Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

This Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream is supermodel gorgeous, rich and creamy, balanced by the bright citrusy flavor of lemon curd. And super-duper easy to make!

[We’ve been running around this week literally spinning plates and juggling knives, so here’s a repost from a few years back. It’s one of our absolute favorites from the blog, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser whenever we make it. It’s super-easy, and, other than the crust, doesn’t need baking. We just planted our own redcurrant bushes this year, so we’re hopeful that within a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough gorgeous berries to decorate a tart entirely from our garden.]

Besides being nerdy about movies, television and all things culinary, Matt and I both share a dorky fascination with etymology (the history of words). I’ve written about my most hated words in a previous post (which had to be titled Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad because Matt despises the word ‘slaw’). Now I thought we’d list some of our favorites (join us and write yours in the comments!).

Emily: Luminescent, gloaming, nixed, defenestration

Matt: Ramble, button, spandrel, pickle

“Great,” you mumble. “But can I have the recipe for that tart now?”

“Tart! Now there’s a good word.” I reply, causing you to sigh and glance at your watch. “Earliest usage: noun, 14th century, from Old French tarte ‘flat, open-topped pastry’, possibly an alteration of torte, from Latin torta.”

“Interesting,” you say, barely able to mask your exasperation. “Do I pre-bake the crust or–”

“Second usage: adjective, 15th century, meaning “having a sharp taste.”

“Does it use eggs? How many lemons should I get?”

“Third usage!” A waggle of my eyebrows at which you purse your lips and begin googling other recipes. “1887, ‘prostitute, immoral woman’. To ‘tart-up’ (slang) to adorn or decorate, especially in a flamboyant manner.”

Pause for dramatic effect.

“So what you have here,” I conclude, “is a tart, tarted-up tart.”

Ba-dum-tish (cue crickets).

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Besides being super-model gorgeous, this summer berry tart is also incredibly delicious. It’s rich and creamy but not overwhelming so, balanced by the bright citrusy flavor of lemon curd. The best part about it though is that it’s super-duper easy to make. Seriously, I mean it.

You don’t even have to bake it (other than browning the crust for a few minutes). Mix some stuff together, pour it into the cooled shell and chill it. You can do that, right? Of course you can.

Speaking of the crust, I was all set to make a standard pastry dough but it was hot in the kitchen and I had just spent 3 hours photographing fruit and tomatoes so I was beat. I decided to go with my favorite graham cracker crust and I’m SO glad I did. It’s perfect, it’s easy and it tastes divine.

Btw, Matt is MUCH better at anything pastry related so I always leave the crust to him, if he’s around.

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone CreamOnce the tart is chilled, you can decorate it with summer berries as I did, or spread on a thin layer of lemon curd or jam and swirl it, or just sprinkle a little lemon zest over it and call it a day.

I just couldn’t resist these strawberries, raspberries and red currants which were flaunting themselves shamelessly, practically begging to be photographed in a Dionysian display. If this fruit were any more flamboyant, it would be headlining its own show in Vegas.

Summer Berries

Summer Berries

Nerd Tips:
  • You can make your own lemon curd or use a good store-bought variety. The sweetness can vary dramatically so taste the whipped cream mixture before you add the extra lemon juice.
  • If you can’t find graham crackers, digestive biscuits are a great substitute.
  • The crust can be made up to a day ahead and stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, until you’re ready to assemble the rest of the berry tart.
  • You can use a round, square or rectangular tart pan, as long as it has a removable bottom.
  • If you want the fruit to have that fancy, shiny look you see on French pastry, brush the fruit with a little strawberry jam that you’ve thinned with a teaspoon or two of warm water.

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • For the Crust:
  • 12 whole graham crackers (1½ cups, 7oz)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (85g)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (34g)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • For the Mascarpone Filling:
  • ¾ cup whipping cream (180ml)
  • 1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ cup lemon curd, home-made or store bought (120ml)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from half a lemon)
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice (optional, to taste)
  • For the Berry Topping: Note: use whatever berries you like best
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced or halved
  • ½ pint raspberries
  • Mint leaves for garnish
For the crust (you’ll need a 9½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom):
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F
  2. Place the crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Add the salt, sugar and melted butter and process again until well combined.
  3. Place the crumbs into the tart pan and evenly spread the crumbs so that they cover the bottom of the pan and sides. Press down on the bottom firmly to make a compact layer. Use your fingers to pinch and press some of the crumbs around the inside edge of the pan to cover the sides evenly and create a rim about a ¼ inch thick. Bake the crust until it’s golden brown and smells nutty, about 10 minutes. Set the baked crust on a rack and let cool. Note: The crust can be made up to a day ahead and stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic.
For the Lemon Mascarpone filling:
  1. Beat the cream and cream cheese together on high speed with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the softened mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until mixed well (don’t over-beat, mascarpone can separate). Add the lemon curd and lemon zest and mix on low until just combined. Taste and if you want more tartness, add the lemon juice.
  2. Pour the cream mixture into the cooled tart crust and level it with an offset spatula or butter knife. Chill for at least 3 hours (overnight is fine too). Top the tart with the berries and garnish with mint leaves if desired. Serve chilled (I like to take it out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving).