French Fruit Tart
A classic fruit tart for summer built upon a pate sable tart crust, a velvety French creme patisserie/pastry cream, and fresh fruit of mixed berries, peach, and apricot. A gorgeous dessert any time of year!Jump to Recipe
An Eye for Tarts
I love tarts. If you look around A Quarrel of Feasts, I started writing and (badly) shooting tarts almost a year ago when I started. Everything from a Tart au Citron Lemon Tart to my first go at a tomato tart, but not my last…to various experiments with savory tarts using fruit like my Pear Prosciutto Tart and my Grape Burrata Tart, coming this week. I started with a 10 inch fluted tart pan, now have a deep dish 7 inch tart pan, along with six mini fluted tart pans. I equally enjoy making rustic free hand galettes / crostatas.
Turkish Photo Gear
This past weekend, we took our first trip to Long Island to visit my boyfriend’s dad and his wife after almost six months away, due to pandemic times and his dad’s age and health. He’s a tough cookie who flourished through a few health scares last year. He was also a very successful commercial photographer for more than 30 years. In fact, his dad shot so many product set ups for home catalogs, that my boyfriend, then in his 20’s, often “shopped” for his ever changing apartments with the props that his dad was given to use for the shoots: cookware, a shower curtain, towels…
While at the house for dinner, we took at look at his dad’s gear. He had a plethora of tripods,which I was about to bite a bullet that I cannot afford to right now and purchase. He offered me one, and I thanked him. He also has a number of artificial lights that I intend to graduate to, but, for now, I have a lot to learn before I depend on them to rescue me from my weather obsessed days of capturing natural light. He then showed us his Canon EOS 5D full frame camera. I have been ridiculously happy with my Nikon D3500 with my manual 50 mm lens. And I still will be, but, against our hands placed firmly in the air, my guy’s dad, the sweetest Turkish born fellow around, insisted we take it for the blog and the food projects. Oh, and it comes with a Canon EF 24-105mm lens and accompanying hood.
It’s a little daunting to have–we cradled it like a newborn baby up our stairs into the house where there are no babies, happily, only cats– and I will continue to use my beloved Nikon, BUT I have dreamed of the possibilities of a 100 mm lens and full frame camera, especially for those up-close macro shots of cherries and such fruits with every bead of condensation visible and crisp.
We keep thanking him for loaning it to us, and he keeps yelling back that it is ours now. My not quite official father in law is the best, plainly put. I love listening to his gentle voice tell stories, all the while reminding me of my own Croatian dad, who I miss every day since he left the earthly world 13 years ago.
While I am learning this new camera’s many, many, many choices and functions, I will happily use my Nikon on a tripod, stop teetering on a step ladder with my shaky hands trying to focus, and enjoy the next level of things. The best part is, I am at my heart a writer, and the technology of writing and typing are the easiest around.
Summer Fruits and Cream
OK, back to tarts. We were headed out there and, in the midst of my baking experiments and recent mastery of French pasty cream aka creme patisserie, I felt like utilizing my strengths and keeping it simple, yet fresh and delicious for summer. So, a French Fruit Tart it was to be.
I started with my deep dish 7 inch pan, and made my usual Pate Sucree, chilled and rolled out only to realize that I had plenty left to use with the newest members of my tart family, my mini tartlet tins. I had enough extra dough for 3 minis to go along with my mother tart.
Each tart, large and small, got a nice layer of creamy, buttery creme patisserie, which I had the patience and forethought to let chill overnight, along with the blind baked tarts.
For the main tart we brought out to the family, we topped the pate sucree and pastry cream with an array of mixed berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries. Some peach slices rounded out the tart topper.
For the three little tarts, I made each one a unique palette, consisting of one apricot blueberry tart, a blackberry and raspberry tart, and a simply strawberry tart, all brushed with jam for a shine.
The photos were everything I wanted them to be: brilliant, summery, rich primary colors against brown and grey wood backdrops, for I am a dark and moody girl, so my photographs are similar.
