seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean (pod reserved for filling, below)
1egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1whole egg, beaten well (for brushing the tart, the remainder reserved for the tart filling)
The mascarpone filling:
zest of 1 (meyer) lemon
1/2cupsugar(4 ounces, 110 grams)
15lemon verbena leaves (fresh or dried)
1/2vanilla pod (left over from crust, above)
remainder of egg from washing crust (above)
2pintsstrawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
1 - 2tablespoonssugar
a handful of mint leaves
Make and blind-bake the crust:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Rub in the butter and vanilla bean seeds until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Sprinkle over the egg yolk/water mixture and continue working the dough with your fingertips until it begins to clump together. Press the clumps into a ball, flatten into a 6" disc, and slip into a plastic bag. Let rest in the fridge for at least 40 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper into a 12" round, turning and flouring the parchment as needed. Lift the dough into a 9" tart pan with removable bottom (mine cracked and split a whole lot) and ease into the corners of the pan. Trim the overhang to 1", then fold over the edge and press to form a double layer. Trim the crust flush with (or a tad higher than) the pan sides. (Wrap up and save any dough scraps in case you need to patch a hole in the bottom of the crust after baking.) Cover the tart with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes until firm.
While the dough is chilling, position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 375ºF (190ºC). Line the frozen tart shell with parchment paper, then with pie weights (or dried beans or clean pennies). Bake the shell in the oven until set, and the sides are beginning to color, 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, and bake the tart until the bottom turns golden, 5 - 10 more minutes. Remove the shell, brush with the egg wash, and bake another minute to set the egg wash (this creates a barrier between shell and custard filling, preventing the shell from softening). Remove the shell. Patch any holes with a bit of reserved dough scraps if necessary.
While the tart shell is baking, make the filling:
In a small saucepan, rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Add the cream, and place over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until the cream is warm and steamy (don't boil). Remove from the heat, add the lemon verbena leaves and vanilla bean, and steep for 20-30 minutes.
Combine the egg yolks and remainder of the egg from washing the crust in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg/cream mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Place the mascarpone in the large bowl, then pour in few tablespoons of the cream mixture, and whisk smooth. Continue like this, adding the cream mixture to the mascarpone bit by bit and whisking smooth after each addition, until is it all combined.
Bake the tart:
Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF (162ºC). Place the baked and washed tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips) and set on the rack in the oven towards the front. Carefully pour in the filling, slide the pan back into the middle of the oven, and close the door. Bake the tart until the filling is lightly puffed and wobbles when shaken gently (but doesn't appear wet or watery), about 30 - 35 minutes (check at 20 minutes, then every 5 minutes after).
Remove the tart from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature, 1 - 2 hours. Remove the sides of the pan (easily accomplished by setting the tart on a large can and letting the sides fall away) and slice the tart into wedges.
Toss the strawberries in a bowl with sugar to taste, and let sit to macerate for 15 minutes. Stack the mint leaves, roll up lengthwise, then slice thinly crosswise. Toss into the berries.
Serve slices of the tart with the minted berries. The tart tastes best the day that it is baked, at room temperature, but it will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Adapted from Jamie Magazine.I used the original tart shell recipe (adapted, below), but if I made this again, I would go with this press-in crust, with the seeds from half a vanilla been rubbed in, as I found it both easier and tastier. The choice is yours.While delicious plain, this tart would make a handsome foil for any number of fruits: poached rhubarb, blueberry coulis, blood orange supremes, or poached sour cherries would all be divine in place of the minted strawberries. I loved the fruity undertones of the apple mint, but spearmint, lemon balm or basil would all go nicely with the berries as well.Nutritional values are based on one of ten servings.