One of my go-to desserts I love to make is a fresh fruit tart! These are so versatile for lunch, dinner parties, birthdays and just about any gathering of people. People usually don't feel so guilty eating it since there is fresh fruit involved. Me included. Haha.
I had so much fun shooting these photos with my good friend, Ryan Feng, who is a super talented photographer as you can see. He came over and watched me bake. In turn, I fed him left over sweets. It's a pretty good bargain if you ask me. ;)
This fruit tart recipe is simple and just requires a few different components. Luckily you can make all these these in advance and then just assemble as soon as you're ready to eat.
The crust is a slightly sweet shortbread type of crust so super crumbly and pairs perfectly with the light vanilla bean pastry cream. Then you pile on whatever berries or fruit till your heart's content. I love strawberries and blueberries but have also gone full raspberry on this baby. Pick berries that are in season or if you're like me which ever are calling to you at your local farmer's market.
The powdered sugar is totally optional. If you're serving this immediately upon assembling, then feel free to dust away. If not, opt for the apricot jam coating to seal in the juices of the berries and especially if you laid cut strawberries.
Voila! You have a very impressive dessert all done to feed your friends and family. :)
Fresh Fruit Tart w/ Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
Makes 1 x 12 inch tart or 12 mini 1 inch tartlets
Shortbread Pastry Crust:
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream: (Recipe from Tartine Bakery)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, cut open down the middle, seeded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
- A few containers of strawberries, raspberries and blue berries
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
Make the Pastry Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease your tart pan with butter or with baking release spray.
2. In a food processor, combine the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Make sure to pat until the crust is even and thin as you can make it without the dough breaking.
3. Place pan into the freezer for 20 minutes to chill. Meanwhile, prepare a large piece of parchment paper by crumpling it up and then opening it back up again. Spray one side with baking oil. That will be the side that faces down on the crust.
4. Remove the pan/dough from the freezer and poke holes with a fork throughout the bottom of the crust and especially in the corners. The same way you would do so when you're blind baking a pie crust. Add parchment paper spray side down on the crust then add in your pie weights on top of the paper.
5. Bake chilled pastry in heated oven for 20 minutes until the edges of the crust are lightly browned. Take the pan out of the oven and remove weights. Return back to the oven uncovered and bake for another 15 minutes or so depending on how long it will take for the bottom and edges of the pastry to be browned.
6. If the pastry dough is puffing up too high since there aren't any weights anymore, quickly open the oven and give the crust in the puffy parts a little jab with a fork. This will help release some of the hair that's trapped in the dough.
7. Once the dough is finished, remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove the pastry crust from the pan and place on a wire rack to complete cooling.
(Alternatively, you may also make 12 mini tartlets with this recipe. Fill each cup with the right amount of pastry dough and crumple up small pieces of foil covered in baking spray to keep from the crust over filling in the oven. Baking time will vary since you're making smaller crusts vs one large one.)
Make the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Filling:
1. In a small saucepan, add milk, vanilla bean seeds and salt and carefully scaled over medium heat. Have a whisk handy to stir the mixture. Milk can easily burn on the the bottom of a hot pan. Watch it carefully or you'll have to start over.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs until smooth. Remember for a thicker cream, add 4 tablespoons of corn starch. For thinner cream only add 3 tablespoons.
3. When the milk is done heating, slowly add 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg and whisk constantly to temper them. Add the 1/2 milk mixture back to the pot and return to a saucepan. Cook the mixture on a medium heat until you get your desired consistently, make sure to always be whisking. You'll want to see a couple of slow boil bubble pop up and the cream should be nice and thick.
4. Remove from heat and pour into a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Let mixture cool for 2-3 minutes and then with a spatula, incorporate the butter, one tablespoon at a time until smooth . The key is to properly introduce the liquid butter fat into the rest of the cream slowly.
5. Transfer pastry cream into a medium bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap directly touching the cream. Let the rest cool completely in the refrigerator and set for at least 1-2 hours before using.
1. I do not recommend making this more than 24 hours before eating. These are best when they're fresh if you ask me. Place your pastry tart crust directly on a plate or something you were hoping to showcase. Take your cooled pastry cream, add to a piping bag and begin piping throughout the entire shell. Use an off set spatula to smooth out the tops.
2. Grab your cleaned berries and start to place them on your tart. This is your opportunity to apply your own design to this creation! I love the look of red & blue so always want both strawberries/raspberries along with blueberries.
3. In a small saucepan heat your apricot jam and stir occasionally until the jam is more fluid and able to be brushed. Then with a small pastry brush, brush off the tops of every piece of fruit.
5. Place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before eating. Only remove from fridge when you're ready to eat.
After all that work you can finally enjoy a beautiful tartlet! So what do you guys think about Ryan's photography? Pretty beautiful right?? <3