This is the classic fruit tart, which is my most requested dessert for birthdays or celebrations. I've customized this recipe plenty of different ways to suit the occasion/season, and it's always a favorite.
I've yet to meet one person who doesn't really like fruit tarts; it seems to have something about it that almost everyone likes. The crust is like eating a crumbly sugar cookie. The custard filling, when done correctly, is like vanilla pudding on steroids. And the most inviting element is the topping, for which I typically use the freshest fruit in season.
Even decorated quite casually by mixing some fresh fruit in a bowl and pouring it on top works great.
For this particular tart, I used fresh strawberries, raspberries and figs from the farmer's market.
You can do stages 1 and 2 ahead of time; the crust can be baked and stored in an airtight container for a couple days whereas the pastry cream can be made and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple days.
For best results, you want to do stage 3 (assembly and decoration) the day that the tart is to be served.
If needed, you can make the tart the night before by applying a slight coat of egg white or white chocolate when the tart shell comes out of the oven. This will prevent the crust from getting soggy. However, you must definitely glaze the fruit to keep it from browning or drying out.I have a fill post dedicated to my sweet crust pastry - it explains all the tips for getting a great pastry dough, and has a video tutorial on how I made my pumpkin tart, which uses sweet crust dough. You can find it here!If you're ready to start with the recipe, you'll find it 👇🏼
Happy Tarting Friends 🌈♥️
1 - FOR THE TART DOUGH:. Cut your butter into cubes. To a stand mixer, add the butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until completely combined. Scrape down the sides.
2. Add the flour mixture and turn the mixer on low. Watch and mix until the dough resembles very coarse breadcrumbs. You want to evenly incorporate the butter into the flour.
3. Use a fork to mix the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Add the bowl of the mixer, and turn to low. Mix just until the liquid is absorbed and the dough comes together. Don't overmix at this point - you will form gluten strands in the dough, which will yield a tough tart crust when baked.
4. Plop the dough onto some plastic wrap, and form it into a ball, and then flatten into a disc. Wrap it tightly and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
1 - FOR THE PASTRY CREAM. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use the sugar to scrub out all the seeds from the pod. Pour in your milk/half and half, whisk to combine. Turn the burner on medium-low. Slowly bringing the milk to a simmer allows the vanilla pod to infuse it with flavor. I try not to rush this step too much. (If you are using vanilla paste or extract, skip this part and just heat the milk. You will add the flavor in step 6.)
2. While the milk is heating, in large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together until completely combined.
3. When you see bubbles along the perimeter of the milk saucepan and steam slowly rising, turn off your burner. Slowly ladle a few tablespoons of steaming milk into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. This allows the eggs to gradually increase in temperature. (Doing this step too quickly will cook the eggs, and will yield scrambled eggs in your pastry cream.) Add a couple more ladles of milk into the eggs and continue to whisk.
4. Pour the rest of the milk into the egg mixture, whisk to combine.
5. Place a large fine mesh strainer over your now-empty saucepan. Pour the egg-milk mixture through the strainer and back into the saucepan. This catches any large coagulated egg pieces, as well as your vanilla pod. Remove strainer.
6. Turn the burner back onto medium-low and whisk until the mixture is thick and custardy, which may take a few minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter (and vanilla paste/extract, if using).
7. Immediately scrape into a container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and allow to cool before using.
1 - BAKE AND ASSEMBLY. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Roll out your tart dough, place in tart pan, trim the edges, and poke the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork. Allow to sit in the freezer while the oven preheats.
3. When the oven is ready, line your tart dough with parchment paper (foil will work too but can stick so be careful) and fill your crust with pie weights/uncooked rice/uncooked beans. Place the pan on a large baking sheet.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the weights. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown, poking any air bubbles with a sharp knife along the way. Allow to cool completely.
5. At this point I like to wash, cut my fruit, and think about the design I want to make on top.
6. Pour the pastry cream into the tart, using a spatula to smooth the surface.
7. Arrange your fruit, and use a pastry brush to glaze with loose apricot jelly (add a couple teaspoons of water to apricot jelly and microwave for 10 seconds).
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