The wonderful thing about this Celebration Cream Tart from Astrid Field’s book “High Tea at Home” is that you need no fancy equipment or skills to make it!
You can make the biscuits into numbers, letters or any shape you like (with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I naturally chose to do a heart). You can find all sorts of stencils online to print out and use to cut the dough, or even free-hand something yourself.
- For the Biscuit:
- • 185g cold salted butter (¾ cup)
- • 200g castor sugar (225ml)
- • 350g flour (2½ cups)
- • 7,5ml lemon zest (1½ tsp)
- • 1 large egg &1 large egg yolk
- For the Mascarpone Cream:
- • 250ml cream (1 cup)
- • 100g icing sugar, sifted (200ml)
- • 5ml vanilla extract (1 tsp)
- • 500g mascarpone (2 cups)
- To decorate:
- • Strawberries or other chopped fruit
- • A variety of sweets, meringues and chocolates
- • Edible flowers
To make the biscuit, place the butter, castor sugar, flour and lemon zest in a food processor. Blitz until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency. (Or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to rub the flour and sugar into the butter, then add the lemon zest). Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk together, then add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Divide into 2 flat discs, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Print/draw and cut out your templates. There is enough dough to make 4 number biscuits (each number being roughly A4 in size) or 2 large hearts (about 25cm x 25cm) with some dough leftover. Working with 1 disc of dough, roll the biscuit dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Trace around your template and remove excess dough with a knife. Try to keep the edges as neat as possible! If the dough is too sticky after rolling, freeze it for 5 min before cutting out your shape.
Carefully transfer to a baking tray (together with the underlayer of baking paper). Prick all over with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Any leftover dough can be frozen for up to 3 months).
Preheat the oven to 170°C and bake the biscuits, one tray at a time, for 10-15 minutes. Watch closely and remove as soon as they start to brown around the edges. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then gently remove and cool completely on a cooling rack. You can store the biscuits in an airtight container (if you have one large enough!) for up to 4 days.
To make the mascarpone cream, whip the cream with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar until soft peaks form. Gently beat the mascarpone until softened, then add remaining icing sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Do not overmix. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined. Place into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and refrigerate until needed.
When you are ready to assemble, place the first biscuit onto the serving platter or cake board.
Pipe two rows of "kisses" to cover the entire surface of the biscuit, keeping them all the same size. Gently place the next biscuit on top, then repeat. Use your fruit, sweets and flowers to decorate the tarts as desired, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Once decorated, the tart is best served the same day, as the biscuit will start to soften in the fridge.