Sweet surrender with a strawberry, basil and mascarpone tart

BEING 26 weeks' pregnant in the middle of summer, I am definitely feeling it, that's for sure.

I haven't seen my ankles for a few weeks now, but I do love to stay active and do busy shifts at the restaurant. I feel amazing and I can't complain, so I think it's good for everyone.

What else is good - well, what I crave anyway - is beautiful, yummy, sweet desserts.

Throughout summer there is an abundance of fresh fruit available and there are always five different types of fruit in our fridge, which is great for my cravings; one day it's an apricot, the next watermelon or papaw.

Recently I created a delicious strawberry, basil and mascarpone tart. It was very refreshing and even the sausage man enjoyed it.

It may be a different type of flavour combination you have never tried, but I recommend it.

Hope you give this a go some time this summer - it will surprise friends and family. Enjoy.

Strawberry, basil and mascarpone tart


1½ cups plain flour

125g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped into cubes

1/3 cup icing sugar

1 egg yolk

Cold water. Filling:

165g mascarpone

250ml cream

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 vanilla bean

1-2 punnets strawberries

½ cup pistachios, toasted

1 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 tbs honey

METHOD: Pastry: Place flour, icing sugar and butter cubes into a food processor and blitz until they look like breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and blitz again. If the pastry doesn't form a ball in the processor, then slowly drizzle a small amount of cold water as it's running. Once the pastry is done, it will form a ball to one side of the processor. Place pastry on a floured bench and bring together softly - do not knead.

Wrap the pastry in lightly floured cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the pastry has been cooled in the fridge, prepare a rectangle fluted tart tin or a 23cm round fluted tart tin by spraying it with oil. Roll out the pastry on a piece of floured baking paper in the shape of the tin until it's about 3-4mm thick. Then flip the baking paper over on to the tin, slowly remove the baking paper and press the pastry into all edges, trimming the pastry to leave a little over the top. Place back into the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Take out pastry and line with baking paper, add weights such as rice or baking weights, and then place into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and baking paper and continue to bake for 12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely - trim any edges to level up.

Filling: In a bowl whip the mascarpone until slightly fluffy, then add the cream and whip on medium to high until quite stiff but not over-whipped. Stir in honey and taste, add more if you wish, then pour this mixture into your cooled tart case and slightly even out. In a small bowl mix together balsamic vinegar and vanilla bean. Cut strawberries in halves, place in the balsamic mix and allow to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain. Carefully push the strawberries into the filling with the biggest part in the cream, continue until the entire tart is done. Crush your toasted pistachios and sprinkle over the tart, then finish with finely chopped basil leaves. Place in the fridge to firm up and cool down or serve immediately.

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