One of my dear friends is a fellow fan of America's Test Kitchen (I get many of my best recipes from them). She recently invited me to dinner, luring me with a promise of excellent company and the ATK Chicago-style deep dish pizza.* Even though I had about a million things going on that weekend, it was an offer I could not refuse.
I hate to show up empty-handed, so I offered to bring dessert. I had mulled over a number of options, but somehow I found myself on I35E, fighting DFW traffic to get home, about 2 hours before our dinner date ... without a clear plan. I had limited time to prepare anything, I had no idea what I had in the house, and I didn't have a single recipe on my person.
I was going to have to wing it.
This low-effort, informal, but incredibly tasty berry tart is what I ended up with. It certainly isn't the most elegant dish I've ever created, but it was just sweet enough, while still being light, to punctuate the decadent dinner. When you're dashing about -- or maybe when you're just feeling a little lazy -- whip it up and enjoy it with a good friend.
* I'll share that gem of a recipe with you all sometime in the future ... I promise.
Hurry Scurry Berry Tart
9 sheets of graham crackers (18 squares)
1/3 c. butter (melted)
1/4 c. sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese*
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
18-20 oz. fresh berries (I used blackberries and raspberries)
1/4 c. seedless preserves (blackberry/raspberry/strawberry/apricot)
* I used mascarpone because that's what I bought on my mad dash through the grocery store. In retrospect, I image cream cheese would have worked nearly as well (and been a bit less expensive).
Rinse berries (removing any stems or bad berries) and spread in a single layer on a few paper towels to dry.
For the crust: Preheat oven to 375. Process crackers in food processor until you have fine crumbs. Pulse in sugar and then melted butter. Turn wet crumb mixture into 9 inch pie plate (or tart pan) and press gently into bottom and up sides. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes.
For the filling: While the crust bakes, combine the mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form.
Remove crust from oven, and stick bowl of whipped filling in refrigerator. Allow everything to cool/chill/dry for about 30 minutes.
Spread filling in crust. Arrange berries on top. Melt preserves in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Using pastry brush, spread liquid preserves over berries.
Chill another hour before serving.