Ahh, one sweet word for the delayed balmy, spring weather.
Two sweet words together: No-bake dessert.
Recently, I found myself with just a handful of fresh strawberries left until the farmers market opened the next day. We have been gobbling them, as is, for a week, so I wanted to do something special with these stragglers.
And, like most recipes I love, I had almost everything I needed to make a strawberry tart. I really wanted those crispy ladyfinger cookies to make the crust, however, the grocery store I judiciously chose disappointed me, but only for a minute. It did have Moravian sugar cookies – paper thin and crispy, with a delicate touch of lemon. A perfect complement to the almonds in the base.
I snatched up a container of mascarpone cheese, and what is quite likely the briefest grocery store experience of my life, was done.
You probably have cream cheese around the house and you can use it for this recipe, but if you have the time and money (this stuff isn’t cheap), go for the mascarpone. It lends a lighter, fresher taste to the tart and works better as a partner to the fresh berries and rich crust.
Orange liqueur is a traditional favorite with strawberries, but since I was thinking of a green meadow dotted with nodding wildflowers, I reached for the St. Germaine elderflower liqueur. You need to check out this trendy ingredient, especially if you don’t care for the harsh taste of alcohol in your no-bake desserts. The flowery essence floats over your tongue instead of punching you in the tastebuds.
Even though you have to use two appliances, the tart comes together quickly. Refrigerate it for an hour and you’re ready to go. You definitely need more strawberries than this, but, like I said – stragglers.
Strawberry Tart with Almond Crust
6 oz. Moravian sugar cookies or crisp lady fingers
1/2 cup of toasted, unsalted almond slices
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup whipping cream, cold
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup elderflower liqueur
pinch of salt
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
For the crust, place the cookies and almonds in a food processer and pulse four to five times until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse just until thoroughly combined.
Spread the crust in the bottom and up the sides of an 8-inch pie plate.
For the filling, place the cream, mascarpone, liqueur, salt and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Whip until the mixture looks smooth. Spoon into the crust and top with fresh strawberries.