Shortcut Tarte


Hello, did you miss me?* And welcome to you, gentle readers of Nothing But Bonfires, how kind of you to drop by!


We had my In-Laws over for the last 10 days… and that is all I will say about it. During this time much takeout food was consumed, much beer was drunk and little was cooked.

However, we did get a lovely dinner celebration going for my husband L.’s birthday exactly one week ago. His request was something with fruit, or a chocolate cake — and since we’d just had our fill of chocolate thanks to the hippie cake, I went with the fruit. For the actual dinner however, my offer to cook was shunned in favor of BURRITOS! and QUESADILLAS! from DOLORES! who as you can see if you click on the link is a food joint, and not a lovely mexican lady.

Anyway for the dessert, because we were 7 people in a three room apartment (and that is literally three rooms), I decided to make this the most simple fruit dessert possible. A shortbread crust (pâte sablée) to which I added lemon zest, a lemony-mascarpone filling to replace the traditional vanilla custard base, and lots of delicious strawberries.

I started the dough the evening before the birthday, on a night were I was fuming and furious and sent everybody away – I can’t even remember why anymore! And making it was enough to chill me right out and helped me remember who I was making this dessert for (insert sappy sniffling and smoochiness here). The dough got to rest in the fridge overnight, and I blind baked it in the morning at 7am (it was already 30°in the kitchen by then, and we were still 7 people, but it had to be done then), filled it with the mascarpone at 7pm, amidst shrieking little boys and freaked out grandparents, and finally, painstakingly, added the strawberries, half by half. And by 8pm, it was gone.

What I am trying to say is that I am apparently moody, complicated and very specific about having my strawberries just so. L liked his dessert though, and that’s what counts in the end, right?


The tarte dough is a variation on the basic tarte dough that I mention here. It uses an egg and rolls out much thinner. On the whole I would say it’s better, but it also is a tad more fastidious in the making.


Strawberry Tarte revisited

prep time: 5min, cooling time: 1h, up to all night long (oh yeah), parbaking time 25 min*


metal mixing bowl and knife or food processor, fluted tarte pan, baking weights (beans or rice work just fine. Just don’t ever use popcorn. Trust me)


Shortbread Pastry

1 egg
80 g caster sugar
250 g flour
150 g butter, softened
grated zest of one medium lemon**
1 pinch of salt

Put your egg, lemon zest, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix it up until it pales and starts smelling really good. Slowly add the flour and assemble it with your fingertips (or food processor, you lazy baker you!) until sandy and coarse. Mix in the softened butter and incorporate it well. Roll into a ball, cover with clingwrap and leave in the fridge to rest and also tolet the dough amalgamate (yes, I had a dictionary for dinner.).

Preheat the oven to 200°. Butter and flour the fluted tarte pan. Roll out the dough thinly to the desired size, fold it and unfold it into your tarte tin. Cover the dough with parchment paper which you have weighted down with beans, or actual baking weights and bake for 15 min or until golden. Let cool about 30 min if you are using anything creamy or custrady, otherwise your filling will melt .


Meanwhile, make your


Lemon-Mascarpone Filling

prep time: 5 min


1 zest and juice of a medium sized lemon (about 130 g)
80 g sugar
250 g Mascarpone

Whisk all the ingredients together and spread on your cooled tarte-base.

Add the strawberries (I used a little under a kg for the Tarte), either all neat and orderly, or not. And voilà, you’re done!

* Whoever (apart from my sister) completes this sentence with “I know I’m hard to resist” and knows who’s quoted gets two thumbs up from me! And please tell me who you are, so I can high-five you from a distance…

** I grated mine with a fancy microplane thingie, but chopped up zest would be fine, you just don’t want giant long lemon ribbons dangling of you tarte slice.

One Response to “Shortcut Tarte”

  1. delicious chronicles Says:

    i need to eat those berries, they are delicious… here in california berry season is over, due to the summer heat…

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