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Fresh Fruit Tart

July 3, 2010

Summer is in full swing and the abundance of summer fruits in our local market is tickling my medulla with a lot of baking projects like you wouldn’t believe. Here’s a Fresh Fruit Tart that I made for that big bridal shower project I worked on not too long ago (I promise I just have two more posts to follow from my friend’s bridal shower… with summer in full gear I am finding myself on the “add-new-post” habit about once a week).

Summer Dessert

This tart uses a pâte sucrée dough which means “sweet dough” in French. This dough is very forgiving in comparison to pâte brisee or any other flaky pie dough. If your dough tears, you  can easily patch it up with dough scraps and, voilà, problem solved.

The main components of a Fresh Fruit Tart are pâte sucrée, crème pâtissière or pastry cream, and fresh fruits. I like to sometimes brush the tart dough with melted white chocolate after it’s done blind baking. Blind baking is when you cook a pricked and unbaked tart shell in the oven topped with parchment-lined pie weights or uncooked pinto beans.

Tart

Now pastry cream, to me, is one of the most sensually delicious yet easiest custards to make in the pastry world. It’s a stove top custard (or stirred custard) made with milk,  eggs, and cornstarch. Cornstarch is the thickening agent in this particular custard and it activates when fully cooked or boiled. So when you are making pastry cream on your stove top, you know it’s ready when it starts to thicken and boil. No guesswork whether the custard is properly cooked and thickened. Your visual cue: custard starting to bubble.

I used a variety of berries in this tart that I glazed with warmed apricot preserves. Feel free to substitute with other fruits you like. Other fruits that I have used in the past include: kiwi, mangoes, seedless grapes, and nectarines.

Fresh Fruit Tart

This makes one round, fluted 10-inch tart.

Pâte Sucrée

For the pâte sucrée recipe, click here to direct you to an earlier entry (Bake For Hope post with my Grapefruit-Lemon Tarts with Blackberries). I used the same tart dough recipe for this fruit tart. Follow the directions to making and blind-baking the tart. I used a 10-inch round, fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Set aside the baked tart dough to completely cool. Do not remove from pan.

Crème Pâtissière

This recipe is also from my pastry school era.

Ingredients:

16 ounces milk

1 vanilla bean

4 ounces vanilla sugar

5 egg yolks

1 ounce cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

2-3 ounces of white chocolate, melted

2-3 tablespoons apricot preserves

Directions:

1. Start by pouring milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds off the bean. Add the seeds and the bean to the milk. Heat the milk mixture to scald over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl.

3. As soon as the milk starts to simmer, turn off heat. Temper eggs by gradually whisking in the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture.

4. Place the tempered mixture back into the saucepan to heat and boil (over medium heat). Whisk constantly.

5. Turn off heat as soon as the custard starts to boil and is thick enough to cover the back of the spoon.

6. Strain mixture over a bowl to discard the vanilla bean pod and other solids. Add in the butter and stir. Place a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent skin from forming. Immediately chill in the refrigerator or place bowl over an ice bath (this will make sure that the egg yolks do not continue to cook).

Assembly:

1. Remove the tart dough from the pan by gently pushing the removable bottom up. You can leave the tart on the pan’s bottom or very carefully slide the tart dough to a round cake board. Brush the empty tart dough with melted white chocolate.

2. Spread the chilled pastry cream into the tart dough. Use an offset spatula to spread the pastry cream all the way to the edges.

3. Decorate the tart with fresh fruits. Place the apricot preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water and heat in the microwave for about a minute. Brush the fruits with the warmed apricot glaze. Chill the tart in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 10:59 pm

    Oh, it’s 10:58 pm, and I really, really want a slice of this gorgeous tart! This is a classic, and you’ve done it so beautifully! I can never decide if the custard cream or the crust is my favorite part. What do you think?

    • July 7, 2010 7:50 am

      Liren, to me my fave part is the cream. But I have to agree with you that they are both equally good!

  2. July 8, 2010 9:41 pm

    That is almost too beautiful to eat! Love the berries and yes, creme patissiere is so gorgeous, I could eat it by the spoon! Beautiful pictures too 🙂

    • July 27, 2010 12:07 am

      Thanks so much Denise! I echo your sentiment… I too can eat pastry cream by the spoon! =)

  3. July 9, 2010 10:43 pm

    Wow, your tart looks awesome! I would love to have a slice right now….

  4. July 11, 2010 9:56 am

    This is absolutely gorgeous. Almost too pretty to eat – almost. 😉 I’m nervous about making pie crust, but hearing that pate sucree is more forgiving makes me feel a lot better about giving it a try.

    I still can’t get over how beautiful all of that fresh fruit is. Mmm… heavenly.

    • July 11, 2010 11:28 am

      Don’t you just love deserts with fresh fruit? It makes it really look ultra classy and special. And you feel less guilty eating sweets with fresh fruit too… hahahaha!

  5. July 13, 2010 2:08 pm

    Oh wow – those berries and the creme…..heaven!

  6. August 26, 2010 12:07 pm

    beautifully prepared crust! I’m in awe!

  7. August 26, 2010 12:08 pm

    beautifully prepared crust! I’m in awe!

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