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Fresh fruit tarts on counter from Edible Times

Fresh Fruit Tart

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-45 minutes
  • Total Time: 53 minute
  • Yield: A 10" or 11" tart, or 6 mini tarts 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

The tart dough here is a basic sugar cookie recipe known as 1-2-3 cookie dough. It refers to the ratio by weight of sugar:fat:flour (in that order). Leftover dough can be baked into cookies of any size, shape or form. Simply bake at 350°F until the bottoms of the cookies just begin to brown.

This pastry cream is essentially a thick vanilla pudding lightened with whipped cream to make it silky and luscious. And I dare say we all know what to do with excess vanilla pudding.


Ingredients

Scale

Tart Shell(s)

  • 8 ounces butter, unsalted, softened (2 sticks)
  • ½ cup/4 ounces granulated sugar 
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 ¼ cups/12 oz cake, pastry or all-purpose flour 

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups milk, whole or 2% recommended
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

For Diplomat Cream

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated or confectioner's sugar
  • Fresh berries or sliced fruit

Instructions

Bake Tart Shell(s)

  1. With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth and lightened in color.
  2. Add egg and then vanilla, scraping down the bowl and paddle as you beat.
  3. At low speed, slowly add flour until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass.
  4. Form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least two hours. This can be done a few days ahead and chilled, or frozen.
  5. On a lightly floured surface or between pieces of parchment paper, roll dough to a quarter-inch thickness, and at least an inch larger than your tart pan.  For mini tarts, use a knife to cut out circles a little larger than your pans. 
  6. Gently press the rolled dough into the bottom of the shell(s) and up the sides. Roll the pin along the top of tart shells to remove excess overhang. Dock with a fork, if you choose.
  7. Freeze the shells for twenty minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line shells with foil or parchment and fill with pie weights, dried beans, spare change, or rice.
  9. Bake mini shells for 10-20 minutes, remove the weights, and bake until edges begin to brown and the bottom appears cooked through. A large tart will need more time, around 20 minutes with the weights, then 20 more minutes after taking the weights off.
  10. Cool completely before removing it from the pan(s).

Prepare Pastry Cream

  1. Combine half of the sugar, salt, and half of the milk in a saucepot. Bring just to a boil over high heat.
  2. While the mixture is coming to a boil, combine the cornstarch and remaining sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk in the remaining milk to make a slurry (thick starch-liquid mixture). Then gently stir eggs into the slurry.
  3. Once the milk reaches a boil, slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. This tempers the heat into eggs so they don’t curdle or scramble.
  4. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot, and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Whisk constantly until pastry cream comes to a slow boil, with just a few large bubbles breaking the surface.
  6. Pour into a bowl, whisk in the butter until melted, and press plastic wrap over the surface.
  7. If your cooked cream has lumps, you can strain it through a fine-mesh sieve. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to vent the cream, and cool in the refrigerator.
  8. Fill the baked tart shells with the chilled vanilla pastry cream, or follow the directions below to make diplomat cream (pastry cream lightened with whipped cream).

Diplomat Cream

  1. Whip heavy cream with sugar to soft peaks, and fold gently into pastry cream until combined. 
  2. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag (no tip) or large plastic baggie, and snip one corner to make a half-inch hole. 
  3. Pipe cream into tart shells so it almost comes all the way up the sides. 
  4. Layer fresh fruit on top. Store chilled, serve room temperature. 

Notes

Need dairy-free? Reach for your favorite vegan or dairy-free butter.

Wheat-Free. I tend to experiment with different combinations of gluten-free flours like almond, oat, or tapioca. But for a super-easy switch to gluten-free, a 1:1 gluten-free blend works great here. The measure-for-measure flour blends are so reliable at this point, it also seems a waste of time to make your own.

My favorite cup-for-cup gluten-free flours are Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour and Better Batter. For less starch and a little more nutrients, Bob's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend is legume-based and also makes for a nice crust.

Grain-Free. For a quick and easy paleo-style cookie dough or tart crust, replace the flour with one like Bob's Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour. If you like doctoring up a homemade blend, I find 60% almond flour with 40% tapioca or arrowroot flour gives a nice cookie crumb. It's the formula I use for my paleo chocolate chip cookies. A scale comes in very handy for making a homemade blend, but you can also be done measuring by volume with cups. For this recipe, you would use 8 ounces/1⅓ cup of almond flour, and 4 ounces/1 scant cup of tapioca or arrowroot.

Vegan? Ditch the egg and use your favorite butter alternative. I rarely use an egg when mixing cookie dough destined for tarts. I love Miyoko's or Earth's Balance Soy Free sticks both for their lack of mystery ingredients, monounsaturated fat content, and great flavors.

Keywords: tart recipe, fruit tart, pastry crust, sugar cookie dough, pastry cream, diplomat cream, desserts, baking with kids