Fresh Fruit Tart–And fun with tarts!

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Tarts are one of the most beautiful and versatile desserts.  There are so many options when it comes to making a tart and the end result (a lovely classic that transports well) is worth the effort. 

In most cases tarts are comprised of three (and a half) components.  By altering the choices you make for each component you can create a wide variety of flavors and textures. In other words, the possibilities really are endless.  The components can be adapted for any season or occasion! 

THE COMPONENTS:

(1) Crust, sometimes called the shell

Tart crust recipes can really run the gamut.  From your grandmother’s recipe for pate brise/pate sucre (pie crust) to simply tossing together any type of finely crushed cookie with melted butter, to using ground toasted nuts, there are many options that work well.

Examples of different crust types:

Banana Pudding Tart— Nilla wafer cookie crust

Raspberry Chocolate Tart— biscotti cookie crust

Plum Macadamia Nut Tart— macadamia nut crust

Apple and Meringue Tartlets— traditional pate sucre (pie crust)

(2) Filling

You will often see pastry cream or a simple custard as a tart filling.  However, while those might be the most common, there is no reason not to be adventurous!  Chocolate pudding, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, lemon curd, and almond paste all work well and provide a nice canvas for the layering of interesting flavors.   For some tarts, the fruit (often stewed with sugar and other spices) serves as the filling.  Again, the options are endless. 

(3) Fruit

 The fruit is what makes a tart so beautiful.  In other words, the fruit is the icing on the cake!  (Hahaha…excuse the dorky baker’s joke!)  The fruit you choose and how you position it on the tart will determine the tone of the tart.  Piles of sliced cinnamon and sugar-soaked apples will say rustic.  Daintily arranged delicate fruit like raspberries and blueberries will say elegant.  A cafe near my office sells fruit tarts brimming with every berry you can imagine.  To me it says I am fresh and delicious. All say eat me

Decide what you want the tone of your tart to be prior to arranging the fruit and then just go for it.  I think this certainly falls under the category of “the more the merrier.”  Need inspiration? Let the season guide you by selecting fruits that are bountiful simultaneously (think pears and figs) or that are contrasting or complementary in color (aren’t peaches and raspberries so pretty together?!). 

(3.5) Glaze

Don’t forget to dress your fruit!  Simply heat some apricot or seedless raspberry preserves in a saucepan over medium heat and brush across your fruit.  Don’t glob it on; a simple sweep of the pastry brush will suffice.  It is well worth the extra few minutes.  It will give your tart that polished look that says “somebody loves me.”

 

 

While this is a very simplistic overview, note that tarts bear endless potential.  (I haven’t been saying that over and over for nothing!) And that is exactly my point for writing this!  Don’t be afraid to try fresh combinations of fillings and exotic  fruit  and nuts. Mix and match recipes for new and exciting flavors!  Have fun!

Fresh Fruit Tart:

(pictured above)

crust

  • 2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients and stir with a fork until mixture is moist, like wet sand. Pour into a well-buttered 9- or 10-inch tart pan and press into an even layer, going up the sides of the tart.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is just starting to brown at the edges. Cool completely.

filling

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extractIn a saucepan bring the butter, milk, and light cream to a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a bowl and whip using a whisk.

    When the cream/ milk/butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from burning.  As it begins to thicken, clumps may form.  Use a whisk to smooth it out. Boil for 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to press the pastry cream through a strainer into a bowl.  Whisk in vanilla extract. Cover the surface with plastic wrap touching the pudding.  (This prevents a film from forming.)  Chill overnight if possible, or for at least a few hours. 

  • assemble

    • fresh fruit (kiwi slices, raspberries, and halved strawberries work well)
    • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

    Spread filling into cooled crust.  Arrange fruit on top.  Melt preserves in a saucepan and lightly brush over fruit.

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    9 Responses

    1. Wow that looks absolutely delish! Is it wrong to lick the screen? 🙂

    2. Gorgeous tart! I love your suggestions for different variations. The opportunities sure seem endless.

    3. Kelly–Hahaha, you made me laugh out loud!
      Lauren–Thank you!

    4. I just bought mini tart pans and really want to make something like this… thanks for all the tips!

    5. i love fruit tarts, and your crust variations have certainly got me intrigued 🙂

    6. Absolutely gorgeous! Custard/fruit tarts are my favorite non-chocolate dessert 🙂

    7. […] For the crust I combined about two cups of ginger snap cookie crumbs with granulated sugar, melted butter and a pinch of salt.  I baked it and let it cool.  For the filling I used this pastry cream filling  recipe and poured it into the cooled crust.  I then arranged the fruit (about two small cans of mandarin oranges and the seeds of half a fresh pomegranate) on top and painted it with some melted apricot jam.  For more tart ideas check this out! […]

    8. […] always enjoy being tasked with a specific request! I contemplated an apple tart but ultimately decided on this apple cake because it gave me a reason to purchase a Bundt pan. I […]

    9. […] back in the day when I used to make tarts all of the […]

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