I feel like I am in a constant rotation of buying ingredients to cook with, many of which I’m not used to having around, and then looking up recipes that will enable me to use up the remaining ingredients from the last recipe. Sound familiar to anyone else? I know I’m not the only one searching for how to use the bunch of cilantro as big as a bouquet of flowers, or the random half container of crème fraiche that you can’t bear to throw out because it cost nearly $5 (btw, it’s amazing whipped into extra garlicky mashed potatoes). This last week was mascarpone, which I bought to spread on some crusty bread and make fancy-ish tomato bruschetta, and then promptly ate up all the crusty bread so I was left with an almost full container of mascarpone. I somehow never remember that crusty bread barely lasts a few days around me. Perfect for toast, perfect for dipping in soup, perfect slathered in butter with a sprinkling of sea salt. But that’s beside the point.
Onto the computer I went searching for alternative uses for mascarpone. Tie in the fact that it was supposed to be 100 degrees over the weekend and I don’t have air conditioning, so anything that sounded hot or difficult was out. I eventually stumbled upon a recipe for Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart from Smitten Kitchen that began with Deb mentioning her desire to cook something that was almost-ovenless during the heat of the summer, so I was instantly sold. Plus it allowed me to use up my entire container of mascarpone, checking off all my boxes.
After reading through the comments I noticed that Deb mentioned a possible variation on this with mango slices instead of nectarine and lime zest in the filling instead of lemon. I just happened to have a perfectly ripe mango sitting around, as well as some fresh strawberries to garnish with so I decided to go all out and just make the mango version.
The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the tart to chill before you can dig in. Since this takes a little time to set and cool in the fridge, I baked the crust in the morning when it wasn’t so hot out and then let it sit until it was time for dinner, occasionally peeking at it in anticipation.
I didn’t think the gingersnap crust would go as well with the mango, plus I’m partial to graham cracker crusts anyway. I added more butter to the crust because I found the 6 tablespoons wasn’t quite enough to keep it from feeling too dry and crumbly.
Mango & Strawberry Tart- Serves 12 – Variation from Smitten Kitchen
Baking time: 8 minutes; Prep Time: 15 minutes; Waiting time: 2 hr minimum
- 9 oz honey graham crackers (about 15)
- 7-8 oz unsalted butter, melted
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp grated lime peel
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ripe mango, skinned, pitted and sliced thinly
- 6-8 medium strawberries, washed and sliced lengthwise
- Optional mint for decoration
For crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind graham crackers in a food processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Bake crust until color darkens, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
For filling: Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread filling in prepared crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
For topping: Overlap mango slices in a circle around the center point of the pan. Place sliced strawberries to fill in around the edge. Garnish with a strawberry or sprig of mint. Serve, or refrigerate up to 6 hours.
I skipped out on the addition of jam to the topping simply because I didn’t have anything that would go well, but I do know of a delicious Tangy Mango and Lime that would be perfect for this, find it here from We Love Jam.
This tart is perfect for summer days, it’s comes together in basically three steps (make crust, make filling, make it pretty) and is cool, refreshing and perfectly balanced: fruity, cheesy, and buttery. I could eat the whole pan, and might not even regret it.