A Loaf of Bread, a Glass of Wine and Candles dessert desserts food and romance romance romantic meals spring strawberries

And Now For the Other Sure Sign of Spring

Yes, my roses are beginning to bloom but that’s not the sign I’m talking about although there is a relationship between my roses and this subject.  Strawberries, now beginning to show up in the market and another of my favorite signs of the season, are members of the rose family. The berries now in the markets are actually pretty good. Of course, they’re not the heavenly local ones but I’m itching for the taste of berries so I’m making do with what I can get until the real things come along.

Strawberries are almost as popular as chocolate as a romantic food. Maybe it’s because they wear their fertility–their seeds–where we can all see them, not hidden away. Maybe it’s the evocative shape or the red color. Maybe it’s the juiciness of a perfectly ripe berry.

Or maybe it’s just they taste so darn sweet. Does it matter?

There are dozens of ways to serve them, from the simple–sliced with a dab of whipped cream on top–to the earthy–mixed in a pie with rhubarb. Here’s one way that’s a bit more sophisticated.

strawberry tart

Strawberry/Mascarpone Tart

Serves 4-5

1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted

3/4 cup whipping cream

8 oz. mascarpone cheese at room temperature

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

1 cup lemon curd

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/3 cup fruit preserves–your choice

For the crust  (instructions from the Pepperidge Farm website)

1. Heat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Sprinkle work surface with flour. Unfold the pastry sheet onto floured surface and cut in half. Place 1/2 on baking sheet. Refrigerate other 1/2 for another use.

3. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes.

For the Filling

1. Whip cream until thickened but not stiff.

2. Add mascarpone cheese and sugar. Mix well.

3. Heat preserves until thinned and mix with berries.

To assemble

1. Layer lemon curd onto cooled pastry shell.

2. Spoon mascarpone/whipped cream onto shell.

3. Top with berries

Chill. Slice. Enjoy.