I was going to visit my friend Doug for fourth of July weekend, and his birthday. I rented a car for the trip to his remote country house. There are no stores near his house for miles and miles.
His kitchen has few accoutrements, not even a range. So I did my grocery shopping in the city accordingly. I made sure whatever foods I bought for the weekend needed no other preparation than could be accommodated by a hot plate, electric skillet, sink and refrigerator. We were out to have fun and relax.
I didn’t want to make the long journey with a fragile ready-made birthday cake. I wanted something special and easy. I considered the holiday and the colors, the weather and the sensation of summer. In the supermarket, I eyed a naked sponge cake among the piles of fresh, ripe berries. A fast and festive fruit tart came to mind.
Fast & Festive Fruit Tart
All of the ingredients can be found in almost any supermarket. Pre-made sponge cakes are usually displayed in the fresh fruit area of the produce aisles. Lemon curd is available in the jam and jelly section, and mascarpone cheese and creme fraiche can be found in the dairy case next to the cream cheese.
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature.
- 8 ounces creme fraiche, at room temperature
- 1 12 ounce jar of lemon curd, at room temperature
- 1 large sponge cake round, or 8 small ones
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and halved
- 2 pints of fresh mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and creme fraiche until smooth. In another small bowl, whisk the lemon curd until homogeneous.
- In the center of the sponge cake, make a mound of the creme and cheese mixture. With the back of a tablespoon, slowly spread the mixture in a circular motion to the edge of the sponge cake. With a clean spoon, carefully apply the lemon curd over the cheese mixture, leaving a small ring of the the creme showing.
- Arrange the berries over the top of the tart, alternating colors and textures. The tart can be prepared ahead and chilled, or serve at once with coffee, tea or champagne.
Serves 6 – 10 people