Fresh fruit tart

Blueberries are in season and last weekend, we went blueberry picking.  For a change of scenery, we went to Driediger Farms, rather than back to Krause Berry Farms, where we went strawberry picking a few weeks back.

I’m not a big fan of blueberries, yet I really enjoyed picking them.  It isn’t so much that it costs less to pick our own than to buy them at the grocery store.

It’s more about spending an afternoon outside on a nice day and clearing your mind of everything except the task at hand: finding the most beautiful, plump and ripe berries.  For me, it is truly a fun, happy and zen experience.

I used these beautiful blueberries for a fresh fruit tart.

Unlike my first attempt at making Chinese bakery style cream cake with the strawberries we picked, my first attempt at making fruit tart turned out much better.

This fruit tart is so easy to make.  No special ingredients are needed, just the basic flour, eggs, milk and butter.

The crust is made of sweet pastry with a crisp cookie-like texture called pate sucree.  The filling is a pastry cream, or creme patissiere, which is a thick and creamy custard.  The crust and filling can be made a day or two in advance and stored until needed.

This is a wonderful light and fruity dessert for the summer (or anytime of the year).

Recipe (from joyofbaking.com):

Sweet Pastry Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt.
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of the electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened (1-2 minutes).
  3. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (couple minutes)
  4. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating (on low-med) just until incorporated.
  5. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix (on low-med) just unit it forms a ball.
  6. Flatten the pastry into a disk (the size of the diameter of your pan), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes).
  7. Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan (I used a 10 inch pan) with a removable bottom.
  8. Evenly pat the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  9. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
  10. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes).
  11. Place tart pan on a larger baking pan/sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes.
  12. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days.

Pastry Cream*

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk (whole or 2%) (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I used vanilla extract)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1/2 tbsp liqueur (Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch) (optional) (I didn’t use)
  1. In a medium-sized heat-proof bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together.  (Don’t let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.)
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch (corn flour) together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.   
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)
  4. Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.
  5. Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick.
  6. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). (Stir in vanilla extract is using instead of a vanilla bean.)
  7. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming.
  8. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.
  9. Beat or whisk before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed (I used my stand mixer on medium for a couple of minutes to remove the lumps).

Apricot Glaze (optional)**

  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) apricot jam or preserves
  • 1 tbsp water
  1. Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). (Can also heat in the microwave.)
  2. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.

Toppings

  • blackberries
  • strawberries
  • blueberries

To Assemble Tart

  1. To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter.
  2. Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
  3. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes).
  4. Spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell.
  5. Place fruit randomly on top of cream or in concentric overlapping circles, starting at the outside edge.
  6. After arranging the fruit, rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush a light coat on the fruit.
  7. If not serving immediately, refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving. This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

*Since I used a 10 inch pan instead of a 8-9 inch pan, you may find the filling on the thin side if you normally prefer more pastry cream.

**I found that I had a lot of leftover glaze.  You can probably get away with making half the amount.

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29 thoughts on “Fresh fruit tart

  1. Wow, looks heavenly! Thanks for these recipes…I’ve never made my own pastry cream, but that’s always my favorite part of fruit tarts! I’d probably end up just putting that in a bowl and topping it with fruit and whipped cream :)

  2. wow!! It looks like you took your time and got the best and biggest blueberries too!! The tarts look sooooo beautiful and yummy…I’m not a fan of blueberries but I’m drooling…wow….did you guys eat it all in one setting? this is definately a way to get someone to eat more fruits..

    the pictures are awesome too…and red, blue & white :)…kinda reminds me of the 4th..

    still drooling…

    • thanks, my friend! david took more time to find the big ones, while i picked whatever was ripe, big or small. we ate one slice, the one i used for the photos, and then took the rest to my parents place. way too much for us to eat ourselves! great thing about this is you don’t have to use blueberries if you don’t like them. :)

    • we picked so many blueberries that i’ve been eating them more and am actually starting to like them more. you can always omit the blueberries and use whatever fruit you like for this tart. :)

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