Nothing says Summer to me more than the arrival of Irish Strawberries in the shops. Or even better, the “Wexford Strawberries & New Potatoes for sale” signs on the roadside. I know we can get imported strawberries all year round now but they just don’t have the same flavour. I live with someone who used to hate strawberries, it was almost a deal-breaker. Seriously, how could you hate strawberries?! Thankfully he has seen the error of his ways.
Now, my idea of a perfect Strawberry Tart is one with a sweet shortcrust pastry base filled with creme patissiere and topped with strawberries. I’m no baker or pastry chef so I’ll leave that type of tart to the professionals. This Easy Strawberry and Chocolate Tart is a simpler version, no baking or custard making are skills required. It’s quite rich so a little goes a long way. The chocolate biscuit base is topped with a creamy mascarpone, cheesecake type filling and the sweet strawberries cut through the richness. What more could you want!
Useful tips & links:
- I make this tart in a pie dish simply because I like the way it looks. It does however, make it a bit more difficult to slice and remove the tart for the first slice. I usually ‘sacrifice’ the first slice – eat it myself – and it’s easier to cut the remaining slices. You could make it in a fluted tart or flan tin with a removable bottom to make it easier to slice.
- Some people like to bake a biscuit base before chilling as it makes it firmer. I tried both ways and I’ve skipped baking it as I found it actually makes the base too firm.
- This can be made ahead of time and will keep for a couple of days in the fridge but it is best eaten on the day it is made. I slice the strawberries to arrange on top but if you want it to last longer, leave the strawberries whole on top.
- There is an apricot glaze on this tart but if you want to skip this, a little dusting of icing sugar on the strawberries will dissolve into them and draw out their juices, giving you a light glaze.
- For more proof of my love of strawberries have a look here for more sweet and savoury ways to use them. For a more elegant strawberry tart, check out this beautiful Strawberry Tart on Tracy’s Kitchen.
Easy Strawberry and Chocolate Tart
- 275g of digestive biscuits, approx 16
- 60g of unsalted better, plus extra to grease the dish
- 50g of dark chocolate
- 400g of mascarpone cheese
- 250ml of double cream
- 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 30g of grated chocolate or flake bar crumbled
- 400g of strawberries
- 1 tablespoon of apricot jam (optional)
- Set up a bain marie by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Dice the 60g of butter and break up the chocolate and add these to the bowl. Allow them to melt together.
- Use the rest of the butter to grease a 9″/23cm pie dish or fluted tart dish.
- Bash the biscuits up in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor until they resemble large breadcrumbs. Pour them into a large bowl.
- Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the biscuits and mix well together.
- Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of your greased dish. You want it to be approximately 5mm thick, any thicker and the tart will be difficult to cut. To get an even base, I wet the bottom of a small glass with water so that the crumbs won’t stick to it and press that into the base to even it out. Don’t press too hard as you don’t want the biscuits too compressed.
- Put the biscuit base into the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
- Meanwhile, slowly whip the mascarpone cheese, cream, icing sugar and vanilla together. This thickens quickly so take your time to make sure everything gets incorporated properly. Fold through the grated chocolate.
- Using a knife or offset spatula spread this filling over the chilled biscuit base and put it back in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
- Shortly before serving, heat the apricot jam with a splash of water in a non stick pan to melt it and set aside to cool slightly.
- Clean, hull and slice the strawberries and then arrange them over the filling. Brush some of the apricot glaze over the strawberries and serve or chill further in the fridge until ready to serve.