This weekend I made strawberry crostinis. I got a new cookbook, and I couldn’t resist this recipe. They are perfect for a simple dessert that isn’t too sweet. They would also work for an appetizer with their small size. They seem complex, but don’t let that deter you. They are easy to make, and even easier to eat. I brought mine to church, and they were all gone before everyone even got there. Good thing this recipe makes about 2 dozen!
Ingredients Fig & Olive
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
Scant 1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup raw sugar
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 pint mascarpone (I used ricotta)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup balsamic
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp black currant jam
Making the cookies
1. Place the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix for 3 minutes, starting on low speed, gradually working up to medium. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then whip for an additional 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy; scrape sides again.
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature and cut into small pieces so it can be mixed to a creamy texture.
2. Add the seeds from vanilla beans and half the flour. Mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, mixing until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
3. Place the dough on a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet and form into a firm 2 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch rectangular log. Wrap with plastic and freeze for at least 2 hours.
- I am not good with hand-held forming, so mine turned out more rectangular then square, but in the end they still tasted great.
4. Unwrap log, lightly brush it with the egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Rewrap and place in the refrigerator to set, 1 hour.
- While the dough is chilling, cut the strawberries. Cut the top off and then put the top on the cutting board, slicing each strawberry about 5 slices.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Using a sharp knife, slice the cookies 1/4 inch thick and arrange on the tray 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cookies rest for 1 hour before serving.
Making the Mascarpone Cream
1. Place the mascarpone, seeds from vanilla bean and confectioner’s sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and combine until smooth (5-10 seconds). Be careful not to over mix, as mascarpone will “break”. Refrigerate immediately.
- I substituted mascarpone with ricotta for two reasons. One, I went to Stater Brothers and could not find mascarpone. Two, I don’t like the taste. If you have never had mascarpone, it tastes like whipped cream with a cream cheese texture. I prefer ricotta; it has a milder taste.
Making the Balsamic Glaze
1. Place the balsamic, brown sugar and jam in a pot over medium heat. Simmer to reduce until the mixture nearly reaches a maple syrup consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the glaze as this happens quickly.
- Balsamic will boil over, so make sure you stir it every once in awhile.
Spread 1 teaspoon mascarpone on each cookie, top with strawberries and drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon balsamic syrup. These can be assembled, wrapped, and kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 hours.
- I made everything ahead of time and then assembled it all in the morning.
I thought they would be great for more of an adult-only affair, but I served them to some kids and they seemed to love them as well. The cookie doesn’t quite crumble, but it is crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. The creaminess of the mascarpone mixed with the juicy strawberries, then the burst of the balsamic syrup that is drizzled sporadically on the cookie gives it the perfect balance of flavor. What I thought might be a difficult recipe turned out to be quite simple.