Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Studio 5: Classic Fresh Fruit Tart

Video was divided into two parts, as we had a commercial in between.

I was able to share a wonderful summer dessert on Studio 5 this week.  I love chocolate as much as the rest of the world, but when it comes to desserts, I'm a light-is-best, fruity kind of gal.

Just the sight of a fresh fruit tart makes me happy, even better is when I get to eat it!  One little tart is kind of pricey though, so it's been on my list to learn how to make it at home.

Finally got around to it and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.  And yet, when I look at the finished product, I feel like a pastry chef!

So, pick a date this summer; a family gathering, birthday, dinner party, or just a romantic dinner at home and make it!  Would love to hear how it turns out!

A jaw-dropping dessert to impress the eye and the taste buds ... and perfect for mid-summer ripe berries and fruit. 

Spotted in almost all European style bakeries, fresh fruit tart is classically French, and now American!  Dividing this dessert into 4 components takes away the intimidation factor.  In addition you can make each part ahead of time and then assemble the day you'll be serving it.

This is a great dessert to get creative with, depending on the tart pan you use and how you arrange your fruit.  Jumble all the fruit together or use concentric circles or rows.  Use all one color or fruit, or mix it up.

Fresh Fruit Tart

1.      Sweet Tart Shell

2.      Pastry Cream

3.      Fresh Fruit

4.      Glaze

Sweet Tart Shell

Using a food processor makes this super speedy.  If you don't have one, use a pastry blender or two knives to criss-cross through the mixture.  Do not use your hands or a spoon. 

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick plus 1 Tbsp very cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1 large egg white, beaten

Place Flour, sugar and salt in food processor (or bowl).  Pulse a bit to mix.  Distribute the cubed butter evenly over the top of the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter looks like course sand.  Add 1/2 of the egg to mixture and pulse just long enough for dough to stick together and pull away from the walls of the bowl.

If after you've added the egg, the dough is still crumbly, add the rest of the egg.  
Sometimes, depending on the size of your eggs you may have to add more, so add the beaten egg white, a Tbsp at a time, until the dough sticks together.

Handling dough as little as possible, remove from processor (or bowl) and place countertop on piece of plastic wrap.  Form into a 6" or so disc.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.   You can store dough in refrigerator for a few days as well. 

Roll chilled dough on a plastic wrap (I layer 2 pieces of plastic wrap on counter to so I have more room to roll and keep dough off the counter, then place more wrap on top of dough.  The dough is very soft and will stick easily.  Plastic wrap makes the job much easier.)  Roll out to a little larger than the size of your tart pan.  Remove the top plastic wrap and carefully place over tart pan.  carefully nudge edges of dough towards inside of pan so it doesn't stretch into corners.  press down lightly into corners.  Use a knife or rolling pin to trim off dough from the top of tart pan.

Option:  This is the trickiest part of this dessert; getting the dough into the tart pan.  If it's just not working for you, simply press dough into pan.  It may not look as perfect as if rolled, but it will do.

My mistake and hopefully not yours.  The 2nd time I made this, I had this perfectly prepared pan, lifted it and placed my hand underneath and in the center... since the center is removable, it popped right out!  Had to start over again!

Prick bottom of crust with fork (this will help steam to escape while cooking so the crust doesn't bubble up).

Important*  Place pan on baking sheet.  Freeze prepared tart shell for 20-30 minutes before you bake.  This also helps the dough from rising too much.

Cover frozen shell lightly with tin foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes for a 9" tart pan.  20 minutes for a 4" tart pan and less for smaller tart shells.

You can freeze your tart shells for a couple of weeks.  Wrap lightly with tin foil to freeze.

Pastry Cream

This is a great recipe (I've tried many).  It comes together quickly and is nice an thick, which you need for a nice cut on this tart.  BTW: This make a lovely hot 'pudding', I may know that because I licked the spoon after I was done!

2 cups half & half

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

5 egg yolks

3 Tbsp cornstarch

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the half & half and half of the sugar and the salt.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and rest of sugar together until light and fluffy (about 20 seconds).  Add the cornstarch and whisk some more until thoroughly combined.

Gradually whisk some of the half & half into the egg mixture.  When you have added about a third of the half & half to eggs, pour everything back into the pot and continue to whisk and bring to another simmer.  This goes quickly, so don't leave the stove!  Keep whisking until mixture thickens and looks glossy.  If you notice scorch marks from bottom of pan, lower the heat a bit. 

Turn heat off and add butter and vanilla.  Whisk until well combined.  Place in container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over top of cream (this will avoid a skin to form).  Let cool on counter top for 30 minutes then place in refrigerator until ready to use.  You can store this for a few days.

Once ready to assemble tart, let pastry cream warm on the counter for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Fill tart shell, just a bit below the top.

Option:  Once tart is assembled you need to eat it within a few hours, otherwise the crust can get soggy.  To lengthen the time it can sit you can either brush a thin coat of melted chocolate on tart shell.  You can also brush on some of the glaze (same as what you will put on top of fruit.)

Fresh fruit

Use any fruit that makes you happy, but here are a few suggestions that work well...






Mandarin oranges (canned)



You can use just one fruit, or multiple...form them in concentric circles, lines or free form.  This is definitely the fun part!


Bring a jar of Apricot jam to a boil in a small pot, add a Tbsp of water to thin a bit.  Place in fine sieve so your end product is a lump-free apricot glaze.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  When ready, heat back up, just until it loosens up.  Let cool to room temperature. (you don't want warm glaze on your fruit).  If it's too thick, add a bit of warm water to thin it out.

Gently brush on fruit.  This helps to keep fruit fresh and makes it pretty!


PATRICK Jan said...

Beautiful fruits tarts Sue, I would love to taste one !
A French Chef in Utah.

Susan Neal said...

Bonjour Patrick! Are you a Chef from France...or a French chef? Either way, c'est magnifique!

PATRICK Jan said...

Both, I live in Utah.

PATRICK Jan said...

Both, I live in Utah.

Susan Neal said...

Cool. Then your compliment means even more to me, thanks! We love France; the land,the language, the people and of course, the food!

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