Strawberry and Mascarpone Galette with Sweet Balsamic and Black Pepper

Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table

Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table

‘Just begin, and the mind grows heated. Continue and the task will be completed’. So said Goethe.

‘The hardest step is always the first step’. So said someone else. Not quite as eloquent as Goethe, clearly. But same gist. 

This is true of life. Of the seemingly un-doable. Of the first word on a blank page. Of tasks topping your to do list.

It is true of the kitchen too. Often, ask me what I’m going to make when I first step into my kitchen, and I couldn’t tell you. But then, apples poised in a bowl call out for golden sugar and morph into apple pie, eggs into meringue, carrots into cake.

Creating seems impossible. Until you’ve started. Then it’s second nature. Before you know it, you’re on a path that is untrodden, yet feels comfortingly familiar. Somehow, you’re confident of where you’re going. Ingredients call upon other ingredients – apples need walnuts, carrots cry out for almonds. A puzzle slots together, and with each piece the end picture grows more clear. You can’t imagine cooking any differently.

I find immense satisfaction in this process. There are few pleasures like it.

Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table

Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table


Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table

A moment like these was the genesis of this simple galette. Fresh strawberries sighted the market. A bottle of balsamic vinegar lurking at the back of the cupboard. The really good kind. From Modena. A pinch of black pepper as an afterthought, but an inspired one – by then the mind had grown ‘heated’. Mascarpone, a necessary addition. Lighter than whipped cream, and blunter in flavour. Cheese and fruit marry well. The pastry – I’ll be honest – shop bought. Although, in retrospect, I regret not making my own. Like here.

Completed, the galette was a triumph. Each individual component enhancing – and, in turn, enhanced by – it’s neighbour. Regal in it’s gleaming crimson hues. Natural in the unadulterated white of the mascarpone topping. Think a rustic milefeuille: all the exquisite flavour of the puff, delicate cream, sweet fruit – but without the fancy layers.

Strawberry & Mascarpone Gallette with Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper - From My Dining Table

Surely, Goethe would approve.

Strawberry and Mascarpone Galette with Balsamic and Black Pepper
Serves 8
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
  2. 600g strawberries
  3. 3 tbsps caster sugar
  4. 1 1/2 tbsps good quality balsamic vinegar
  5. generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  7. one sheet (roughly 250g) of puff pastry
  8. 1 egg
  9. 500g mascarpone
  10. 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Prepare the strawberries: slice off the stalk and quarter them. Throw them into a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle with the balsamic. Toss well, so that all the fruit is coated in jus and leave them to macerate for at least 15 mins. Then add the black pepper, stir and leave to rest for at least a further 5 mins.
  2. Line a baking tray with paper, roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle (roughly 1cm thick), and lay on the tray. Use the back of a knife to trace a rectangle shape at the centre of the pastry sheet, at roughly 2cm from the edge. Crack the egg, lightly beat it with a fork, then use a pastry brush to glaze the outside rim of the pastry, in other words the space between the edge and the rectangle shape at the centre of the tart. This will give the galette a nice shine when baked. Now cut a square of baking paper to fit the central rectangle and place it on top of the centre of the pastry, weighted down with baking beans (or plain rice, if you don't have baking beans) - this should let the outer edge rise higher than the middle, so that you have a gentle hollow at the centre of the galette to fill with mascarpone cream and fruit. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown at the edges and cooked in the middle.
  3. Spoon the mascarpone into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy in texture. When the pastry base is cooked, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool to from temperature on a wire rack. Spoon the mascarpone cream into the middle, spread it out leaving the edge of the tart uncovered, then top with the strawberries. Make sure to drain most of the excess juice from the strawberries before adding them, or the galette will soon become soggy.
  4. Sprinkle with a little more ground pepper and serve immediately.
From My Dining Table by Skye McAlpine
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    • Skye says

      Definitely try it, Stephanie – it really adds something. You could actually just macerate the strawberries a little and serve them as is with a dollop of crème fraiche or mascarpone on the side. That would be pretty heavenly too – especially if you’re pushed for time.

  1. says

    Never mind Goethe, I think pretty much anyone would approve of this, Skye! I love that you added that pinch of black pepper. I would never have thought to do that.
    I also love your thoughts about taking a first step when something feels overwhelming. I will remember that over this next week when I’m writing my long list of tasks for each day. Thank you! :-)

    • Skye says

      A friend sent me the quote from Goethe to help me get through the mind numbing pain of editing my thesis. It’s really inspired me – my new life philosophy!
      Good luck with the to-do lists – I can imagine that moving from one country to another is a bit of a logistical nightmare. But English strawberries waiting for you at the end of your odyssey! Xx

  2. Wilma dean-Prasad says

    I so love how you combine literary prose with creative cooking, demonstrating the connection to both!
    Absolutely beautiful blog – I don’t know which I appreciate more, your recipes, photography or. How you pull it all together with words.
    Lovely recipe.
    Best Regards

  3. Maureen Irvine says

    Ooh! I can’t wait until lovely County Armagh strawberries come into season to try this. Hmm it would work with other Summer berries too.

    • Skye says

      It would definitely work with other berries too – and something like black cherries would be delicious as well.
      That said, County Armagh strawberries? Pretty hard to improve on that…

  4. says

    I agree, the hardest step is always the first, in so many areas of life, beautiful galette, strawberries are so good this time of year.

    • Skye says

      Yes – don’t know why it is – but the first step can be so hard to make.
      And double yes – the strawberries are heaven at this time of year – I can’t get enough of them.

  5. says

    I love the combination of stone fruit (of any kind!) and balsamic. This sounds like a wonderfully seasonal pudding – I can just imagine sitting down to a large slice on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    • Skye says

      Thanks, Kathryn. Balsamic and fruit sounds so terribly wrong, but tastes so terribly good.
      Looking forward to lots of sunny Sunday afternoons and lots of strawberries over the next few moths… Xx

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