There aren't that many red, white and blue foods. And you KNOW you want to extend your patriotism to your desserts next week. That and sizzling, dog-terrifying fireworks is what makes the 4th so special.
I grew up in a town that does the 4th really well, like almost annoyingly well. There's a Pleasantville-like local parade, carnival; the whole nine yards really. I can smell the used-up sparklers and bug spray now. One of my most favorite parts is that every house on the parade route has a front-yard party and in this town everyone knows each other well enough to wander from party to party, enjoying treats along the way. There are literally hot dogs and popsicles for BLOCKS.
I love these mega parties, but I'm over two things 1) matching Old Navy flag t-shirts for the whole family and 2) that annoying flag cake. You know the one I'm talking about and we've all made it at least once.
So this year try something different with a mixed berry tart. You can make it ahead and the berries are patriotic perfection when they're all piled up on a white mascarpone cream.
I'm not a pastry master (or even apprentice, for that matter), so I prepared Deb Perelman's fantastic tart shell. That is a woman who knows her pastries! I know my limits.
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup cream, cold
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
1 cup raspberries, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Prepare tart shell according to instructions and allow to cool completely. This can be done one day ahead and stored in an airtight container, once completely cooled.
Combine mascarpone cheese, cream and sugar in a mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly in tart shell. Top with blueberries and raspberries, piling them up in a casual arrangement.
Combine apricot preserves and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over low heat. Simmer until mixture reduces by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush on berries for extra shine. Enjoy!