Fresh Fruit Tart is one of our favourite desserts. I like the buttery taste of its crunchy crust, love the strong flavour of vanilla cream and in terms of fruit, the options are endless, the most successful in my opinion are the tarts with berries or strawberries.
It’s a classic tart dough (pate brisee tart crust), crumbly and crunchy, which is not difficult to prepare if we respect certain rules. The most important rule is the cold ingredients rule, especially the fresh butter cut into cubes right out of the fridge. The butter quality is also very important in this recipe, you have to use butter with a larger percentage of fat (82% is perfect) if you want a soft dough. You should not mix the ingredients by hand, as hand heat heats the ingredients, but using a food processor or a special pastry scraper your dough will be just fine.
Regarding cream, I prefer a pastry cream, based on eggs and starch, flavoured with a vanilla pod whose flavour conquers me every time. It can be flavoured with chocolate, nut paste, various liqueurs or any other flavour.
Fruits are chosen depending on season and preference; this time I have used some very tasty strawberries, kiwifruits and red oranges and the tarts came out great, so they did not stay too much time on the table, although my recipe is generous: you will get either 2 large tart or 12 mini tarts, or like me, one large tart and 6 mini tarts:))
If I got your interest to try yourself here are the ingredients for Fresh Fruit Tarts:
- Prep Time : 60 minutes
- Cook Time : 50 minutes
- For the dough:
- Butter 82% fat - 1.1 ounce (250 g)
- Cake flour - 3 1/2 cups (500 g)
- Powdered sugar - 1 cup (125 g)
- Pinch of salt - 1
- Pinch of baking powder - 1
- Egg yolks - 4
- Zest of one lemon
- Cold water - 1-2 tablespoons
- For the filling:
- Whole eggs - 2
- Egg yolks - 2
- Starch - 1/3 cup (50 g)
- Sugar - 1 cup (125 g)
- Milk - 2 cups (500 ml)
- Unsalted butter with 82% fat - 1/4 cup (50 g)
- Vanilla pod - 1
- Strawberries for decoration - about 2 lb. (1 kg)
Cut cold butter into cubes and place for few minutes in the refrigerator until we weigh all the ingredients and peel the lemon and separate the yolks.
Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor, or directly on the desktop, add sugar, salt, baking powder (if you are reluctant to use baking powder you can omit it), lemon and cold butter and mix for about 1 minute if you use a food processor or knead with a pastry scraper, until the mixture is sandy and the pieces of butter are the size of dried lentils. There should be no large butter pieces. Then gradually add the egg yolks mixing after each one, finally add cold water and incorporate the liquid into the butter-and-flour mixture until the dough holds together. Do not add too much liquid or the dough will be sticky and tough. Do not overwork the dough!
Gather the dough together, form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic foil and place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, meanwhile you can prepare the filling. This dough has the advantage that it can be stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.
Remove the dough from the cold, remove the plastic wrap and spread sheet for tart (about 1/2 inch thick) on floured worktop. With a rolling pin roll the dough sheet and place in tart shell (no need for lubrication is a greasy dough). Cut excess edges, prick dough with a fork from place to place, and put on the dough surface baking paper and place "weights" - dried beans, chickpeas or special ceramic balls. They are designed to press the dough and not allow to distort at baking.
Bake the dough for about 25 minutes at 355 degrees F (180 degrees C) until lightly browned. When baked, let it cool in the tart shape, and fill it with cream only after completely cooled.
In a bowl mix the eggs, yolks and sugar until they are well mixed and have a whitish colour, then add the starch and mix well, to be completely homogenised.
Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan with thick walls and double bottom. Using a knife scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and put together with the pod in the milk. When the milk reaches boiling point remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and insert stirring with a whisk into the egg yolks-sugar mixture. Put the entire mixture back in the boiled milk saucepan and place over medium heat again until the cream thickens nicely.
Remove the cream from the heat and pour it into a large shallow pan, spreading it out with a spatula to hasten cooling.
Cover the surface of the pastry cream with a piece of plastic foil placed directly over the top to prevent crust formation.
When cold, pour the cream into a food processor bowl and mix until it becomes frothy, adding butter cut into cubes. Butter is meant to give cream a glossy and a pleasant consistency .
When the cream and baked dough are cold you may assemble the tart.
Spread the cream in the middle using a pastry bag with a decorating tip and decorate with sliced fresh strawberries. For a nice strawberry glaze I prefer instead of gelatine, to mix 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam with 2 tablespoons of water, bring the mixture to a boil and then brush gently the fruits, so there you have a beautiful Fresh Fruit Tart.