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Strawberry Tart

This elegant dessert is a deconstructed tart that is enhanced by the subtle flavors of vanilla, strawberry, champagne and Specht Kirschwasser, a German clear cherry brandy.

Strawberry tart


Basic Pastry Cream:

  • ¾ C (177 ml) milk
  • 2 lg egg yolks
  • ¼ C (48 g) sugar
  • 5 tsp (16 g) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract

Champagne Mascarpone:

  • ½ C + 1 T (133 ml) champagne
  • 2½ tsp (6 g) powdered gelatin (about 1 pkg) or ¼ oz (6 g) gelatin leaves
  • 2¼ T (33 ml) Basic Pastry Cream
  • 2½ tsp (13 ml) dulce de leche
  • ½ C (133 g) mascarpone

Champagne Pastry Cream:

  • ¾ C + 1½ T (200 ml) Basic Pastry Cream
  • 2½ tsp (12 ml) champagne
  • 2½ tsp (12 ml) Specht Kirschwasser
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice


  • 12 Sablés Bretons or shortbread cookies
  • 2 C (330 g) strawberries, slice


  • 6 Melba toasts
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) frozen strawberry purée, thawed
  • 6 small basil sprigs
  • 1¼ tsp (3 g) pistachio nuts, finely chopped


Basic Pastry Cream: Place ¼ C of the milk, the egg yolks, half the sugar and the cornstarch in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Place remaining milk, sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium; bring to a simmer without stirring. Remove from heat; whisk to combine. Gradually pour hot mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return to saucepan; continue whisking until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; continue whisking until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap against mixture surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. Can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.

Champagne Mascarpone: Place champagne in a small saucepan, sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until gelatin begins to dissolve, 5-7 minutes. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until just warm, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; add pastry cream, dulce de leche and mascarpone, stirring to combine. (Alternately, if using gelatin leaves, place in a shallow bowl; cover with cold water; let stand until soft, about 7 minutes. Remove from water; wring out excess liquid; add to champagne and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add to medium bowl with other components and fold gently to combine.) Place in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and set aside.

Assembly: Pipe champagne pastry cream onto 6 cookies; place on serving plates; top with strawberries. Pipe a long line of champagne mascarpone next to cookie. Crumble remaining cookies and sprinkle over champagne mascarpone. Garnish with Melba toast, drops of strawberry purée, basil and chopped pistachio.

Prep Time: 30 minutes. Cook Time: 3 minutes. Chill Time: 4 hours. Makes 6 servings.