I love recipes like this. It looks super fancy, but is actually pretty simple, and once you know how to make it, you can create a million different tarts.
It’s like this:
Braised dried fruit + whipped mascarpone (or other sweet cheese) + shortbread crust.
So imagine this:
Braised dried cherries + whipped cream cheese + chocolate shortbread crust
Braised dried peaches + whipped mascarpone + lavender shortbread crust
Braised dried blueberries + whipped mascarpone with lemon + rosemary shortbread crust
You can go a little crazy with it.
I love this version though. It taste like a lighter, brighter cheesecake and the fruit is fall apart tender. People freak out over them, so be warned!
For two 8 inch tarts or one 9 x 13 pan of bars
1 1/2 pounds pitted apricots (or any dried fruit) (about 50)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange peel
3 cups dry white wine (red wine is great with prunes, dried cherries or currants, any red fruit really)
1 pound mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup reduced apricot liquid
INGREDIENTS (SHORTBREAD CRUST)
2 cups all purpose flour
8 oz unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Pre Heat oven to 350F
For the crust, work together the flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt until it forms a dough. If making tarts, divide the dough in half. Sprinkle your work area with flour and roll out each ball of dough to about 1/4 thick and 10 inches wide. Lay each dough over a fluted tart pan and press the dough in. Add a piece of parchment to the bottom of each tart pan on top of the dough, and add pie weights or dried beans to keep everything in place. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, remove the parchment and weights, and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove and cool.
If making bars, spread the dough on the bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking dish lined with parchment folded over the sides (this is for easy bar removal) and pat down so it’s evenly distributed. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown, remove, and cool.
Combine apricots, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel and wine in a pot over medium-high heat. When mixture boils, reduce to simmer and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until liquid has turned to syrup and the fruit is completely tender. You should be able to cut and bite through it without much effort. If it needs more time, cook it for another 5 minutes and test it again. Set aside a half cup of the liquid, and set aside the fruit until it cools to room temp (you don’t want it to melt the cheese when you combine everything).
Whip the mascarpone with vanilla, sugar and liquid. Spread over the shortbread crust. Top with apricots in a pretty pattern. Brush with left over syrup to make it glisten.
If you’re making this ahead, pop it in the fridge and take it out about 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off.