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Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Tart

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Recipe & Photos by: Mehreen Karim

Strawberry season is finally upon us, along with celebratory summer occasions like Mothers Day and Memorial Day—this dessert is a refreshing and unique treat guaranteed to impress anyone who steals a bite. 

Mehreen's strawberry pink peppercorn tart draws on inspiration from her mom's many confectionary innovations--known for her cheesecake fruit tarts where she uses a sugar cookie crust. The vanilla wafer crust riffs off of this component. Pink peppercorn’s distinct fruity fragrance enhances everything you know and love about custard fruit tarts, especially topped with fresh strawberries and Mehreen's whipped mascarpone cream. 

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Tart

Ingredients

Crust:

9 oz of vanilla wafers, or biscuit of choice

¼ cup sugar

12 Tbsp butter

Custard Filling: 

½ cup sugar 

¼ cups cornstarch

1 tsp Spicewalla Pink Peppercorn

pinch of salt

2 cups milk room temperature

4 yolks

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp butter

Topping:

8 oz mascarpone cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

1 ¼ cup heavy cream

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

fresh strawberries

Directions

  1. Prepare the crust ahead of time: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Blend the wafers and sugar in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of sand. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Place the mixture in a medium sized bowl and stir in the butter until mostly combined. Press the buttery crust mixture into a 10 inch springform pan, ensuring a compact and even layer in the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. In medium sized saucepan, add the sugar and cornstarch and whisk together—getting rid of any clumps of cornstarch. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind the pink peppercorn to release its aromas and oils. Add the roughly ground pink peppercorn and pinch of salt to the saucepan. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together until completely combined and no streaks of egg remain. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat.
  4. Continue to whisk until the custard thickens, about 5-8 minutes. When the whisk begins to leave lasting streak marks in the custard, turn off the heat, add the vanilla and butter, and continue to whisk until combined. Pour the custard through a sieve into a wide bowl or baking dish. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let cool for at least 2 hours.
  5. Once the crust and custard filling are completely cooled and chilled, make the whipped mascarpone cream: Using an electric mixer whip the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar on high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy. While the mixer runs on low speed, slowly stream in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 
  6. Decorate your tart using fresh strawberries and the whipped mascarpone cheese. Let set in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
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