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Mascarpone Torte with Autumn Fruit

From Italian Cooking and Living, October/November 2004


The secret to this colorful torte is to choose the freshest fruit in season. Experiment with figs, grapes, kiwi and apricots. Or try flavorful combinations with citrus and tropical fruits such as oranges, bananas and pineapple, or a delightful and bright berry combo of strawberries, blackberries, cherries and blueberries. A perfect centerpiece for the holiday table, this delicate and beautiful dessert will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
    flour for dusting
    1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
    8 ounces mascarpone
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    6 tablespoons brandy, divided
    11/4 cups heavy cream
    1/2 cup apricot jam
    14 hulled strawberries, plus 1
    1/2 cup raspberries
    1/2 cup blueberries
    3 kiwi, peeled and sliced
    1 peach, peeled, pit removed, and cut into wedges
    8 blackberries
    5 cherries
Preheat the oven to 375. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry dough, and shape it into a thin 9-inch disk. Place in a 9-inch pie pan lined with parchment paper, and bake in the oven until it puffs up and is golden on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, fold 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar into the mascarpone. Add the vanilla, and pour in 1/4 cup of the brandy. Mix, and set aside.

In a chilled bowl and using a whisk, whip the heavy cream until medium peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apricot jam with the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy. Cook, whisking often, until the jam dissolves and the glaze is uniform. Keep warm over very low heat while you assemble the torte.

Spread the mascarpone cream onto the surface and sides of the puff pastry.

Arrange the fresh fruit (reserving 1 whole strawberry) on the surface of the torte. Slice the reserved strawberry, and fan it out on the top of the torte. Using your hands, distribute the slivered almonds around the sides of the frosted torte. To finish, brush the fruit with the warm apricot glaze. Serve immediately, or refrigerate. Serves 8



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