Strawberry Chocolate Tarty Pie

Strawberry Chocolate Tarty Pie

This past weekend, my local grocery store had strawberries on sale:  buy one pint, get one free.  I’m always a  sucker for those deals even though I do take the time to look and see how much the “one” costs and whether it will be anything remotely like what I’d call a deal.

The strawberries were remarkably red, deliciously sweet, and many were larger than the lemons I have in my fruit bowl.  I don’t know that I’ve seen strawberries that large before so knew when it came down to celebrating Pi Day which is being hosted by Kitchen Parade, I’d have to celebrate with strawberries.

This turned out to be the perfect choice because I found myself not able to fit my berries on the top of my pie in the way I originally imagined I might.  Their circumference was such that much of my filling was left showing, leaving oddly shaped polygons or complex quadrilaterals everywhere, and many, many berries leftover that I wasn’t sure about what to do with.  Eating them like apples would have been a great option!

My son, who was sitting at the counter doing his Trigonometry homework, enjoyed my theatrics, watching as I placed a few strawberries, and then had to remove each one.  Of course they were coated with dark, creamy filling at this point, so he knew he’d have the enviable task of eating those lovely berries while I chose others that might fit properly.

If I’d done my math properly, or more honestly, done my math at all, I would have known that my effort was futile long before having to cut the berries in half and completely redoing the top of this decadent pie.

It’s nice to know that having a bit more respect for mathematics than I do might make life in my kitchen easier.

This is a truly excellent treat.  The shortcrust pastry shell, which was a perfect choice for this if I might say so myself, provided such a pleasant crunch and held up well under the moist filling.  The chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet strawberries, with the mascarpone providing a bit of tartness and the Cointreau a slightly citrusy tang.  It doesn’t keep as well  as I would have liked, so plan on enjoying it quickly before the strawberries lose their loveliness.

Strawberry Chocolate Tarty Pie

Shortcrust Pastry Pie Shell

Some notes on this crust to beginThis is a very soft dough which will not end up as a flaky crust.  It’s important to use very cold ingredients and to make sure they’re well blended but not over processed.  Speaking of processing, the use of a food processor makes this so easy and quick, and if you don’t have time to make the entire tart at a given time, it can be refrigerated longer or even frozen for later use.  Although you may want to roll this dough, decide instead to use your hands.  Have some patience and just press away.  It’s remarkably forgiving and will allow you to push it wherever you’d like it to go.  To ensure that the crust stays in the form you’ve created, use foil or parchment and pie weights or dried beans — lots of them — making sure that they press across the bottom and up against the sides of the crust.  This will keep it in place as it bakes and the butter begins to melt.  The egg brushed over the nearly finished shell will seal it and help it keep from getting soggy after the filling is added. 

1/2 c. very cold unsalted butter
2 T granulated sugar
2 eggs (1 for the dough and 1 for brushing on the crust)
1 T ice water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

Using a food processor, combine butter and sugar in the bowl and process until smooth making sure sides are scraped down when necessary.

Add the egg, ice water, and salt and continue to process about 2 minutes more until smooth and well blended.

Add the flour and process until a ball is formed, remove from bowl, shape into a disk and wrap well in plastic.  Chill for at least an hour before baking.

Using a 9″ springform pan press dough evenly across the bottom of the pan and up the sides about 1 to 1-1/2 inch.  The sides should be about 1/4″ thick.  Place the dough into the freezer for about 5 or 10 minutes to chill before lining it with a piece of foil and filling with pie weights.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven, brush all over with beaten egg and return to oven for 3 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely on a rack.

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
8 oz. mascarpone
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
3 T Cointreau
1-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 c. red currant jelly, melted

In the top of a double boiler over boiling water, combine chocolate, mascarpone and butter until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in confectioner’s sugar and Cointreau.  Spread evenly over pie shell and let cool.

In the meantime PLAN your placement of strawberries.

To conclude, place strawberries on top of the filling.  They will sink a bit.  Melt the red currant jelly over low heat, and using a basting brush, slather over the berries.  Chill for two hours before serving.