You can’t say no to a Fruit Tart.
Last week we talked about the art of making pastry cream, and now we’re going to put that art to good use. To be honest, you can just fill up a wine glass with pastry cream, top it with sliced strawberries, and call it a (delicious) day. But when you’re feeling your inner pastry nerd, my favorite thing to do with pastry cream is to make a Fruit Tart.
There are three parts to a basic Fruit Tart: the shell, pastry cream, and fruit. Sometimes bakeries will add jam to the crust and nappage, a glaze usually made from apricot that gives a little sweetness and a lot of shine, to the fruit. Neither adds an insane amount of flavor, so I skipped them. Trust me, this tart is not lacking in the flavor department.
We know how to make pastry cream, so I’ll jump straight to the tart. I’m still tinkering with this recipe. I love, love, love how it tastes. It’s basically a sturdy sugar cookie. It does shrink ever so slightly when it’s baking, so I’ll continue to modify the recipe until I get it exactly how I want it. It’s still a great tart shell, I am just ever so slightly obsessive.
The only real tricks to making a tart shell are giving it plenty of resting time and blind baking. If you’re unfamiliar, blind baking is when you fully bake a crust without any filling inside. To prevent the crust from puffing up, you cover it with parchment and fill the shell with baking weights (what I used above) or uncooked rice, so the parchment lays flat on the unbaked shell. Since the shell is covered, it’s “blind.”
Feel free to use any kind of fruit that you’d like. I topped mine with figs and strawberries and really love how the fruits’ different shapes and colors look together, but you can use whatever you’d like. Kiwi and strawberry always look pretty together, or you can keep it simple with raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. It all tastes good!
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 whole egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pint of strawberries
- 1 pint of figs
- Really any fruit your heart desires
- Sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. It’s okay if the mixture looks broken. Keep on keeping on.
- Add dry ingredients in three parts and mix until combined.
- Form the dough into a round, thick disc. Think oversized hockey puck. Cover in plastic wrap and rest for at least one hour (up to overnight) in the fridge.
- On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8” thickness. Gently transfer and press dough into an 8-inch tart pan. Allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- While the dough rests, preheat oven to 400F.
- Cover the shell with parchment and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice.
- Bake at 400F for 5 minutes. Then lower heat to 350F and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
- Allow to cool completely before adding filling.
- In a medium pot over medium heat combine the milk and the first amount of sugar. Stir until the sugar melts, and allow milk to scald.
- While that heats, whisk together cornstarch and the remaining sugar. As the milk starts to steam, combine the cornstarch and sugar to the egg yolks. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
- When the milk is nearly boiling, temper it with the yolks.
- Return the mixture to the stove and cook over medium-low heat. Whisk continuously as the cream starts to thicken. Occasionally stop whisking to check if it’s boiling. The pastry cream is done when all the cornstarch has cooked out or when the pastry cream starts to boil, and the bubbles remain in the same place.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in butter and vanilla until homogenous.
- Pour pastry cream into a casserole dish or sheet pan. Immediately cover with plastic wrap, with the wrap touching the cream, and allow to cool on the counter or if it’s a particularly warm day, in the refrigerator.
- Fill cooled tart shell with cooled pastry cream.
- Decorate with sliced fruit as it pleases you heart.
- Store in refrigerator for up to three days.