Today, you almost had me at quinoa. Or rather a twist on quinoa salad of a favorite ethnic variety. A recipe I’ve been craving, with bright flavors, creating lighter lunchtime fare. But then…this happened: Berry Tart With Lemon Curd Mascarpone.

Don’t be ashamed, be real. It’s okay you too like these berries more than quinoa. Even when you’re secretly giving me fist pumps and high fives. Even when your conscience is chanting, “Quinoa! Quinoa! Quinwwwwwaaaa!!!!!!”

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

My little Meyer lemon bushes have been wintering indoors like retired Upper East siders who call the southern beaches of Boca Raton their snowbirding home.

So there I was with hands on hips, staring these little bushes down as I pondered whether it was time yet to subject them to the harsh reality of the wild outdoors where they belong. Like swallows heading back to Capistrano, is it time for my two little lemons that bloomed over the winter to face the outdoor elements?

What? And leave their personal furnace vent and sunny west side disposition? Or would that be west side exposure? Just so long as it’s the good side of the west side we have a deal. Wazzup Westsiiiiiide?

Gosh, that makes me almost want to come back one day as a lemon tree. But only if you’ll call me Ms. Meyer.

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

But then, instead of lugging my two lemon trees with two lonely lemons outdoors, I started scheming about plucking those little suckers off their branches and, GASP, cooking with them.

I mean, they’d only been percolating for 3 months. Wasn’t it time?

In my mind, yes. In my husband’s mind, it’s doubtful. In fact, he’s going to be a little on the grumpola side when he comes home and sees our two little lemons…GONE. Gone before he had a chance to strip a zest or four for a super cold, shaken martini with a twist. Or four. Because I know that’s been his plot all winter long.

I hope this lemon curd will curb his martini with a twist of his home grown lemon craving. Yeah. Wish me luck with that.

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

I’ve been thinking about Becky’s lemon curd ever since I saw it come up in my RSS feed a few months back. I’ve bought it before at Trader Joes, but I’ve never made it myself. That is until I had thoughts of lugging those two lemon trees outside and getting my pants dirty. I’d rather get my pants dirty with lemon and sugar instead of wintered, lemon-ed soil. And thus, sugar and plucked lemons and lemon curd it was.

The crust is based on a recipe from Sweet Paul’s new cookbook Eat and Make, a cookbook I’m totally digging into. The recipe calls for almond meal and regular flour, for a bit of an almond flavor. That I also dig.

Instead of leaving the puckery-sweet lemon curd all alone in my almond crust, I headed for the fridge to scout about for cream cheese and discovered Mascarpone. Double bonus points for ingredients that lurk in the shadows. Whip cream? Check. Powdered sugar? All over my pants and thus check. Berries? Got those in droves thanks to yesterday’s Costco power shopping trip.

I even plucked the season’s first mint leaves from my garden. Maybe my lemons need to take a lesson from the mint, and head outside a little earlier. Then maybe they’d still be here. Shaken and being enjoyed in a very cold martini glass.

But then, you would have had quinoa today. Instead you’ll be chanting “Berries. Berries. Berrrrrrreeeeez!”

Berry Tart with Lemon Curd Mascarpone

Berry Tart With Lemon Curd Mascarpone
Serves: serves 6
For the tart crust
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, very cold and diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water
For the mascarpone filling
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 heaping tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 cup lemon curd, store bought, or I used this recipe
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • ¼ cup strawberry preserves
  • Mint leaves for garnish
For the tart crust
  1. Mix the all purpose flour, almond flour, kosher salt and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the unsalted butter pieces and work into the flour, creating thin sheets of butter in the flour. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and add to the flour and butter mix. Continue to work with your fingers until the mixture sticks together when pinched. Add another tablespoon of water if needed.
  2. Press the dough into a buttered tart pan with a removable bottom (I used a long tart pan but you can use a 10-inch round pan) or 4-6 individual tart pans with removable bottoms. Prick the bottom with a fork and then refrigerate for about an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the tart for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling with mascarpone filling.
For the mascarpone filling
  1. Whip the cream on high with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Add the softened mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar and beat to mix well. Fold in the lemon curd with a wooden spoon.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the raspberries and sliced strawberries. Heat the strawberry preserves until thinned and mix into the berries. Spoon the mascarpone into the cooled tart crust and top with the berries. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.
Tart crust adapted from Sweet Paul's Make and Eat

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