July 1, 2012

No-Bake Cherry Mascarpone Tart

In case you haven't heard, it's damn hot in St. Louis. Lots of people are posting pics like this on Facebook & Twitter:

For past few days temperatures have reached over 100, with a high of 108 one day. It's REAL DAMN HOT, y'all. And there's no end in sight right now. While some people are tired of others complaining, you have to realize that this kind of heat is just NOT NORMAL for St. Louis in late June/early July. Apparently, though, it's hot everywhere these days:

pic from The Weather Channel

While it's sweltering outside, most of us don't want to spend any amount of time over a hot stove or turn on the oven. So, here is an easy no-bake dessert that is quite impressive-looking, perfect for July 4th parties this week.

I used some sour cherries leftover from the pie I made a couple weeks ago, but you could make this same recipe with any kind of fruit....strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sliced peaches. You can also use a different cookie for the crust to go with the fruit you choose...a crunchy oatmeal cookie with berries or gingersnaps with peaches.

Cherry Mascarpone Tart

 recipe adapted from Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
9 ounces almond biscotti or amaretti cookies 
1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 pound cherries, pitted

To make the crust:
  • Crush the cookies in a food processor to a coarse powder. Add the crumbs to the butter and thoroughly mix.
  • Spoon the crumbs into a 13x4-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Smooth them into the corners and up the sides. Press firmly, but not so hard that they become compacted. The cookie base is better when short and crumbly.
  • Refrigerate until the base has set, at least a couple of hours.
To make the filling:
  • Beat the egg yolk in a bowl with the sugar for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed.
  • Beat in the mascarpone until you have a custard-colored cream. Stir in the vanilla.
  • With a clean whisk, beat the egg white until it stands stiff, then fold it into the creamed mascarpone.
To assemble the tart:
  • Spoon the mascarpone into the cookie crust, spreading it smoothly to the edges. Arrange the cherries on top of the mascarpone. (Those pitted sour cherries are sort of ugly, so next time I'll layer the cherries in the crust and spoon the filling on top.)
  • Serve immediately or cover loosely & refrigerate until ready to serve.

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