Fresh Fruit Tart, Revisited

This is the same basic recipe from Fresh Fruit Tart. I made a few slight changes and I used farm fresh strawberries.

We went camping and the campground is just down the road from a farm market. This farm makes the best jams and jellies, and also makes fruit wines. Those are surprisingly interesting and rather good. No grapes allowed. Last year was cherry, this year is blueberries and apple. And it is not at all the Boone’s Farm Apple Wine from high school!

20170618_232216046_iOSI am thrilled! I made the perfect pre-baked tart shell. I thought the previous crust was a bit greasy with 10 Tablespoons of melted butter. So this time I used 8 Tablespoons and melted it in a small skillet. Even though it did not brown it was more cooked than simply melting it in the microwave. I made sure I pressed the sides to the top rim of the Pyrex pie pan and again baked it on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet, 30 minutes at 350 F.

The most labor intensive part of this dessert is cutting the fruit. I cut about 1/2 quart of strawberries in halves. These strawberries are sweet and very red. None of those white cores to cut out like supermarket strawberries.

For the custard I used a combination of lemon and lime zest and the juices from one each. The original recipe calls for 7 teaspoons but I did not bother to measure. I also used 1 cup mascarpone cheese instead of the 3/4 cup in the recipe. This carton of cheese was firmer than the first one I used.

Letting the crust cool completely takes patience. I wanted to go ahead and make the cream filling but patience is a good thing. The no-cook custard-y filling must be poured into a completely cool crust.

I did not artfully arrange the berries. I put them in concentric circles just the way the Cook’s Illustrated article said made it difficult to cut the tart without cutting the berries too. Oh well! As I was putting the berries on the tart I remembered one is supposed to glaze the tart with apricot jam mixed with a teaspoon of the lime juice. I still don’t have apricot jam. But I do have this fabulous Black and Blue from the farm market made with blueberries and blackberries with crushed fruit in it. Yum! I put about 1/4 cup into a Pyrex ramekin with a bit of the citrus juice and nuke it for 30 seconds. I brush this on quite heavily and the top now looked darker than the bright red berries. I also brushed a bit around the crust. This goes into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

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Hubby declares this the best tart ever (or yet); I don’t remember exactly.

  • crust is crisp and slightly sweet
  • the custard-y filling is not too sweet; it is creamy yet set
  • the farm fresh berries were fabulous
  • the heavy glazing with the other berry jam added flavors to the fruit topping

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Fresh Fruit Tart

Okay, folks, I really, really, intended to follow the recipe to the “t” but just didn’t. What can I say?

Cook’s Illustrated July/August edition has a test-kitchened version of the fruit tart, you know, the kind you see in the bakeries each summer when the berries come into season. The kind on a layer of pastry cream or pudding. This new and improved version is supposed to stay together when cut in filling and crust. Hubby thinks this type of fruit tart is a great thing so I intend to make this. It has a pat-in-the-pan crust and a no-cook filling. Sounds easy to me.

I traipse off to the store to buy mascarpone cheese and white baking chips. Yes that’s what is in this, along with lime juice and zest. I’m cheap and just was at my local chain grocery so bought blueberries and strawberries which were less expensive (by a lot!) than raspberries and blackberries. No fresh peaches so I didn’t use those either. I forgot that kiwi makes a nice edition too, so just blueberries and strawberries for us.

The recipe is simple enough. It calls for using freshly sliced peaches to make an edible slicing guide. Good idea. It added lime to the filling to give it oomph. And the white baking chips hold the cheese filling together without cooking.

  • 1 1/3 cups flour (I read this wrong and used 1 1/2 cups.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter (can be browned in a skillet, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully as it can burn.)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons water (apparently browning the butter cooks off a lot of liquid which is needed for the flour to hold the crust together.)

So I make the crust, almost exactly. I did not brown the butter to give it a nutty taste. I melted the butter, added the water, the flour mixture, and patted it into a 9 inch Pyrex pie pan. The tart pan I have does not have a removable bottom and is about 12 inches in diameter. I thought that would be too big. Now, thinking about it, it might have worked anyway. And I may not have needed to add the whole 2 Tablespoons of water.

The crust gets baked in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes, turning half way through. It is also baked on a wire rack placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool completely. Note to self: this may be the way to bake pies in the future.

I cored then cut supermarket strawberries in half and washed 1/2 pint of blueberries. The glaze is supposed to be made from apricot preserves but when I opened the jar, I found that the little bit left was not fit for human consumption. Into the compost bucket with it! All I have now is dark jellies. I consult with Hubby and we agree that I can use the dark jelly for a glaze since I am using berries anyway. We have a wonderful berry preserve from a local farm and it is made from blackberries and blueberries. Cook’s calls for 1/3 cup. I use about 1/4th.

Meanwhile for the filling.

  • 1/3 cup white baking chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I bought and used whipping cream because I would have more uses for the remainder in the pint carton.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 7 teaspoons juice (This supposedly needs two limes. Well, the zest from one lime was a tablespoon and the juice was a few teaspoons at best. I figured the extra zest would make up for the juice and only used one lime. After all, one needs them for Lime Rickeys and G&Ts!)
  • 6 ounces mascarpone cheese at room temperature. (I used 8 ounces because that was the size of the small tub that I found at the grocery store.)

I really did have every intention of following the recipe exactly. But as you can see from my notations above I did not.

Melt the baking chips with the zest, a pinch of salt, and the cream. Do this in the microwave for ease. It took less than a minute to melt it to a smooth consistency. Now add 1/3 of the mascarpone and whisk. Then add the 6 teaspoons of lime juice and the rest of the cheese. Whisk til smooth and pour into the completely cooled crust. Arrange fruit as desired.

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Melt the preserves with a little lime juice (this teaspoon came from a jar) and carefully glaze the fruit avoiding the crust. Well, this is easier said than done. As mentioned above I had a dark glaze and there were gaps between the fruit. This is to be put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

 

So did this new improved tart meet its goals? Yes it did. Life is too short not to eat dessert when it looks like this. I admit it is not as pretty as the ones in the bakery or the picture in Cook’s Illustrated. But it is in my kitchen ready to eat. And the crust and filling did not break apart or ooze out when cut. Yay! I see no need to let it sit out for 15 minutes before cutting, either. Also farm fresh strawberries will be tastier than supermarket berries. I will have to look out for some next time I pass a farm market or stand.

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