I kept waling around all the glorious food displays yet this strawberry tart kept catching my eye. So after my dim sum lunch, I went and got a slice of pie. I got it for take away as I was planning on eating it outside on a park bench. Yet my plan came to a halt as it started to downpour and quickly turned into hail. You never really know what to expect from the weather in London.
I stood under an awning and waited for the storm to pass. Funny thing is, as I was standing there trying to figure out what I should do next, this beautiful Italian man approached me. He asked me if I spoke Italian, in Italian. I know a few phrases in Italian thanks to the language cd’s I’ve borrowed from the library, yes I’m that kind of nerd. Anyways, as he asked me if I spoke Italian all I could think of is, “He thinks I’m Italian. I can pass for an Italian. That’s amazing”. Instead of telling him that I understand a little Italian, like a damn fool I said, “No”. He and is pretty blue green eyes walked away as I realized what I said and wanted to kick my own ass. SMH.
As the storm passed I ventured around Kensington and went to a couple of museums before heading back to where I was staying in the Northern part of London. The whole time, I had my slice of pie venturing along with me through the streets of London. By the time I got to the house and was ready to eat my pie….welll..it was more of a strawberry mess…but it was still damn good….
Ever since then I had wanted to make it. I looked everywhere for the recipe but after much searching I could not come across the exact recipe so I improvised and made my own. To my surprise, it came out quite similar to the one I had in London. It’s quite tasty and would be great on a hot summers day. Or a cold, rainy, winter day in London as you make an ass of yourself in front of a hot Italian man…
For the crust:
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 Tbsp Milk
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/2 Tsp Salt
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds of Strawberries, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/3 C Granulated Sugar
16 oz Mascarpone, at room temperature
1/4 C Confectioners Sugar
1 Tsp fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp Grated Lime Zest
3/4 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
16 oz Strawberry Preserves
Make the crust. In the bowl of a stand mix with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Cream the sugar and butter together on low speed for about 5 minutes until well combined. Raise the speed to medium and mix until well combined, scraping down the sided of the bowl as needed. The mixture should be a light make color.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. Leaving the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the butter mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until the mixture is smooth and blended well, about 4 minutes.
Turn the mixer off and add your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder and salt) all at once. Pulse the mixer until the ingredients are moistened and mix on low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a disc. and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Blind-bake the Crust. Preheat the over to 400 F. Roll out the dough to fit your 9 inch tart pan. Place it in your greased tart pan. Place the dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes to let the dough set. Once the dough is firm, dock the dough with a fork. Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper filled with weights. Partially bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until the dough appears matte. Lower the temperature to 350 F, remove the weights and parchment, bake for 10 more minutes. Let the crust completely cool before pouring the filling.
Make the filling as the crust cools.
In a large bowl, gently combine the strawberries and sugar. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Strain the strawberries whilst preserving the liquid in a small saucepan. Add 2 oz of the strawberry preserves, add a little water if need be, and bring to a boil until it has reduced down. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool.
Whisk together the mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lime juice, zest, vanilla and a pic of salt.
To assemble your tart, spread the strawberry preserves over the bottom of your crust. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes to let the layer set. Spread the mascarpone layer evenly over the preserves. Lay your strawberries down in concentric circles. Pour the glaze over the strawberries. Place the tart bake in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes to let the tart set.
The tart will keep in the fridge, covered for two days.
If you find yourself in London, you should totally go to the food halls in Harrods. They’re truly quite majestic and inspiring. I can’t wait to go back.