Saturday, March 22, 2014

Strawberry & Mascarpone Pie with Balsamic Jelly

Shortbread. Strawberries. Mascarpone. Balsamic.

No other three ingredients work together so perfectly, so heavenly, as these four.

This pie has many different aspects to it, and so may seem a bit tedious at first. But to be frank, each aspect is so incredibly simple that “tedious” doesn’t even enter into it.

If you don’t have baking beans or rice lying around, you can bake the crust without the foil et cetera, it simply means that the sides won’t stay as high. However, the filling is quite firm, so it’s won’t slide or slip or seep off the base if the sides aren’t that high to encase it.

I made this pie for my housemate’s birthday and it was a big hit! There was a bit of trepidation when I mentioned “Balsamic Jelly” but once they took their first bite they were hooked!

Completely off topic – I am currently wearing a white blouse and eating a burrito. I like to live dangerously.

1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
1 tsp sugar

1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
125g butter

500g mascarpone
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 leaves gelatine

What Now?

The Topping

1.         In a small bowl, toss the strawberries and sugar together until combined.

2.         Refrigerate and allow to macerate for at least one hour.

The Crust

3.         Preheat oven to 160C and lightly grease a tart dish.

4.         Mix together the plain flour, caster sugar and butter until it comes together as a dough.

5.         Press the dough into the prepared tart dish to create an even layer along the bottom of the dish, and up against the sides. Cover the dough with foil, and pour in baking beans or rice.

6.         Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, and then remove and set aside to cool.

7.         Once the crust has cooled, remove the baking beans/rice and foil.

The Jelly

8.         In a small saucepan over a low heat, dissolve the sugar into the balsamic vinegar. Add more sugar as required, depending on your palate.  Do not boil or allow to simmer.

9.         Prepare the gelatine leaves according to packet instructions and then stir into to the sweetened balsamic.

10.       Set aside to cool to room temperature.

The Filling

11.       Using an electric beater, mix together the mascarpone, vanilla essence, caster sugar and salt until well combined.

The Construction

12.       Spread the mascarpone filling over the crust as evenly as possible.

13.       Layer the strawberries over the pie filling.

14.       Carefully spoon the cooled jelly over the strawberries. Any remaining jelly, set aside in the fridge to cool.

15.       Pop the pie into the fridge to allow the jelly to set.

16.       Once the pie and jelly is set, slice the pie into portions and serve with small spoons of balsamic jelly.