Store-bought puff pastry is the base of this beautiful, but simple dessert that serves as a seasonal play on a fruit tart for a crowd. What really makes it special, and differentiates it a little bit from the tried-and-true American flag cake that is omnipresent at every July 4th cookout and barbeque, is a hand-whipped mascarpone frosting.
In total, it only takes five ingredients and about 30 minutes —after allowing your puff pastry to thaw overnight in the refrigerator — to put together, giving you plenty of time to focus on what's on the grill (may we suggest, as Alton Brown does, grilled bone marrow?).
Red, White and Blue Fruit Pastry for a Crowd
The night before you plan on making this dessert, place one sheet of frozen, store-bought puff pastry in the refrigerator to thaw. When purchasing your puff pastry, try to purchase an all-butter variety that puffs up a little bit nicer than the products that use lard or shortening.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll the puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet, folding the edges over on themselves like you would the edge of a pie crust. If you're feeling creative, use cookie cutters to make miniature shapes (stars seem appropriate). Just make sure that you pinch the edges to create a border.
2. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes depending on how you cut your pastry. Allow it to cool.
3. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone frosting. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of whipping cream and 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese. Beat by hand or with a standing mixer until smooth and creamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of white sugar, continuing to beat the frosting until soft peaks form, about five minutes.
4. Spread the mascarpone frosting over the cooled puff pastry, garnishing with tidy rows of mixed berries.