. With hand-held electric mixer, beat at lowest speed until blended. Scrape bowl and beater(s) well with rubber spatula. Beat mascarpone mixture again at a low speed until perfectly smooth.

At lowest speed, gradually add heavy cream. When all cream has been added, again scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula thoroughly. Beat at lowest speed until smooth, then increase speed to medium and beat until mixture is at soft peak stage. Do not overbeat or mixture will appear curdled.

Pile mascarpone mixture into cooled tart shell; spread as evenly as possible. One at a time, dry each strawberry, remove the tougher inner "core" and any soft or bruised spots with a small sharp knife, and place the berry, hull side down, on top of the filling. Start with one berry in the middle of the tart, then work outward in concentric circles. When you get close to the edge of the filling, you may have to halve or quarter the berries so they'll fit onto the filling—OK. You'll see some of the white filling showing between berries, which is fine. As soon as you're done with the strawberries, prepare the glaze.

For Glaze:
In small, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum saucepan over low heat, melt jelly. Stir occasionally until jelly comes to a boil, then remove from heat.

With a soft pastry brush, glaze the entire top of the tart, taking care to coat the surfaces of the strawberries as thoroughly as possible. Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Remember, this will only hold for a maximum of 4 to 6 hours.

To serve, remove tart from refrigerator. If you didn't remove the bottom of the tart mold earlier, cut slices with a plastic knife so you won't scratch it.

Yield: 8 servings

© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; “mirror” or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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