The bottom line is, this French Fruit Tart is the perfect classic summery finish to a meal had outside–even when it is too hot–and the elements are simple:
- Pate Sucree: I always make my tart crusts in the food processor. It just happens so much more evenly and faster. Before a few minutes are gone, you’ve got the dough in plastic wrap chilling in the freezer or the refrigerator.
- Creme Patisserie: French pastry cream seems daunting, but the good news is, it really comes together rather quickly if you have all your parts ready: the milk/cream coming just to a boil and your egg sugar mix combined. Once you make it past the tempering of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture without making scrambled eggs, pat yourself on the back and return the whole thing to the pan to keep whisking until it thickens. All that is left is the best part, which is playfully tossing in diced butter until the velvet appears in the creme pat. MAKE SURE TO CHILL COMPLETELY.
- Blind Baking: This recipe is so simple, since, once your tart shells are blind baked using beans and two layers of foil, and then cooled down, they can be chilled again, along with your creme pat.
- Assembly: This can be a bit fiddly if you are obsessing about creating the perfect mosaic of fruits. I tried to obsess, but I have seen far more intricate rosettes and assembled fruits than I created here. I am happy with mine though, and assembly is easy with chilled cream and chilled baked tarts. You can slice and arrange the fruit however you like, and, if making extra little tarts like me, you can make different variations too. Just take your time, pack the fruit tightly, and brush the top of the fruit and tart shell with jam. Apricot is best, but I only had raspberry, which worked great as long as you don’t mind the slightly pink hue to things. I didn’t. Chill again and you will be so happy with the result.
French Fruit Tart
- Tart pan, either 9-10 inch or 7-8 inch with a little extra remaining.
- Food processor, if possible, for the dough.
Pate Sucree Tart Crust
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup cold butter, diced
- pinch salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-3 tbsp cold water
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, diced at room temperature
Fruit for Assembly
- Approx 2 cups Mixed berries and peaches or whatever combo of fruit preferred
- Apricot or other jam for brushing fruit
For the Pate Sucree
- In a food processor or in a large mixing bowl, add the cold cubed butter, flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until the texture is coarse crumb aka grains of sand aka "sable."
- Add in the egg yolk and at least 1 tbsp of cold water to pulse. Add in more of the cold water if needed and pulse until the dough just comes together.
- Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter/grease the tart shell tin and when ready, roll out the tart dough to larger than the shell and fold over the top half over the rolling pin.
- Pick up the dough and place gently in the tart tin. Unfold and remove the rolling pin.
- Very gingerly press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Use your fingers to place dough in all the grooves and pinch the tops of the grooves, leaving a little dough over the top in case the tart shell shrinks.
- Cover the tart tins with two layers of foil, making sure to also cover the outer edges. Add in pie weights or baking beans and blind bake the crust for 30 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes uncovered. If using mini tartlets, blind bake for 15-20 minutes, followed by 5 minutes uncovered, until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in tart pans, then moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slip off the sides of the tart pan/s, followed by the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely in refrigerator.
For the Pastry Cream
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups of milk and vanilla nearly to a boil.
- In a bowl, cream egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add in the cornstarch and whisk.
- Start to slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture a little at a time, while constantly and vigorously whisking.
- Once all the milk is in, return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat and continue to whisk until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, and keep whisking while adding in the butter, one cube at a time, until the butter is melted and the cream is even and velvety. Pour into a metal bowl, add plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate completely for several hours, even overnight if possible.
- Add the pastry cream to the tart shells until filled and flat on the top. Smooth to make sure cream is level, but do not overfill. Leave some room for the fruit.
- Arrange fruit pieces and slices in whatever design you wish. If a smaller tart, feel free to concentrate on one or two berries or fruits to allow for an elegant design. I brushed all of my tart fruits with jam, apricot or otherwise, a little powdered sugar, and a sprig of mint. Keep covered in plastic wrap to preserve flavor in the refrigerator for up to a week. Leave out for a few minutes before serving.